What is some good advice for first-time entrepreneurs, and which advice is better to ignore?
The best thing I did for my entrepreneurial career was join a startup for a few months. This had several benefits, which is why I’d recommend it for any first-time entrepreneur:
1. You get to taste the challenges of starting a company first-hand, and see up close the mistakes someone else makes before you make them yourself. (In my first book Smartcuts, I wrote about how surgeons who see other surgeons screw up learn more from it than when they screw up themselves.)
2. You get to work on things that are way above the level you would if you were at a bigger company, which means you stretch yourself and also learn your limitations. This is extremely helpful for when you start your own thing.
3. You figure out really quickly whether this is for you. You’ll either catch the bug—and decide that you need to do this yourself in an area that you are SUPER passionate about—or you’ll realize that you’d rather not go through the startup minefield yourself.
Besides that, I would say go after things you really care about. Your story of why you care about what you’re working on is the most powerful tool for recruiting, for winning over investors’ and customers’ hearts—especially in the early days when your business is immature and competing is extra hard.
Shane Snow, Founder of Contently and Author of Dream Teams