The First Step to Making it as a Startup

This article is written by Munira Hussein, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.

Steli Efti was one of the speakers at Startup Istanbul 2015 Conference. He spoke about the importance of learning how to hustle and why it will help you on your way to becoming successful entrepreneur.

Most times, when you are starting out, you have dreams of being in Forbes Magazine or hanging out with successful entrepreneurs that you admire. You even have dreams of changing the world completely and being Time Magazine person of the year within 18 months of arrival at Silicon Valley. Sometimes, it happens instantly or after several trial and failure. Sadly, other times, it never comes to pass.

Your first company dies and to avoid confronting the devastation, you stay around hoping it will regurgitate.   A few years later, you realize you have no chances of making it if you keep carrying around the carcass of your dead business. Then you try something else and unlike the first one, it might become an instant success or take time but eventually break the market.  

It doesn’t matter how many times you try, what is important is that you showed up and you worked at it. It matters that you never give up. The only entrepreneurial super power is the hustle. It is doing things that are outside your comfort zone to accomplish outsized results. 

There are three types of people in Silicon Valley, startups and generally in the entrepreneurial world that truly add value. You either design products, build products or you hustle. Business and startups are not difficult. It doesn’t sound like the truth but it is. There is nothing difficult about creating value. It is people that are difficult, it is you that is difficult but you can overcome it.  It is your emotions, your fear, your doubts, your hesitation, that is what slows you down, it is what makes you make poor choices. It is not hard, it is challenging. It is easy to do. What makes it hard to follow through is your emotions because it is uncomfortable.

The first step is to show up. It is the easiest exercise that translates into several forms.  Showing up could be attending an entrepreneurial conference, picking up a phone and calling an investor or a customer and sending that email. It is you making the first step to connect with another human being or a group of people in order to start a relationship and make something happen. It doesn’t matter what the relationship is, it could be hiring someone, asking someone to do a press coverage, selling to a customer or getting an investor. You will always need to reach out and show up in order to accomplish something or influence someone to go in the direction that you want them to go. You have to have the need to create value, help people to create value and achieve your goals in the process. 

Never bother to ask for permission. You go ahead, find out what you want and create a major value that cannot be ignored. The most valuable piece of advice you will ever hear is for you to be insane. Showing up is hard but you know you have to.

─ October 15, 2019