I’m 22, have been lied to, been betrayed, failed before, invested/lost money, invested/lost time, invested/lost energy, you name it. I hope I can save your time, energy, and money.
A few real life lessons about entrepreneurship, you have heard all of these anyway, this is just a more honest version:
1. Training, books, workshops, and articles only gives you information. You need to experiment and validate, then it becomes knowledge. You apply it, and it becomes wisdom. Again, whatever you read now is just information.
2. Cash is king. A business makes or will make money, cash flow or capital gains (Before you fantasize how you will conquer the market, read number 5). If it doesn’t, it is a project, not a business. It won’t survive, your fantasy will end. Don’t let investor control you and your company, when you let go only 10% of your company to an investor, believe me or not, you have a “boss”.
3. Merely solving a problem doesn’t equal a good business. Solve something significant enough, until people pay.
4. Solving a problem is overrated. Giving experience and entertainment can be an easier way to build a business. A pretty percentage of most people’s spending is in entertainment (Ah, a super delicious food is also an entertainment btw. And those starbucks, come on. You can be awake with cheap coffee. Trust me.)
5. Internet startup hype is not healthy. Too many startups have super high customer acquisition cost, often higher than customer lifetime value, they will die one day when the funding stops. Valuation is good for capital gain during exit, but a lifetime business gives cash flow. Not everything that shines is gold.
6. The developing countries are filled with people with average minds that succeed as entrepreneurs, and smart people that don’t. I’m in a developing country. Keep it simple stupid, duh! as Richard Branson said. Don’t read too much TechCrunch! Our market is generally not as competitive as US, I swear.
7. Talking to the right people save your time reading about something for a few hours, days, or if you have bad luck, weeks.
8. Movement is not progress. Building things is not progress. In short, input is not progress. Progress is measured by output. Sometimes the more time you spend in thinking and analyzing your future actions, you can save a lot a lot a lot of time for the long run. Move fast break things? Depends on your resources.