Stepping into the ring

When I was a kid, I was really afraid of being hit in the face. Not that it often happened to me but the thought was terrifying. Later in life I started learning kickboxing and found out that while painful, a jab to the chin is not as bad as it seems. Most importantly, it’s absolutely necessary to learn to take a hit in order to learn to fight.

It’s the same with entrepreneurship. At Makers Academy I run an informal “startup class” for students that are interested. One of the things I remind them often is that entrepreneurship is a tacit knowledge, that cannot be easily transmitted or taught, just like fighting. The only way to learn what it’s like to take a blow to the chin, is to take a blow to the chin.

While reading books and blogs on startups, attending lectures and listening to podcasts is important, it gives you an illusion of progress if you don’t complement it with practice. The theoretical knowledge is useless without practical experience. You can’t learn how to be an entrepreneur without lots of practice, just like you can’t learn to fight without stepping into the ring. No chance.

If you’re thinking about starting a startup at some point in the future, step into the ring. Build something. Sell something. Pick up the phone and reach to potential customers. Experience failure, rejection and self-doubt. Choose a problem you want to solve and learn everything about it before you build a solution. Do something and learn from it. You can’t avoid stepping into the ring and the sooner you do it, the more you will learn.

You’ll learn more from running a lemonade stand than from reading all the books on entrepreneurship.

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