Early stage · Entrepreneurial resources

What single piece of advice would you give your younger self?

Lisa Frame Creative Producer, Development, Digital Marketing

February 6th, 2015

What advice would you give yourself during the earliest days of your business? Whether you learned it 3 weeks ago or 30 years ago I'd love to hear!

Jessica Alter Entrepreneur & Advisor

February 6th, 2015

Tons of advice I'd give myself and still do. I think the two biggest are

1. Comparison is the death of happiness - focus on what you want/love/need to do
2. Focus - you can not do all things, say no (a lot) in your business so that you're focused on what's important. Every single thing you do means you are not doing something else.

FounderDating did a blog on this topic called "dear 16 year old me" - where entrepreneurs answer this exact question.

Peter Harvey CEO Intelli-Global

February 7th, 2015

My 8 Mantra's: (these may sound blunt/unclear, but I can clarify) 
  1. Attitude and Outlook are everything
  2. In the same day you can be holding your head in your hands and be jumping up and down
  3. Once an instance, twice a concern, three times a pattern
  4. Always remember: 85% of managers can spend money, 10% can save money, only 5% can make money
  5. Start ups are like getting on the transporter in Star Trek:   If you haven't thought it through to the detailed level, you'll be a blob on the other end
  6. Tell low performing employees:  You have your job and I have mine.  If I have to do yours, I don't need you
  7. Always hire people who are 2 levels in talent than the position requires.  They'll lift your company
  8. You have to know when to shoot sick puppies:  Don't rely on hope.  know when to stop putting effort and $$$ into things that are not working

Lalit Sarna Business & Technology Leader

February 6th, 2015

You are the best CEO your company will have. Learn to delegate and free yourself from busy work.

This will not be a walk in the park, it will be hard to watch people make mistakes and resist the urge to jump in.  It would be hard to have faith in convictions of others. It would be hard not to judge.

These are exactly the reasons why you need to start iterating as soon as possible.  To strive towards a build a culture which enables you and your team to hold confidence in each other. To hold each other accountable. 

Don't worry about getting it right, just start chipping at it. Remember every successful startup goes through this.  Successful companies may have perfect stories now, nicely re-packaged and re-written to fit the vision of the future.

But I am positive that every single one of them went through messy trial and error phase. The smart ones learned and evolved.

"To serve simultaneously as an amplifier of talent and a beacon of clarity - that is the hallmark of a true leader." - Bob Baxley


Ben Sweat Director, Product at Idealab

February 6th, 2015

Do what you love...that still is financially feasible. :) Sent from my iPhone

Caleb Garling Writer

February 6th, 2015

Get dirty. It's really easy to be academic and sit and think and pretend like you need to have another meeting about X or Y. Obviously thinking/planning isn't unimportant but jump in and get moving and ask every question possible. Best advice I ever heard was from a busker in the subway when asked how he got so good at guitar: "Aint nuthin to it but to do it!"


February 9th, 2015

I would have told myself back in high school or college to learn to program early on and build amazing platforms back in the 90's and early 2000's.

Mike Borozdin Sr. Director at DocuSign, ex-Microsoft

February 10th, 2015

I really can't complain about my career or life I had so far.  Here is the key advice I would give:

1) be very selective about who you spend time with - your friends will shape your future
2) study science, it's hard but will provide a great foundation for your future
3) experiment - be entrepreneurial or intrapreneurial (innovate within a company)
4) don't take your health for granted
5) make sure you don't get into any situations you can't get out of

Lisa Frame Creative Producer, Development, Digital Marketing

February 6th, 2015

"Every single thing you do means you are not doing something else."
 Jessica, this is exactly the type of intel I love! So honest and simple yet really makes you rethink where you put your energy! Will check out trh blog post! 

Nasha Fitter Founder and CEO at Schoolie

February 6th, 2015

Great question! I would say - Work hard but stop obsessing over the end result. if you are not enjoying the journey you are missing the point.

Dimitry Rotstein Founder at Miranor

February 6th, 2015

I would tell myself to drop that insanely difficult project on which I wasted 4 years, and start something much more interesting and doable. But I know that I wouldn't have listened to myself anyway.