Do this instead...


  1. Write a business plan Write down your vision, along with one problem problem and one customer segment to solve it for. Write it in the cloud so you can see your progress over time.
  2. Worry about competition Your biggest competitor in the beginning is yourself. Imagine how different the world would be if Zuck spent time on Google looking for other social networks or worrying that "Myspace is doing the same thing"... Eventually you WILL need to be aware of the competition and what makes you unique... but don't worry about it yet. 
  3. Worry if it's technically possible...   It is. Or it will be. It's worse to build a product no one wants than to have people who want your solution before you figure out how to deliver it in full. Especially since, if you have those people- it will be easier to attract the people who will be able to help you execute it. 
  4. Raise one cent in capital Not only does money not help in the early stages, it hurts. It hides problems. Map out what you think you need the money for - then challenge yourself to accomplish the same thing with your own survival skills. Think you need money for PR? You don't. But see instead if you can get 1000 views or 10 conversions manually. Think you need a tech person? Build an MVP on Facebook, or ning, or use mailchimp to learn something... 
  5. Try and get featured on TC Just don't. If someone is dying to write about you- let em. Run the traffic through an experiment to get an answer faster. But don't spend valuable time trying to add more people to the top of the funnel... focus on getting people THROUGH IT. 
  6. Chase a white whale partnership Entrepreneurs have a tendency to try and solve their own problems before customer problems. The dream partner will come after you prove your worth. 
  7. Make revenue projections Instead, focus on selling one thing to one person and actually collecting revenue 
  8. Protect yourself from exploitation You will be lucky if someone notices you enough to even TRY to exploit your new service. Embrace it and learn from it. Paypal lost $5,000,000 while other companies figured out ways to make sure no one stole a cent from them. Embrace your vulnerability then learn from it. 
  9. Make a top down market size measurement   It has never been accurate. Not once. Not ever. 
  10. Make a bottom up market size measurement   It has never been accurate. Not once. Not ever. Try to sell one thing to your first customer. See how much time it took. Do it again faster. Repeat. Automate tasks that you can no longer physically accomplish manually. 
  11. Obsess over your elevator pitch  Impress users and customers. Not investors. That will impress investors. 
  12. Brainstorm a name   Use a python script instead. Or something similar. You get the point. 
  13. Brainstorm on anything  For every hour you spend brainstorming, spend ten hours testing and talking to customers and delivering a product manually. 
  14. Start optimizing text  Explore. You are probably on the wrong island. Maybe even the wrong continent. Make sure you are in the right place before you start stressing over text that no one is reading or changing the color of buttons that no one is clicking. 
  15. Start optimizing anything   See above. 
  16. Design a logo  Go to fiverr if you have to. It's not important yet. It will not move the needle. I have run experiments on unbounce without changing the default "great company logo". If your value proposition is strong enough, and the audience is right - the early adopters will convert. 
  17. Attend a conference Waste of money. Go to a local meetup. Go to a coffee shop and talk to customers. 
  18. Look for a co-founder. Prove SOMETHING before you do anything else. Other people are not likely to be sold on your dream. 
  19. Look for anyone to join the team. Just start DOING. It is tempting to go find the yin to your yang. Eventtually you will need this person. At first, challenge yourself to do and learn the things you were going to rely on your yang to do. Can't write code - find a creative way to go without it, or learn something basic. Not a business person? Read a book. Just do it. 
  20. Form an LLC Make sure you have a general idea of who owns what - put it in an email. Send it to yourself and the team. 
  21. Try and protect your IP  No one cares about you. And even if they care enough to steal it- you might end up with $67 million. 
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