Anyone who has ever started their own business will tell you: It’s a lot of hard work. You build it from the ground up, put in countless hours to get it started and extensive efforts to keep it running. It becomes your life.
Those who start their own businesses have done their homework beforehand—seeking advice, meeting with potential investors, interviewing applicants and comparing different strategies from other businesses, but there are some points of wisdom you just won’t know until you actually start a business yourself.
Alex King-Harris is the co-founder of the recently launched YogiTunes, which works a lot like iTunes, but specifically for the yoga community. As yoga increased in popularity, King-Harris and his two co-founders realised that there wasn’t a platform for yoga instructors, students and artists to easily discover, share and buy yoga music—which some believe has healing powers—designed specifically for yoga and meditation.
Instead, yoga instructors were simply creating playlists for their own classes, but were unable to share with one another. If their students were interested in the playlists, they were unable to acquire it on their own. Yoga enthusiasts believe that the right music is essential for various sequences in a yoga routine.
YogiTunes offers a feature called the Yoga Teacher Playlist, which is a selection of songs picked by yoga instructors for use in their classes. These playlists are made available for users.
Although YogiTunes is similar to the concept of iTunes, a platform of providing and sharing music specifically for health purposes had not existed before. So how does one go about launching a business based on a new idea? Here are eight tips that King-Harris shared with us for new business owners.
1. Believe in yourself. Sounds like a cliche, but that’s where you’ll find endless resources when nothing else seems to make sense. If you do every little thing everyone else tells you to do, but have no faith in yourself, you won’t get far before the hard work gets too hard.
2. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Your idea may be new, but the process of getting where you want to go almost certainly isn’t. Other people have already paved the way by doing something very similar. They’ve made mistakes so that you don’t have to or discovered a better way of doing something so that you can take an easier path.
3. Use the Internet. It’s a treasure trove of free information. Constantly search for exactly what it is you need more information on. Information can be presented in a multitude of different ways so keep looking until you find someone who speaks your language. The same topic can be taught in a myriad of different ways, from YouTube videos to blog posts. The moment you find the right one you’ll be able to more easily absorb the lesson.
4. Seek the help and advice of willing professionals. And do it long before you start fundraising or spending any money. This speaks more to not reinventing the wheel. Finding seasoned pros who have done something similar will help you identify your weaknesses and harness your strengths. They can help prepare you for the rigorous journey of building a business. The more prepared you are, the better off you’ll be.
5. Meditate. Self-empowerment and a healthy lifestyle will take you far beyond your wildest expectations with regards to what you’re capable of. It’s a basic source of fuel for your ship. There’s a reason these choices are so popular: They’re essential for sustaining creative and logistical output in such a demanding environment. Plus, they make you and the world more harmonious, which is of course a good thing.
6. Be willing to share your business plan. It’s a good idea to put your business plan, PowerPoint or budget in front of anyone you can trust who knows what they’re talking about. Make sure they sign an NDA so that you begin to value your intellectual property. The feedback you’ll get from them is always priceless.
7) Be prepared to make sacrifices. Specifically, make sure you really want to give three to five years of your life (minimum) to your company before you get on board. It’s a serious commitment that isn’t easily put aside until you have either achieved success or died trying.
8) Do what you love to do. Otherwise it’s not a good way to be of service to yourself and others, and that ultimately should be your core goal. King-Harris became a yoga enthusiast after a car accident in his late teens that left him with wounds that required drugs to regulate his digestion. After the accident, he met a yoga teacher who used music therapy combined with yoga for healing purposes. Shortly thereafter, King-Harris became a believer.