We were building a software startup in the beekeeping space — which we knew nothing about.
That was our first mistake. We soon realized that we would burn all the money, so we pivoted to something we were familiar with. All of us were software engineers, so we shifted to a software development company, offering our coding skills to other businesses.
This was a more logical choice because we were now in a business we knew something about, but was that really the case?
I know a lot about software development, but I had no clue about business, leading people or communication.
Project by project, employee by employee, I soon found myself in the CEO role of a company that employed 35 amazing people and generated $1M in revenue yearly.
That journey was nothing like I thought it would be, and there were some things I didn’t expect. If you want to start a business, be aware of these challenges.
I wasn’t, and because of that, my journey was more arduous than it should have been.
Entrepreneurial dreams are frequently filled with visions of millions. The hard reality is that making that initial sale will be a nightmare.
It took me months to close the first client. Months of watching our money decrease. And I had no idea what to do.
Before you set your eyes on the million-dollar prize, focus on securing that first sale — it’s a significant milestone that deserves undivided attention.
I was projecting how we would do $100k–$200k in the first year. Yeah, right. Do you know how many clients I close? One or two, I can’t even remember anymore.
We’re now at $85k monthly, but it took me 6 years to grow the company to this level. Our yearly revenue in the first two years was less than our current MRR.
We got our first client from a coding hackathon. Not only did we get the first prize, but a sponsoring company was so impressed they approached us to develop a web app for them.
A tip: Attend hackathons! It’s a golden opportunity to showcase your skills and potentially land clients.
I come from a tech background, and while I was confident in my technical abilities, I soon realized that this skill alone means nothing in business.
Selling a product or service requires a different skill set — one that bets on the ability to communicate effectively.
Your technical expertise can be top-notch, but it’s worthless if you can’t sell the value of what you offer.
The same goes for marketing. I spent countless nights reading about marketing, CTAs, and how SEO works. Because we might be awesome developers, but nobody knew about it.
Today, I can confidently say that I’m somewhat of an “expert” in marketing, perhaps even more so than in coding.
Today, our website has around 650k monthly impressions on Google search results, with more than 15k visitors whom we convert into clients. But for the first two years, we were getting maybe 100–200 visitors per month.
First, we were writing articles and hoping for SEO to kick in. The game-changer was when we started using tools like Ahrefs and Semrush to find keywords we could compete on with our articles.
A tip: Don’t just write content; research the topic first. Don’t waste your time or money if the keyword is too competitive.
The entrepreneurial journey is not a glamorous one.
It’s filled with missed opportunities on the personal front — be it birthdays, anniversaries, or simple evenings out with friends. Initially, I worked 60, 80, and sometimes even 100 hours a week.
I couldn’t just go to a party and have a good time while my head was thinking about cash flow issues and my responsibility to the team. If we are not hitting enough money for the month, I would have to find a way to fix cash flow to have enough to pay people.
The hard reality is that entrepreneurship can be emotionally and physically draining.
I lost so many friends because of the business. I didn’t have time to meet with them regularly, and connections faded after a while.
My problem was we grew too fast, too soon. We expanded from 10 to 30 members in a year, spanning 5 departments without any leadership structure. As a result, the time-consuming leadership activities fell on me, making it impossible to maintain balance in my life.
A tip: strive for balance. Don’t scale a team without someone who will lead it; you can’t handle everything alone.
One of the harshest truths about entrepreneurship is the loneliness that accompanies it.
Most people won’t understand the challenges you face. While they might advise you to ‘relax’ or ‘take it easy’, they have no clue about the nights you spend staring at a negative balance sheet or the stress of ensuring your team gets paid on time.
Often, during those long nights, I found myself alone, struggling with my personal challenges, the company’s issues, client concerns, and the problems faced by our employees — all by myself.
A tip: hang out with other entrepreneurs. We all face similar struggles, and it’s much easier when you have people to talk to who truly understand you.
The first few years of any business are dominated by one primary concern: cash flow. Financial stability is a distant dream, replaced by the immediate need to ensure that expenses can be covered.
At the beginning of every month, I found myself staring at numbers, calculating, strategizing, and sometimes, desperately hoping.
The challenge isn’t just about maintaining a positive balance. It’s about ensuring salaries are paid, vendors are compensated, and operations continue — all while maintaining healthy growth.
A tip: Don’t base your expenses on the hope that new cash flow will come in. Several times, when I increased my expenses due to anticipated cash flow, there was an issue, and the cash didn’t arrive when needed. Increase expenses only when you have the cash in the bank, not before.
Even though my business card says ‘CEO’, my real job is being a leader just as much as it’s about handling the business side of things.
I lead a group of 35 people, and it’s not always easy. I have to consider what each person wants and needs while ensuring we all work well together as a team.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes. Some people left because they didn’t see me as a good leader. Some others didn’t trust me, and some even betrayed me. But that happens; not everyone shares the same drive.
My goal was never to make a ton of money. It was more about doing something valuable, guiding my team with a clear purpose, and always sticking to our goals.
It’s been a ride with ups and downs, but one thing never changed: the need to work hard. I mean really, really hard, without giving up, no matter what.
Scaling a business from ground zero to seven figures demands resilience, adaptability, and a never-die attitude.
My story isn’t unique. It mirrors the thousands of countless entrepreneurs worldwide, each battling their own challenges, each driven by their own set of dreams.
But if there’s one lesson I’d like to pass on, it’s this: value the journey as much as the destination. The journey is the real lesson; it shapes you, molds you, and prepares you for the peaks and troughs of the business world.