Daniel is CEO at CareerDean
It’s been over a year now since I decided to found a startup. To build a company immediately upon graduation. To become an entrepreneur without a complete understanding of what that meant.
Because of CareerDean, I receive a good amount of emails from aspiring entrepreneurs who are still in college. They want to know what mistakes I’ve made and what advice I can give them before they venture out on their own. That got me thinking, what do I wish I had known about entrepreneurship when I was still an undergraduate student?
1. Don’t wait for perfection. Just launch something… unless you are manufacturing airplanes or developing a cure for cancer or something along those lines… then you should aim for perfection…or else you’re going to be in trouble.
12. Don’t try to raise money until you have a product built. If you just graduated college and this is your first startup, nobody will trust you with money until you can at least prove you can build something. If your friends and family give you money, then fine. But I’d still argue it’s best to build something with as little money as possible. Again, this doesn’t apply if you are making airplanes or a drug to cure cancer.
13. Don’t ask people to sign NDAs. Especially investors. Trust me. It makes you look amateur. Exception: If your last name is Zuckerberg. Or if your last name is Gates. Or if you are a Nobel-Prized Scientist.
18. Try to get into a startup accelerator. Y Combinator. Techstars. AngelPad. 500 Startups. Boost. There are tons more. If you are a new entrepreneur and you don’t have crazy successful parents, your network and expertise will be limited. Accelerators can accelerate you. Or I’m pretty sure they can…I’ve never been part of one, but am working hard to get CareerDean into one of these programs. (Edit: Although this article was published in August, I wrote it a few months back. Since writing this, CareerDean was accepted into BoostVC!! Wohoo!! The experience has been absolutely amazing. The network and advice you receive is priceless. I’ll explain more in a future blog post.)
20. Don’t spend too much time on business plans. In college, I took a business class that said that a business plan was the single most important aspect of a company. With all due respect, I disagree. Work on your product. Forget the business plan. At least early on. (But do have a plan)