You simply cannot buy the lessons I have learned being a co-founder of a tech start-up. Regardless of oponia and ucaster's success or failure, it's been a business roller coaster ride that would put any executive mucky muck MBA program to shame.
One of the biggest lessons I think I've learned is about fear. Looking back I see fear as a losing game and thought i'd jot down some of the biggest fears start-ups seem to have and my rear-view perspective on them.
Fear of Openess:
- If you can't be open about your idea (stealth, nda's) then you are losing an invaluable opportunity to get the right people to give you feedback and ideas on how to make your idea better. Most people are going to be genuinely excited and want to help. Listening can be your greatest advantage but if you can't speak to anyone or show what you are doing to anyone, then you'll have no one to listen to but yourself. And that's never a good thing.
Fear of Being Wrong:
- You will make more mistakes doing a start-up than anything else. And in fact those mistakes can lead you in a new and much better direction. Move fast, learn quickly and don't be afraid to have people throw tomatoes at you. If you find yourself not being able to make a good argument on your own behalf, then they just might have an important point you should listen too. Your users are your target market not you.
Fear of Giving Away Too Much
- We had the opportunity to bring someone on early who probably would have made a huge difference to our business. We thought at the time we would have to give away too much. Since then, I have been asked by some people to be involved in their project and wanted to bring a team of people on board and they thought we were asking too much. If you think it will up your chances of success, don't be scared to give away too much. Whether that be shares or money. Build the right team first. Having a smaller part of something great will be better than having a huge part of nothing.
Fear of Putting It Out There
- I've had some people talk to me who are shy by nature and say they can't start a blog, aren't good at presentations etc. Get over it. You cannot do a start-up and be shy. These days to be successful you have to put it all on the line and be prepared to be the clown, the idiot, the fool. Now of course, we all hope everyone will think we are brilliant most of the time, but the truth is everyone is going to have an opinion and you have to be prepared to put yourself out there day in and day out regardless of how strange it might feel.
Cheesy Courage poster via: http://tinyurl.com/5gasqd