Just Start.

just start

I think sometimes we overestimate what it takes to “start” – especially for those of us who are first-time entreps and don’t exactly know what were doing.

(welcome thought: I suspect most first-time startup founders fall into this category – everyone starts out feeling stupid)

Perhaps we’re thinking:

“Oh gosh, I need to raise a million bucks.”

or

“I need a technical co-founder who has a 3.8 GPA in computer science.”

or

“To do this I need to resign from my job and risk everything! Need to prepare.”

or

“I need to win one of those startup contests!”

You know, if we always think this way, we might never come to the point when we think we’re ready to start. It will end up as just some lofty dream we scarcely scratch. Soon, we may begin to tell ourselves it’s exactly that – just some crazy dream.

I remember when I first realized I wanted to share my experiences as a startup founder and entrepreneur, I wanted to write a book. It was my lofty dream, and it was so hard to start – I felt I had to have the whole book concept crystalized in my mind before starting. The sobering moment came when, after 3 months, I realized there was no progress with what I was trying to do.

So I decided to just start. 

I got a free wordpress account, read a bit about blogging, and just wrote my first post. Then the name just came to me – Juan Giant Leap. But then I realized precisely what I am writing about now – the leap doesn’t need to be GIANT to be GREAT.

I thought that precise nuance was important. So, even if I thought Juan GIANT Leap had the better recall, I went with GREAT.

And so Juan Great Leap was born.

Instead of worrying about starting, just start. 

No need to put distracting pressure on ourselves.

Some practical ways to start simple:

  • Talk about your idea with someone whose opinion you respect, or an industry leader in the idea you are thinking of. 
  • Get some real customer feedback – hold chats with potential customers of the idea you’re thinking of.
  • Attend Open Coffee and pitch your idea (for free, without pressure, with people who want to help)
  • Have dinner with potential co-founders. No need to hard-sell (“Would you want to be my partner?!”), instead coyly just ask for advice. (“I value your opinion, what do you think of this idea?”) If the person is truly interested – and would be a fit – the person would actually volunteer and ask if you need help.
  • Think of a name, and invest a bit in buying a URL. You’ll be amazed at how empowering this is – because in some way, your startup is truly “alive.”
  • Get off your butt. Your startup will never happen if it never leaves the realms of your imagination. Get out and talk about it. Create it. Slowly is surely.

Comments

  1. A speaker for a writing workshop I attended once said “Begin badly (but begin)”. In writing as in entrepreneurship, the first step is crucial. But it is often the beginning of a long and fruitful adventure.

    • Agree completely Carlos! “Beginning” in entrepreneurship means committing a whole lot of mistakes. So almost always, all beginnings WILL begin (necessarily) “badly.”

  2. Hey, I started with #3 (resign from your job)! 😀

    Good tips. A couple more if I may add:

    1. You can’t make it alone, so get out there and make people believe in your vision. As a startup founder, your job is to bring your vision to life — and that involves sharing your vision with as many crazy souls as possible. Sell them your idea, make them see the future you see, and pretty soon you’ll realize you’re not alone in your vision. Having people on your side means all the difference when starting out — more importantly, having people believe in your idea means your idea MIGHT work.

    2. “Fake it til you make it”. I can’t stress this enough! Sometimes you don’t need accolades or a working prototype to win people over. Just present a proof of concept, or a plan on how you will make this dream a reality, and then follow through. Create mock ups, studies and other forms of validation to make people understand just how big things will be once your plan comes into fruition. Know how to impress people, and you should get the boost you need to make things happen.

    Best of luck to all Leapers!

    • Love this, Gino – great additional tips! I do remember your resignation – how it wasn’t automatic, how I’m sure it was pretty emotional. In retrospect though, things worked out pretty well, eh? 🙂

      Vision thing – you’re right, it’s so vital to get allies. It so important to have people in your corner when the inevitable punches in the mouth happen.

      Fake it till you make it – galing! It actually can be the layman’s definition of the MVP 🙂

  3. 10x thumbs up for the last part! Slowly but surely is the way to go!

  4. Wow…you guys really no how to set my duff aflame and get me off of it and act ….thanks peter & co!

  5. Nice one sir peter. I love the part “Get of your butt”. Sometimes the hardest part is the execution, but once executed properly with the right partners, the experience will be worth it.

  6. I just wanted to share – Derek Siver’s inspirational animated cartoons – one of them is about starting. http://sivers.org/anything

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