I’ve learned a few key things about startups that I didn’t realize before getting involved. Namely:
1.) It’s not about ideas, it’s about solving a problem for customers. Customers drive product decisions.
2.) While you may technically be your own boss, in practice, your users are your boss. Your job is to relentlessly serve their needs. You’re also committed to your investors and your teammates.
3.) Who you know is so important in almost all aspects of a company – recruiting, fundraising, sales, etc. It doesn’t matter how awesome your company is – if no one knows about it, you’re not going to get very far. Conversely, having strong relationships is one of the best, and sometimes the only, ways to open certain doors.
4.) Sales is one of the most valuable skills you can have as entrepreneur. Everything is sales. Recruiting, fundraising, partnerships…you need to be able to sell to do any of those things well. Of course you also need to able to sell your product.