And no, I don’t think I look like Hugh Laurie :)

I’ve been telling startups this for 10 years and still no-one listens

You’ve just started out and are all excited about your new venture. Here’s some words of advice.

At the early stage:

  • It’s not about your killer idea
  • It’s not about securing funding
  • It’s not about obsessing about the right co-founder
  • It’s not about choosing the best technology
  • It’s not about perfecting your pitch
  • It’s not about getting your website up
  • It’s not about making the perfect product

At the beginning it’s not about the things you think it is.

I know because I’ve been there myself.

I used to run a design agency and at the beginning we focused on all the wrong things. We locked ourselves away from the outside world thinking we knew it all, and could do it all on our own.

We couldn’t.

Fast forward 13 years and now I know where we went wrong.

It’s all about people

The best way to get funding/tech/co-founders etc? Don’t try and get any of them. Take the oblique route and find a community of the right people.

  • People will help you make a success of your ideas
  • People will help you make sense of your vision
  • People will ask you the right questions – like ‘why are you doing this’?
  • People will guide you and mentor you
  • People will get you to focus on what’s important right now
  • People will love the mission you’re on and become your cheerleaders

Countless startups have got going without funding, co-founders, investment or even a website, with crappy tech and often even crappier ideas.

But they’ve got quickly clear on their mission and the change they’re trying to bring about. They soon discover exactly what they need (not what they thought they needed). And they know the right people to make it happen.

And the best bit? You get to work out everything with your community and they become your potential customers. Rather than build something only to find you then have to find customers (or worse, nobody wants it).

So rather than wasting your time locked away from the outside world focusing on the wrong things, how about you find a place where the right kind of people are hanging out, and go there?

Take that money you were going to spend on your business cards, new laptop, website or flash phone and spend it on meaningful experiences that will build your network and world exponentially.

Your future self will thank you for it.

A ready-made tribe of people gather at Happy Startup Summercamp each September in the UK – where 150 forward-thinking entrepreneurs, leaders and changemakers come together for 3 days of game-changing talks, workshops and conversations. Apply here to join us.

“I’ve found a school. A space to learn from beauties — teachers, buddies, mentors — that see amazingness in other people’s nuttiness.” Rula, London