People always ask me what they should do to make their ideas about start-ups a reality. The pitch me on this awesome idea and I tell them my thoughts and they get all giddy, then they ask “what should I do now?” Are you kidding? That’s like training for a marithon, getting to the start-line and saying “what do I do now?” Start running.
Let’s address some commong phrases:
“I’m in the ideas phase right now.”: Great ideas are nothing without execution. Until you have a website, a line of code written, an internal system, or anything else (not necessarily all, just one would be OK) it is nothing. How about a website landing page? Use launchrock.com to make a landing page and register a domain in 15 minutes. There, now you’ve got something. Now when you tell other people about your awesome idea they will appreciate that you intend on moving forward and you’re not just throwing around ideas.
“But I’m not 100% sure it will work yet, still need to work out details.”: This mentality is OK, but don’t think like this for months. Take a few days. Also, take your best guess. You will never be at 100%. Do you think Steve Jobs was 100% sure his idea for the mac was going to work? Nobody is every 100% sure.
“But what if I fail?”: An idea that gets executed and fails is infinitely better than an idea that never gets executed. Create an minimal viable product (MVP, coined from the book The Lean Start-up by Eric Reiss) and you will learn SO MUCH more than what you knew through research. Do you think you’ll be better off fighting a war after you’ve sat in the trenches for a week or read a book about it? Exactly. Do you research, but don’t be afraid to fail. I heard once someone say “fail early, fail often”. Though success is obviously the goal, the sooner you fail the sooner you know if you’re headed in the wrong direction.
“I think I still have a lot to learn before I can start”: You’ll always be learning. You’re not going to stop learning when you start-up. It will be ongoing. If you want to fast-track your learning, read a book or two maybe. Here are some of my personal favourites: How To Win Friends And Influence People, The Lean Start-up, Rework, Venture Deals, Start Small Stay Small, Chrossing The Chasm
I recognize that starting up is easier for engineers/developers, but you can still find a way to get things done and start-up.
Hope this helps people out there!