5 types of people you need to start a start-up

Oct 31, 2014

Creating a business is a process that might be initiated by one person, but building anything requires the input of many. Apart from the people that have been directly involved in starting TMS, there are certain categories of people who have helped in ways they don’t know, without which I could/would not have done this. Here are my insights into the five types of people you need to start a start-up!

1) True friend/friends who support you.

This one is pretty simple. I could not have done this without the support of my long-suffering friends. There have been many tears, self-doubt, meltdowns, angry days, sad days, and days of excitement and, through it all, the support of my friends has been invaluable. I cannot say how much I appreciate my friends who have called me for a minute when the baby was asleep or in a break between sets at a concert in Brixton, to friends who have tested things for me, Skyped me from abroad to counsel me, talked me off the wall when I couldn’t stand my job for another day to make me see it was not yet time and told me to quit when it was! They have provided advice, a sympathetic ear, but most of all support. They are your coaches, your fan-club and your light on dark days. I LOVE THEM. And if you don’t have friends like this when starting your business they got to go! Get rid of them because there is no space for negativity when going down this road.

2) Mentors that guide you.

It has been totally miraculous the way when I have needed support or help, have felt alone, didn’t know how to do something or get something, someone magically appeared to fill in the gaps, provide the answers and guidance and sometimes even the resources I’ve needed. I don’t quite know how this happens but I have seen it absolutely in my own life. In my case, the few people I met in the first few months (web developers, marketing people) had a raft of general experience and knowledge that proved invaluable. They didn’t just do their job; they provided advice, the benefit of their experience and basically informal mentoring. They may be around for a short or longer time but without them sometimes a hurdle or mental block seems insurmountable. I got so much invaluable pieces of advice on everything from strategy to minutiae like sizing, which basically were absolute gems.

3) People you would like to inspire.

This is a bit of a cheat because they may not even be born yet, or they may be in the ether; someone you haven’t met yet but you know they are out there. It could be your niece, it could be your younger siblings you wish to show an alternative way of living, it could be women in general, it could be big business – to show them big business doesn’t need to be bad business. It is related to the way in which you wish to make a difference to people lives and be a leader and role model. It is meta; bigger than you and for me. It's an overarching ambition, that for me, is bigger than the business. I do believe that for every business there is a group of people they wish to inspire and, in focusing on who that is, it helps add heart and soul to your vision.

4) People you want to prove wrong

……and gloat at when you drive by in your fantasy drop-top something or sail past in your 100 meter yacht with your hot body and your 3 carat engagement ring. Ok, so I have taken the fantasy a bit far but what I mean is those people that make the weird, snarky comments every time you see them, that passively aggressively make you feel shit about your choices through their own insecurity, that seem to love taking about you behind your back (but not in a way that you can actually say they said anything behind your back) that basically, though they would never admit this, are haters. The yacht fantasy (or whatever it is for you) is absolutely essential to drive you towards your dream in that crazy, passionate way that keeps you going when you were just about to give up. It could also be that this person is the person that is so negative or toxic that they are the ones that drive you to do the business because you cannot stand them for one more day and need to change your life to get away from them right now! Your boss, your flat-mate, your ex-wife/partner, all fall into this category.

5) People you need to prove right.

These are those people who always for some reason see/saw potential in you. It may be a high-school boyfriend that always thought there was something special about you or your old economics teacher or someone that thought you would amount to something and when you think about them in your dark days it reminds you of your potential and that maybe you are not as pathetic as you feel on your really shitty days. The thought of their unconditional belief and faith in you, even if that time was a long time ago, has a way of inspiring you to believe and have faith in yourself and to try your hardest not to let them down. For me it was imagining whether they would be proud if they heard how my life had turned out or whether if, when I met them, I would see a sad sense of regret at wasted opportunities. The guilt at this would drive me on when the thought of the category four people (see above) didn’t work.

So those are my thoughts on the kinds of people that have driven me to start TMS and that have pushed (or pulled) me onward to battle another day!

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