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Lessons About Entrepreneurship I Learned in My First Year as a Startup Founder

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Lessons About Entrepreneurship

At Austin Visuals we have learned a thing or two from people who have worked for us and have worked for. Learning about how our business operates now is easy, but putting it into words how we started is difficult. That is why “Lessons About Entrepreneurship” by Nicolas Cole is our go to article. It perfectly lays out how any business starts. The following is a shortened, modified version of his powerful lessons.


Lessons About Entrepreneurship No. 1:
You know nothing (and that’s OK).

“When everything turns to chaos, as the founder, you have to bring the calm.”

I didn’t understand what that meant until I started to feel the realities of building a company with other people’s livelihoods at stake.

Entrepreneurship has humbled me. And I find it humbles a lot of young founders, who often set off to change the world only to feel the weight of their aspirations when they realize it doesn’t happen overnight.

Theory means nothing until you’ve been in the trenches. So, be passionate. Set out to do something big. But remember, you won’t truly know until you can say, “I’ve been there.”

Lessons About Entrepreneurship No. 2:
Entrepreneurship without personal development is a disaster.


I found myself in moments where I would hyper-focus on the business, lose sight of myself, and then things in my life would crumble. Personal relationships. Health. Emotional well-being. Everything suffered, all because I felt like my business was my child, and I would go whatever distance to see it succeed.

This is unhealthy. And the moments you push too hard, you end up causing more damage than good.

I know I will be an entrepreneur for the rest of my life. There’s no going back now. I am forever changed. But if there’s one thing I hope to do for the entrepreneurial community along my journey, it’s start larger dialogues about the importance of personal development while building a business.

If you lose yourself in the process, your company will suffer.

Lessons About Entrepreneurship No. 3:
Cash is your gasoline.


I have always been frugal, but entrepreneurship made me see the money I had as so much more than just a “savings account.” Money started to have dozens of meanings: the ability to survive, the ability to innovate, the future of the company itself.

Without cash, your company dies.

We both shared the exact same mindset: “Keep as much cash in the company as possible.” This is one of those lessons you hear about, and can even understand on a theoretical level, but it’s not until you start adding employees, and see your monthly payroll go up and up, that you truly understand.

Cash is your gasoline. You don’t want to find yourself on the open road with an empty tank.

Lessons About Entrepreneurship No. 4:
The burden of opportunity is real.


Part of what allows a business to flourish is simplicity. 

The moments we tried to build in too many directions at once, we failed. We overworked ourselves. We got burned out, even discouraged.

But when we were able to focus on improving one or two things at a time, we flew.

This is a lesson that fundamentally changed how I think about not just business, but every pursuit in life.

One thing at a time.

Lessons About Entrepreneurship No. 5:
Entrepreneurship is lonely.


Entrepreneurship is lonely. Nobody will know how hard you work at what you do, give you the acknowledgment or the “pat on the back” you feel you deservel, sit there, cheering you on, day in and day out, take the fall when you mess up, or be able to tell you which direction is right or wrong.

Entrepreneurship is lonely because, by definition, it means choosing to go your own way.

This is one of the hardest, most brutal truths about entrepreneurship:

In the process of trying to be great, you will fail at almost everything.

And do you know what? That’s OK too.

Because at the end of the day, all you can do is your best — and then wake up the next day and try again, and again, and again.


Written by Nicolas Cole
Read the full article here


Austin Visuals is a full-service 3D, 2D, Motion Graphics, Live Video, E-learning, Digital Publication studio. We’ve been creating digital magic nationwide for a decade. We work with companies of all sizes from startup to standout. Call us for a free consultation. 512-591-8024 or email us here: [email protected]