Top 10 things I wish I knew before starting up!

A mix of life, software and business gyaan.

I am the elder of two sisters. When I was little, which I didn’t really believe at the time, I used to protect my sister by telling her everything I knew about say being a 7 year old before she was a 7 year old. Or going to college before she went to college. Because I was two years ahead of her, and she would get the inside scoop of every place through me. I was her spy. Good for her. Cos’ she did enjoy knowing somethings beforehand.

But all this while, I wished I had an elder sister or brother who would tell me beforehand, the experiences of being at a certain age, learning some subjects or going to some places. It obviously never happened. But I have continued to step in the shoes of the elder sister, warning or just letting in on secrets that you usually only find out by your own experience. Don’t we all wish at sometime, if somebody could tell us, some things, and we didn't have to go through the wait or pain of something that could have been avoided.

So I made this list, for my internet family of entrepreneurs, at least for those who are still just contemplating ways to implement their ideas. Things I wish I had known early on, and would have saved me approx. a year if not more:

  1. Wordpress is a framework and not just a blogging platform! (Ya, I was that noob!) Millions of websites are built on the wordpress platform. They are professional and slick. And time to set up that website, under 2 hours. Ex: hbr.org and http://fourhourchef.com/
  2. Amazon provides free 1 year hosting at AWS for it’s tiny instance (which is enough for a website that has just launched). And then it shifts to pay as you go pricing plans effortlessly.
  3. You don’t have to know code. But knowing code, is going to make so many things simpler. I am now learning code! 10 years after I should have already known coding :D
  4. Blogging is important. I know, I also believe that there’s too much content out there. But this, has become the necessary evil of running a company.
  5. It’s time consuming. You would think, reading cool life hacks will give you 1 or even 2 extra hours in a day, and that extra time you will spend on your start-up. Doesn’t happen. It’s just a hobby, until you are in it with both feet.
  6. Publishing drafts is important. Otherwise you can stay with the beta version of your product and keep thinking it isn’t good enough, while someone else launches a rather ok version of a very similar product. In no time, they are at their third version, which is uber cool, and you are still in your labs.
  7. Dexter is addictive! Yes, you’ll get bored once in a while and you’ll ask your friend for a recommendation of TV series / Movie. Movies are ok. Because it’s 1 and 1/2 hours. But Dexter, trust me you won’t stop until you have finished Season 8! 8 seasons on company time! Bad, very bad.
  8. Internet is crazy. There are blogs, viral videos and favorite channels on youtube to follow. You can spend the whole day AND night on the internet. But discipline is important. Creating constraints and schedules is important. And only then real work happens.
  9. Real work happens offline. Yes. Teams are built offline. Meetings and alliances and JVs happen offline. Even link-love (the problogging jargon) happens offline. SO you have to set time for offline activities.
  10. Accounting. I can’t insist on this enough. Keeping track of expenses and any little money that comes in, is extremely important. It’s important to not look at start-up money as pocket money, and get professional about it from the start. If I’m the first one giving you this advice, you will thank me if you follow this!
  11. It gets better. First few months are full of excitement. What follows is a heartbreaking reality check, about money and time needed to make a start-up a real company. Sometimes, it is so annoying, that you just want to quit your idea and start looking for a job. But hang on, and it gets better. Support comes from the most unexpected corners. You make new friends. New mentors extend their experience to guide you. And you discover things you never knew existed, circles and networks you had no business being a part of, and life goes on.

Oh wait. I said 10.


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