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5 Lessons For Young Founders

What’s important when starting a business? Getting away from the routine, being brave and dealing with challenges – two female founders of Homemade Studio share tips and what they’ve learned since stepping into the entrepreneurial path

Paris Davis and Guia Mondello co-founded of their business, Homemade Studio, in February 2019. The company connects owners of unique homes and private spaces with creative professionals looking for authentic sets to use for their photo, video and film shoots. The business is relatively new, but is growing and becoming known – especially in Berlin. Paris and Guia plan to expand to other cities (including Hamburg and Munich) over the next few months.

Establish the Purpose

It is crucial to get really clear on why it is that you want to start your company. This could be about the business itself, the purpose that it’s fulfilling, being passionate about the idea or it could also be something personal. For us, it was a mix of the two. We have both worked in a corporate environment for many years. We used to work together in the same PR/advertising agency and reached the point where we wanted to move away from that atmosphere. We aspired to put our energy and creativity into starting something of our own that we were passionate about and that would give us the feeling of fulfillment. We didn’t want to just countdown until Friday and dread going to work every Monday for the rest of our lives. The idea of having the freedom to work from anywhere and in our own style was incredibly appealing. When things get hard, which they inevitably do when starting your own business, we think about why it is that we’re doing what we do and this gives us the energy and drive to keep on moving forward.

The Founding Team

One of the most important decisions to make when co-founding a company is choosing wisely who you are going to begin that journey with. It’s really crucial to have a partner that you can work with in an honest, transparent and trustworthy way. A lot of businesses fail, not because of the wrong idea, but more likely because there are cracks within the founding team. Having a business partner is almost like having a spouse – you’re in a marriage and the business is your baby. So it’s really important that you can rely and trust this person 100%. We’ve been through so much together and we always say that we’re really lucky to have found this kind of partnership. We both had the same vision and the same goal. As a second step, this of course also translates to others that you may bring into the team as the business grows.

The First Step

One of the most important advice you can get: Just take the first step – simple yet incredibly valid. Sometimes we shouldn’t overthink things and decisions. If we thought of every single step that we had to take to get to where we are now, we probably would have been overwhelmed and demotivated to even begin. Do some research around your idea, speak to people to get their views and opinions, especially potential users. For us, the vision of not having a boss, changing our lives and creating something of our own was the push. Was it risky? For sure. But it’s worth it. Just take that official first step and the rest will naturally follow through.

The Challenges

Another thing that we’ve learned is that challenges are definitely on the agenda. Having a startup is a journey – a very exciting one, with lots of ups and downs. We encountered delays, financial restrictions and personal obstacles, Guia was 8 months pregnant when we launched our website! It is precisely during these tough times that we learned to stick together and be strong as a team. It is in these moments that you must go back to the reason why you started in the first place. You will face the challenges and you will solve the problems, even when everything seems to be falling apart.

The ‘Me’ Time

When we started thinking about entrepreneurship we were very excited about the idea of having a self-employed lifestyle. And it’s still true, we both love it – but now we also realise that at times it can be very hard and switching off is much harder than expected. When working in an office, after the day is over, you can decide to leave the building and work-related thoughts behind, enjoying offline weekends and holidays. When having your own company, you simply can’t do that. What we’ve learned after these first 18 months of working non-stop, is that it’s absolutely crucial to take some breaks and time off. Take care of yourself and listen to your limits – it’s not just important for you, but also for the business. Find time for yourself! Sometimes, it’s not easy and you may often need to force yourself, but it’s definitely worth it.

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