Potty training for tech entrepreneurs

In a lot of ways starting out as an entrepreneur is like being born. The first months involve a lot of throwing up, doing things for the very first time and shitting yourself. It takes a while to get the basics right, finally realising that there are better ways of getting from one place to another than flat on your belly.

The last years of my life have been primarily about those two topics: father-ship and entrepreneurship. Since then I’ve learned a ton, and wanted to take some time to write about what i’ve learned and hopefully share an interesting story along the way.

Stop developing

As a techie the first solution to a problem is always that “i-can-build-something-for-that” attitude. Stop that!

As a technical co-founder we all carry the habit to start developing the solution. Actually, that next feature or that 16th integration will not get you the customers you are looking for!

If you can’t resist the urge to open that editor and start hacking away: focus on what you already have. Iterate on your existing features, make them faster, smarter and easier to use. Just stop producing more crap!

Learn how to sell

Reality check: 9 out of 10 startups fail. Most of them share the same pattern: Good people, high motivation and superb energy. But hardly enough focus on profitability and sales.

Successful startups are obsessed by sales in their earliest stages. Learn how to sell and how to deal with rejection. Try to add science into your sales process by learning about LTV, CPA, conversion rates and churn rates.

If you consider yourself a geek, confident around terminals and stack traces, throw out that new relic T-shirt and learn how to sell your idea. Start practicing on your pitch and get out the building!

Your brilliant idea is worth 20$

Still convinced that “finding the right idea” is the key to success ? It’s not. Execution is everything. There are so many ideas for businesses out there that can be successful with proper execution.

It’s the rework book that learned me about a simple table that displays that concept.

To make a business, you need to multiply the idea with the quality of the execution:

  • The most brilliant idea, with no execution, is worth $20.
  • The most brilliant idea takes great execution to be worth $20,000,000

Well, you get the picture

Choose your co-founders

Growing a business is hard. In a lot of ways it’s comparable to the first months of being a parent: waking up at night, coping with your inner-feelings about new responsibilities. Being tired most of the time will put some stress on your relation.

Co-founding a company much like a marriage (without the sex). For a considerable amount of time, you’ll likely be spending more time with your business partner than with your life partner.

Finding the right co-founders is among the most difficult, yet most important thing new entrepreneurs need to do. Find someone you can trust in the trenches, and share your drive toward constant improvement and success.

There is never a right time

Waiting for the right time to pursue your idea?

Whatever excuse you can come up with for why you’re waiting for the right time is probably not good enough. There is no such thing as “the right time”

If you are convinced about your idea. Stop what you are doing now, and go for it.

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