Don’t Rush Into Startup Land

Young people at a startup event

Startups are cool these days.

There is no harm in doing what is cool.

Problem is when trying to be cool interferes with your life and its potential.

A lot has been said about when to do a startup.

College life is great to do a startup because of no liabilities, high energy and no stress about making it right the first time. If you have not figured out your startup idea in the first half of college life then do this.

  • Get good at reaching out to people.
  • Make a list of all those who you want to work with or emulate. Look up their LinkedIn profile to learn about them.
  • Put 100 people on this list. Divide the list into three parts A, B, and C. Put about 50 easy to meet people on your C list. Put 30 who you think will take some effort to connect on the B list. On A list put 20 people who you think can be your dream mentors.
  • Learn more about each one of them. Send them a personalized message on LinkedIn with an appreciation for their work. Then request permission to ask a simple question once in a while. You should get 15-20% ‘yes’ response.
  • If some of those who said ‘yes’ is local, schedule catch up to go meet them.
  • Keep in touch with them. 1-2 month after first meeting ask for advice about how to get to work with someone like the person you are reaching out to. Once the person shares the advice, offer to work free for this person. Again tell them how much you like them and how working with them even for free can change your life.
  • Rinse and repeat until you get the gig. Take any work. Your intent should be to excel at whatever work they assign to you.
  • Next up offer to work as their paid assistant to work alongside and observe how they do things.
  • Continue learning like this for one year. Package all that you learn in one year to get another gig. You can even ask this person you worked with for referral.

Not everything will be linear but in one year you’ll learn a lot about dealing with people and from the experience of working alongside your role model.

This way you’ll get in a better position to start a startup or get an interesting job if you want it.

It is great if you find an interesting problem to work on while you are in college. Then build your startup to solve this problem for the customers. The second best option is to work with the kind of people you want to become.

Want to be a famous author work with an actual author. Want to run a successful startup, work with someone who has done it – if you can’t be that person still. This approach will work in most of the fields.

I am curious to hear if you were unsure at any point in life so far – about your passions and your work?