As the clock turned to midnight, I paused for a moment and thought to myself, I wouldn’t trade places with anyone else at this moment in time…..
I am pretty certain that in time when I look back at my journey as an entrepreneur, 2011 will be a defining year. It will be an year about which I will recount hundreds of stories and incidents that shaped and lay the foundation of things to come. This year has had its share of extreme highs and scary lows. It was a year in which I definitely felt alive every single day. A year I pushed myself to go outside established comfort zones and do the best that I could in them.
In the end it all comes down to the people we work with and the vision that you are working towards. There are two people I really want to thank for making 2011 such a meaningful one at work, Shahzaib Khan & Song Kwang Lee. I have co-founded companies with both of them and I truly believe that working side by side with them has made all the difference.
The three key lessons from this year for me were:
I came across this video recently and found it truly inspirational. It is one of those videos that makes you stop and think for a minute. About where you are, what you are doing and whether you are still on the path you want to be on. Life has this infinite capacity to consume you with the details, that we begin to lose sight of the bigger picture. You need to be constantly reminded about your end goal and make sure what you are doing today, is leading up to where you want to be.
“Starting a company is hard, risky, painful and usually seems unfair. Starting a company that will leave a lasting mark on the world is reserved for the borderline insane or very lucky — not for those who need to be propped up with pep talks. In short, entrepreneurship is not a short cut. If you need someone to convince you that starting your own business is right for you, then it’s probably not. Going to conferences, hanging out with entrepreneurs or telling people that you’re a “start-up guy” does not put you in the category of those who put all their chips on the table to turn an idea into a reality.”
Excerpt from Entrepreneurship Today.
Last week I had the opportunity to have three conversations with individuals looking to apply to the Founder Institute and who have solid ideas going into the program. The best part about having been through the cycle of taking an idea and building it into something is that you can help others save a lot of time and anguish by helping them correct fundamental errors in the beginning.
I literally lose track of time when talking about startups, entrepreneurship and new product development methodologies, particularly when it involves another fellow entrepreneur who is just starting his/her journey. Giving back without expecting anything in return helps one achieve a true sense of fulfillment in what one does.
I am extremely thankful for the week I have just had. Regardless of all the ups and downs that one experiences during a typical startup week, you know it was all worth it when you are able to help a couple of people out. If you are launching a new startup or thinking about one and want to bounce your idea off me, please drop me a note at blog (at) usmansheikh (dot) com. I will do my best to get back to you as soon as possible!
I mentioned doing monthly reviews in my last post and got some questions regarding how I manage them and what software I use. Here is what I currently use:
I use a product called OmniFocus that syncs through all my devices and helps me keep track of all the projects and tasks I need to get done. It takes some time to get it setup properly and integrate it into your daily workflow, however, once you get it synced it becomes a critical part of your daily routine. Some really good resources and videos to get started with the product can be found below:
Getting Started with OmniFocus
Getting Up and Running with OmniFocus in 5 Minutes
OmniFocus ScreenCast Tutorials
Once you have all your projects and tasks setup, the program gives you the ability to set a review date on all pending tasks. I have set aside a time at the end of every day to do a daily review. This brings up all the projects that need immediate action as well as those which have pending due dates coming up very soon.
At the same time I have setup reviews on a weekly and monthly basis to review projects that are coming up soon as well as those that I need to plan for in a couple of months.
Reviews help things from falling through the cracks and help prioritize your projects to ensure that you are able to meet your short term and long term goals. If someone needs help or is using omnifocus and wants to talk about shortcuts and hacks I will be more than happy to do so!