Becoming an entrepreneur is hard. It takes a lot of effort to take an idea and turn it into something that brings value to a market of customers.
I am not yet an entrepreneur, but I am on an adventure to become one. This post is really a reflection on my journey thus far.
Over the past few weeks I have been thinking a lot about what I want to accomplish in the next five to ten years of my life. One of them is to successfully take an idea and turn it into a successful business. I have aspirations to be something more than just a cog in the wheel.
I use to think this was straight forward, think about ideas that need problems, build solutions, and if the market is there, they will come.
Saying this is totally backwards and wrong would be an understatement.
A mere few weeks of dedicating my after work hours to learning, researching, and prototyping ideas I can say that I have learned that a lot of my assumptions about what I should do were terribly wrong.
1. Someone Will Steal My Idea
Just a few weeks ago I wouldn’t share my ideas with anyone because I feared feedback, rejection, and someone stealing my idea. Then I read 6 Costly Mistakes to Avoid as a First-Time Entrepreneur by Josiah Humphrey.
It turns out there is a term for this fear and reluctance to share, it is called “Famine Mentality”. This article along with following several other aspiring entrepreneurs like myself on IndieHackers, has changed my entire perspective on sharing my ideas.
I am now trying to be very conscious about telling everyone about my ideas. I want their feedback, in fact I am now excited when I do get their feedback! I want to write down what people think of my idea, so that I can know whether or not this is something I should continue to follow through with.
2. Build The Greatest Thing Ever
As a developer I want to be on the bleeding edge and build the greatest thing ever. This is not the point when you are trying to solve real problems for real people. Your market doesn’t care how innovative your new architecture is, they care about you solving their problem.
Growing up throughout my professional career in a startup definitely ingrained this in my head from the get go. Beginning this adventure I realized that you have to be in this frame of mind at all times, not just when you are writing code.
If you are not solving a problem for someone, you can market it all you want, you can build any features you think you need, but you will never be successful with this approach.
The best products sell themselves. Practical or not, this is what I need to aim for because it forces me to think about the problem I am solving.
3. Get Out Of Your Own Way
Fear of failure is natural. I have learned that this fear is actually stopping me from being successful. I need to work on getting out of my own way. Listen to the people around me that are telling me about the problems they are experiencing.
Understand their pain, propose solutions, and then put it out there. What is the worst that could happen? You built something wrong and it doesn’t solve the problem. Take it from the top, communicate with those experiencing the pain, understand it deeper, then iterate on the solution.
It is very easy to get into analysis paralysis, so to combat that I need to get out of my own way. This cannot fail as long as I am listening to the market and proposing solutions to real problems.
Like I said at the start of this article, I am not an expert in entrepreneurship, startups, or even development. I am someone that is on this adventure and sharing with you what I have learned and experienced. If you are looking to start this journey yourself, some people and resources I follow to help get you started: