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1 Year in My New Business: 6 Lessons for 2024

reflecting on new business

20 years ago, I got laid off from my job.

I had a young family to support.

I spent the next 3 months applying for other jobs but had no luck.

Forced by this reality, I decided to partner with a close friend and start a business. It was shortly after the dot com bubble burst, but all signs were pointing towards the internet becoming the next big thing (much like AI these days).

The painful layoff thus triggered a chain of events that culminated in me exiting 7- and 8-figure services businesses 20 years down the road.

Lately, I have been working on my newest venture, Start Up with Feras. Here are some updates👇

I’m building an education and media company. Our mission is to be the #1 learning resource for early-stage founders who want to start and grow a 7 or 8-figure consulting and services business.

I chose Start Up With Feras for 2 reasons:

  1. To scale knowledge sharing: For over a decade now, I have on average been advising 1-2 entrepreneurs every week. I have never charged for these sessions. This is my indirect way of saying “thank you” to everyone who has helped me along the way. You all know who you are. 🙂
    I admire the entrepreneurial spirit of founders, and I am constantly inspired by people who want to make a difference, even when the odds may not be fully in their  favor. Founders tell me that my recommendations give them clarity on building their businesses, so I want to share them with more people.
  2. I love building and growing something unique in a sector that’s about to explode, and I believe the creator economy is on the cusp of exploding.

Here are 5 highlights from our first year:

  1. Advised over 30 founders in many different fields.
  2. Produced over 140 educational videos and gained 6k subscribers on our YouTube channel, with over 146k views to date.
  3. Developed more than 125 articles and editions of our Daily Advisor newsletter.
  4. Co-founded the business with my close old-time friend and ex-colleague, Eric Fettman.
  5. Brought on an amazing intern in February who became our first hire in September. In addition, we’ve engaged several top consultants in the content production space.

6 Business Lessons I have learned (or relearned) in my latest venture

  1. Partner with (and hire) “A” people
    • Building great companies is still all about the people you partner with and work with (be it employees, vendors, or partners).
  2. Know the market and know the audience
    • You need to put more effort into market and target audience research than you think. (It’s one of the leading reasons startups fail). Err on the side of more audience and market research than the other way around.
  3. Prototype and iterate
    • Whatever your offering is, it’ll take several attempts before you get it right. Plan for iterations, be patient, and keep improving.
  4. Learning never stops
    • No matter how much experience you have when you enter a new market, or new vertical, or work in a new medium, the road to mastery still requires 10,000 hours of deliberate practice.
  5. Only listen to people who have been to where you want to go
    • Everyone has an opinion, and many of them stink. Be judicious about who you seek advice from.
  6. Don’t compare your chapter 1 to their chapter 20
    • Get inspiration and fuel your competitive spirit but don’t directly compare yourself to someone who started a while ago and has had the time to go further.

The learning continues indeed. After many years in the workforce and then in entrepreneurship, I’m energized by this new and different venture, I’m happy about the progress we’ve made, and I look forward to meeting the challenges ahead and providing more and more value to new founders in 2024.

Sign up for the Daily Advisor here where I’ll continue to share insights for starting or growing your own 7- or 8-figure consulting or services business.

You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

Best to you in your aspirations for the new year and your ongoing journey.

Feras Alhlou

Feras Alhlou

Feras has founded, grown, and sold businesses in Silicon Valley and abroad, scaling them from zero revenue to 7 and 8 figures. In 2019, he sold e-Nor, a digital marketing consulting company, to dentsu (a top-5 global media company). Feras has served as an advisor to 150+ other new startup businesses, and in his current venture, Start Up With Feras, he's on a mission to help entrepreneurs in the consulting and services space start and grow their businesses smarter and stronger.

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