Vietnam, Celebration, New Year, Procession, Travel, Culture

Crucial Mistakes to Avoid as a Startup

I haven’t written anything since Vietnam. Although consistency is key when we talk about content, this is not that sort of blog. It might become one based on how things move along, but for now, it’s still just me chilling with some words floating on THE INTERNET. (“Jen, this is the internet” anyone? If you haven’t watched The IT Crowd, you’re missing on life!).  So. quick recap of my last article “How to Take a Leap of Faith”. It was all about launching myself in another crazy business idea. Remember? No?! Well go and read it already. Which brings me to the very long and quiet period between pre-Vietnam and now. What are the crucial startup mistakes to avoid anyway? And how did I learn about them? Here’s the story, and it’s not as much business oriented as you think. It’s more about you, as a human person.

Starting a business is never easy. The biggest issue is self-doubt. I got the chance to work with some start ups and meeting others that faced their own demons in it. I can’t talk for everyone one here, only for myself. Although I had my share of stress the first time I tried to launch a business, even the second time. I thought by now, I’m all good. Aren’t you like a superman by now? Wish I was. As such, I’m not immune to the same risks, regardless of the number of times you go through it.

Since Vietnam, I had a period of transition from teaching to my business. I couldn’t just disappear out of the cute lives that I had thought to for the couple of months. They kind of became like my own kids and if anything were to happen to any of them, my life would be shattered. Not too long ago, a teacher in the US stepped in front of a shooter and took the bullets to protect the kids. Maybe he wanted to get out of teaching…too soon? Yeah, ok. But this man did what some, if not most, teachers would do to protect the kids. And I understand his feeling. I would never say that I will be brave like he was. But I am hoping that if it ever comes to that, I will be able to shield those kids, like any parent would do. My deepest respect to that teacher.

Now about that transition period, what is it? Basically, working full time while starting your business full time… And when you start a business, you don’t work 35 hours a week… You put it all in there. It became a 7 days/week of non stop working. No training, no healthy eating, just working. Slowly eating away at your energy level, missing the trip in Vietnam and falling in a state you tried so very hard to avoid, deep fatigue and the beginning of depression… Really?! Jesus I thought you were getting better! Wait! Don’t panic here people. I’m all good. I learned one thing. I learned to notice the signs.

Kid, Thinking, Life Story, Vietnam, Culture
Kid pondering life and the future. Credit: Dragos Cacio

Signs of Depression to Be Weary of*

My signs at least :

  • Fatigue and lack of energy. But that could be just from working 7 days a week.
  • Lack of motivation to cook and go to the gym. Again, working to much, no…?
  • Self-doubt. Mhmm… this one is different. Questioning your decision. Ok, starting to get it..
  • Making excuses to avoid taking care of myself. Getting sick. Wait! Getting sick is not a symptom! But here’s the thing. When I don’t feel good, my body follows my mindset and goes something like “Hey, how about we let ourselves get sick a little. No?”
  • Then there’s the little things. Disorganized/messy room. The mess that kept growing and just genuinely letting myself go. And not wanting to do anything anymore.
Traveling Amidst a Pandemic, Painting of girl screaming, Russian painters, Photorealistic Painting
Depression doesn’t scream out loud on the street. It’s inside of you.
Photo Credit: Dragos Cacio

*If you feel you are going through a period of depression and some of those signs apply to you, please do not hesitate to seek help from a professional.

There’s other signs that help you notice early stages of depression and I would strongly encourage anyone to look them up. I got to know myself better in the last year and also learn how to move away from these patterns pretty fast.

Sunset, Vietnam, Roadtrip
Sunset on the twisted roads of Vietnam towards Ho Chi Ming. Credit: Dragos Cacio

Starting a business takes a toll on your mind and your body. And that transition period was not only about working 7 days a week, it’s also a mental transition into a world of insecurity where you depend but only on yourself, your work and that once you fall, your business falls with you. Once you accept that things might be hard, that things will not be stable, that stress is part of life and most of all, that you allow yourself or even impose yourself some time to take care of yourself, things get better and more fun. When you eat healthy, go to the gym, spend quality time with people you care and talk about something else than work, the pressure falls off. The self-doubt fades away and you feel like you’re just thriving in this career that you are building for yourself.

I’ll tell you this, it’s still scary and will always be. But as time goes by, as I get used to it and as I see people I work with satisfied of what I do, things get more exciting. And it’s just the beginning.

Friends, Motorcycles, Vietnam, Fun
Group of friends navigating Vietnam’s crazy roads on a motorcycle trip. Credit: Dragos Cacio

Don’t give up and most of all, if you have people close to you, to support you and that love you, don’t be scared to talk to them and don’t think you are alone in it. You’re never really alone after all.

Dragos out!

Today’s item on the list :

  • Try Peanut Butter and Jam… I had never tried it before this week! I know, crazy, but what are you gonna do. Sue me?

What am I reading right now :

  • South of the Border,  West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami.

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Dragos Cacio
An experienced digital marketing director with a passion for marketing in the technology, travel, and gaming industries. Creative and innovative, he's an expert in creating marketing and advertising strategies to spearhead international market growth. Dragos is the embodiment of what a Digital Nomad stands for, which is freedom of mind and body.