Six lessons learned from a new entrepreneur

Niraj Kapur - entrepreneur, sales coach and author.


Starting your own business is like having a child. There’s never a good time. You can talk and plan all you want, but sometimes, you just need to jump right in.

After 23 years working in London, I did the unthinkable. I gave up my salary, commission, office buzz, world-class coffee, delicious client lunches and overpriced trendy bars to become an author and expert sales coach. 

When you reach your mid-40s, the people you care about start to endure health problems or lose a parent, so you take a closer look at your life.

As personal development guru Brendon Burchard says: “Did I live? Did I love? Did I matter?”

Recently, I see corporations cutting costs. Replacing experienced people like me with account managers to save money short-term, only to lose out financially long-term. Giving most people two or more jobs to save on overheads. There’s less team bonding, less fun, more stress, it’s all about hitting target. Working 9-5 just isn’t doing it for most people anymore.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 66 percent of people are either not engaged in their jobs.

The first 3 months as an entrepreneur you’re in a state of panic. How would I pay the bills? How would I find clients? When will my partner stop asking “are you going through a mid-life crisis?” When would my teenage daughter stop saying “Don’t pick me up from school in tracksuit bottoms, it’s so embarrassing. Go back to work!”

What have I learned from being an entrepreneur?

Lesson One: Save Money

I jump into things, it’s a blessing and a curse. With only book royalties to live off and 1 months savings, I burned through cash fast – setting up a limited company, business cards, brochures, an accountant, attending networking events. Have 6, preferably 12 months savings in the bank.


Lesson Two: Invest Massively In Yourself

I attend numerous business courses, personal development conferences and invest in a sales coach at least once a month. So far in 2018 I’ve invested almost £9,000 to stay ahead. All successful entrepreneurs invest massively in themselves and a sales coach will help scale your business.

Lesson Three: Give Enormous Value To Others

When people don’t know you, why would they spend money with you? That was the challenge I was facing. So I started giving free 10-15 minute talks at business events about why sales is important for your business. Two minutes of humorous insight to get their attention and eight minutes of valuable takeaways they can start implementing. At the end, I offer a free 121 sales coaching session worth £195 for everyone who spends bought my Amazon bestselling book, Everybody Works in Sales. That got me in the door and 20% of businesses signed me up for paid-for coaching after the free session.


Lesson Four: Tell Great Stories

Everyone is so busy in 2018, so you need to get their attention immediately. People connect with stories, more than facts or statistics. I have lived a unique life -- Indian man growing up in an Irish society -- had an arranged marriage to a woman I met for 20 minutes -- father awarded an MBE from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace -- I have stories that people listen to.

Lesson Five: Learn To Switch Off

Working for yourself involves long hours. You have to balance too many things in a day. Material to read. Events to attend. Clients to pitch. More articles to read. Emails to reply to. Then you have to fit in paperwork, sending invoices and chasing invoices… it’s never-ending and I was going to burn out from working seven days a week. So I meditate every day for 20 minutes. I walk every morning for 30 minutes with my Smartphone switched off. It’s vital to take a breaks throughout the day.


Lesson Six: Surround Yourself With Good People

Find friends that support you. Mentors that have been where you’ve been. Fellow entrepreneurs you can share wat stories and successes with. It helps you through the bad days and there will be a lot of bad days as well as good ones.

Has this been worth it?

My book, Everybody Works in Sales, reached #17 under business in Amazon and has been in the top 100 several times since. This was not free or discounted, but full price. I have secured 12 entrepreneurs as clients, 3 medium-sized business and a large corporation. I’ve also spoken at Federation of Small Business, University of Buckingham and many corporates about raising the standards of sales and how to make more sales in business.

I have not yet reached the financial success of my corporate job, however, I’m only starting.  You never get this kind of excitement in a 9-5 job and you certainly don’t learn this much either. I have so much respect for people who go out and do it on their own. It takes so much courage, tenacity and heart to make it as an entrepreneur and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Niraj Kapur is author of Amazon bestseller "Everybody Works in Sales".

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