Top 5 Pieces of Advice for First-Time Founders (Or Anyone Starting Up, Really)

Q:  What is your top advice for a first time young entrepreneur?

My top advice, in order:

  1. Take your time to find a great co-founder. Some of us can do it without a co-founder. If that’s you, ignore this point. But if you need one, take your time and don’t settle. Find someone great that is as committed as you. No matter how much of a rush you’re in.
  2. When you find your co-founder, have 8–10 year vesting, with a 1+ year cliff. This will make sure you’re both as committed as it will all take. A bit more here.
  3. Make sure you can go the first 24 months without any real revenue. I know this is hard. But it’s supposed to be. It likely will take you 24 months to get any real revenue going in most tech start-ups at least. How will you fund that? A bit more here.
  4. Once you have an idea you are passionate about — interview 20–30 potential customers. For real. Don’t just shoot for the hip and guess, at least not in B2B / SaaS. A bit more here.
  5. Be sure you have a 10x “winner” feature — and that folks will pay for it. This is partly related to the prior point. But there are 1000+ vendors in almost every space these days. That doesn’t mean you can’t win. But it does mean you have to do something important that is 10x better than what those 1000+ vendors do. At least 1 important thing. Make sure you know the market well enough to launch with that 10x feature. And that you are sure customers will pay for it. A bit more here.
Published on April 11, 2021

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