The following is my short course on do’s and don’t s for starting up a business:

Don’t waste your time (and money) making everything perfect before you begin. You are as ready as you’ll ever be. Your idea of what you are and what you need will change with experience, so don’t lock yourself in too tight at the start. Make it up as you go.

Do come up with a good name. Brainstorm it with as many people as you can. Try to keep it short – one or two syllables. Try to make it connect with common experience in as many ways as possible (this makes it easy to remember).

Don’t be a grouch. Whatever product you provide, you’re also selling customer service. That means being likable, personable, accountable, and reliable. You have to be pretty exclusively wonderful to overcome poor customer service.

Don’t be afraid to put your stuff out there. Yes, people will copy you and steal your ideas. That is a good thing.

Do be aware what works and what doesn’t. You’ll have some ideas or explore some marketing areas that just don’t work financially, no matter how brilliant they seem at first. Drop the things that don’t bring in the revenue. Cut your losses.

Do be your own niche. Use your product or service – believe in it. Nothing sells like sincerity.

Don’t leap before you think. Partnerships are like marriages. Some last till death do them part; in others the partners end up wanting to kill each other. The creative person should consider carefully before committing to a partnership. If the partners bring individual talents and skills that don’t conflict, it can work.

About Peter de Kuster

Peter de Kuster is the founder of The Heroine’s Journey & Hero’s Journey project,  a storytelling firm which helps creative professionals to create careers and lives based on whatever story is most integral to their lives and careers (values, traits, skills and experiences). Peter’s approach combines in-depth storytelling and marketing expertise, and for over 20 years clients have found it effective with a wide range of creative business issues.


Peter is writer of the series The Heroine’s Journey and Hero’s Journey books, he has an MBA in Marketing,  MBA in Financial Economics and graduated at university in Sociology and Communication Sciences