Starting my first company was an eye opening experience because it made me realize I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. New challenges seemed to pop up every day and I stumbled my way through each and every one.
The best resources I found to help with my incompetence were books and blogs, but reading advice from successful founders often made me feel more inept. Those startup geniuses must possess a superior intelligence because of their successes. They must be more innately capable of building a company because they all seemed to know exactly what to do in every situation.
The funny thing is, as I eventually met and became friends with a few of those bloggers over the years, I realized everyone is figuring it out as they go. Behind every great success story are mistakes and hard-earned lessons. We just often don’t hear about them.
I try to remind myself now that everyone starts from nothing and it’s ok to suck at the beginning. No one knows how to solve a situation when it’s first encountered. Even impressive entrepreneurs like Drew Houston have knowledge gaps to fill:
“I was living in Boston, working for a startup during the summer, living in my fraternity house. But every weekend, I would take this folding chair up to the roof with all these books I got on Amazon. I would just sit there and read all of them. I would spend the whole weekend just reading, reading, reading. I’d be like, alright, I don’t know anything about sales. So I would search for sales on Amazon, get the three top-rated books and just go at it. I did that for marketing, finance, product, engineering. If there was one thing that was really important for me, that was it.”- Drew Houston
So don’t be afraid to try something new because of fear you might suck at first.
Don’t be afraid to start a company because you lack experience.
If you’re smart, pay attention to details, trust your best judgement, and persevere, you’ll quickly figure it out too.
Or as my favorite cartoon dog once said…