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Startup lesson #01: Hold your nerve

Lessons from 100 days of starting my own business

OK, so it’s your first day having quit your job and starting out as a founder. Congratulations and well done you! What an amazing day! You’ve been looking forward to this day for months, perhaps years, and you’re excited to get started.


For most of my first day working on my own business, I was trying really hard not to panic. Despite having done lots of preparation, I felt very overwhelmed by the fact that I had no plan, no structure, no clear direction other than ‘build a business’, and a big idea. The phrase ‘hold your nerve’ became my mantra for that first day.


So my advice to you on this first, wonderful and terrifying day is: hold your nerve.

It wasn’t that I was afraid of the challenge – part of the problem was that I was too happy and excited about it to be able to focus properly. But the point here is that it takes time to plan, time to learn what tools you’re actually going to need in order to achieve all it is you’re setting out to do. On the first day, you’re as far away from having the necessary skills as you’ll ever be, and it can feel pretty intimidating. Even for someone who is modestly confident that they can make it work, and who is extremely motivated, with a concrete idea to work on, day one is when you’re a complete rookie.


Especially if you’re coming from a corporate background, and perhaps have a successful career on your CV, and you’re used to having a little bit of authority, good credibility, and being surrounded by people who respect your opinion, going from having all of that to all of a sudden having none of that is a big leap. You become incredible humble when you have to prove yourself in a completely new domain.


The good news is that this feeling will pass, but the only way to make it pass is to just get on and do. The more you do, the more experience you gather, and the better your judgement becomes. But on this first day, repeat positive mantras in your head and be sure to reach out to your support network for encouragement and motivation. You can do it.

I'm Claire Ransom, and I'm a writer and business owner. I founded Lazy Flora, a garden-in-a-box delivery company, in February 2017. This blog post is part of a series on things I learnt during 100 days of starting my own business.

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