What do you wish you knew before trying entrepreneurship?

Been flirting with/ trying to identify the potential market for a product idea for the better part of a year, and I'm going to go for it and start prototyping and developing my go to market strategy over the coming months, maybe even get a finished product out this year.

For all of you out there who have tried the entrepreneurship life, successful or not, what is the one lesson you wish you had learned earlier in your journey/ career? Any key pieces of advice for the wide-eyed youths?

WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (39)

Mar 23, 2019 - 10:51am

Why a product? People get this idea like, 'I'm gonna think up a knick knack or a doodad.' You don't even have an idea yet. Go run a laundromat until you figure something out.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/
Mar 23, 2019 - 12:48pm

OK what's the gap then? These fucking finance dudes get together and they talk about exploiting gaps and generating alpha and all this Fountainhead garbage as if they're hot shit 'cause the building they work in has a smart guy's name on the door and hardly ever come up with or attempt to execute an idea.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/
  • 1
  • 3
Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
Mar 24, 2019 - 4:29pm

What's one thing you've made?

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/
  • 1
  • 2
Funniest
Mar 24, 2019 - 6:36pm

dawg it ain't trolling. Just say, yo I haven't done shit and I wanna brainstorm. coming through like fucking james bond tony stark over here with the business ideas

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/
  • 4
  • 2
  • Associate 2 in CorpFin
Mar 25, 2019 - 9:33am

what ive found is that most people dont actually have something unique that theyve developed and its all about execution & passion to do it....highly doubtful that you have the unique ability to capture the whole market and keep it and that the only risk is someone "finding out / thinking of" your idea and doing it first....

Mar 24, 2019 - 11:50pm

You familiar with laundromats? I read up on them a while back. Would opening up another coin-p laundromat within the vicinity of two other laundromats over-saturate the market? This would net one coin-up laundromat per 5,000 people.

These locations are making a solid $5 wash and dry for small loads and $8 for wash and dry of big loads.

My issue would be to find someone to run the place and keep it tidy. I can roll another business under the roof of the laundromat to serve the double purpose of extra cashflows, keeping the facility staffed, and providing jobs to keep teens out of trouble. I could spice things up with a pressing service to press clothes on site.

Mar 25, 2019 - 9:59am

Am I familiar with laundromats? Yeah, I've seen a couple around town lol. The world largest laundromat is actually like 2 miles from my house. Fun shit, huh? They also have a lot of video game bars here for some reason. Anyway. I wonder how many fewer there'd be without the need to launder money. That Indian dude from Harold & Kumar has an Amazon show about global economy shit and he has a good episode on money laundering btw.

Yeah, I've thought about laundromats a bit actually. I love unsexy businesses. I think there might be opportunity in the laundromat industry because almost all of them are single-location mom & pop joints. So if you buy, like 10 of them in a region, create a brand, all that shit, put in good systems like they've never had before, start ordering their chemicals and threads and shit in bulk, hire good managers, could be a good situation.

People like to talk about starting the next big app and all that. I've no interest in that unless it's to tangibly benefit humanity in some way. To make money, you don't need to reinvent the wheel. Do you really wanna be Jeff Bezos? Wouldn't you rather be a dude who's super comfortable, has access to whatever he wants whenever he wants, owns some businesses, some forests, some farms, has free time, nobody knows his fucking name, like 3 people have his direct line, and you can just smoke weed and travel the world with your family and go fishing and shit? Come on. Who'd you rather be?

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/
Mar 24, 2019 - 11:55pm

I just made a thread last nice about how to avoid ending up like the twins that hired Zuckerburg.
I think this is a real tough issue

Mar 23, 2019 - 1:41pm

Focus on optimizing for learning opportunity and money, not just money.

I've made and lost my net worth a few times and adopting the above has made it painless when I lose but ensured the wins are 2x to 5x bigger every time they happen. :)

  • 1
Mar 24, 2019 - 4:56pm

Low 7 figures.

Mar 25, 2019 - 5:33am

This advice might be relevant since you're wanting to sell a product. I'm starting a fashion brand, with handmade, cut and sew garments with embroidery that I do at home just because it's been my hobby for years.

Anyway, so I've done a lot of research on competitors to see where they've gone wrong. The ones that don't even have a following, and yet buy hundreds of blanks from overseas to maximize mark-ups end up failing. They don't even have a niche yet, so they end up sitting on a bunch of clothes that they can't sell. You have to find out everything about your consumer and the demand for your products. A 200% mark-up sourced locally, but with low minimums, is better than a 400% mark-up sourced overseas with really large minimums where you end up sitting on product you can't sell.

Mar 25, 2019 - 7:27pm

I've met 3 guys who are all self made and worth 40mil +. Strangely they were all previously mentally ill as well. I think there something about being fucked up mentally that prepares you for being capable of entrepreneurship...I mean most regular people can't deal with the REAL stress and need to produce. It's nothing like a desk job whatsoever.

I used to think I had what it took. LOL I don't...at least not as a founder. You would be wise to realize this before you jump into the pool. Honestly the best advice you will receive is that it won't be like anything you have ever done before, It will be harder than anything you have done till this point most likely, and it will chance the concrete foundations of your personality and life forever, regardless whether your venture/idea.business succeeds or not.

Mar 29, 2019 - 1:18pm

The advice I have is boilerplate and some has been mentioned -

  1. Be ready to be alone. REALLY alone.
    Even for an introvert there have been times of absolutely excruciating loneliness. Long stretches. 3-6 months +. at a time. If you've never been depressed be ready to battle it throughout. You'll have to be self-motivated because nobody is going to care enough to call you and cheer you on. They have shit to do too.

  2. Don't do it unless you can't not do it.
    I don't know how it's been for everyone else, but from my experience "starting a biz" thing comes organically. If you woke up and thought "I want to try entrepreneurship" then you're usually going about it wrong. Some people can manifest success this way but I always tell my pals that do this to shut the fuck up and enjoy the easy 6 figs that they're making.

  3. If you're willing to** die** giving it a shot then you gotta go for it
    Extreme, I know. but refer to point #1. Loneliness, depression, mental health/health issues, risking time, effort, energy, money. Constantly failing and feeling like a failure. Then before you know it, you're making progress - but you don't care because you know you could always be doing better. Pressure from friends, family, relatives, colleagues. There will be days that you'll beg for the sweet release of death, the knockout punch. You have to be a fucking fighter. Ambitious, persistent, resilient and semi-fucking-nutso.

Learn from other people as fast as you can. Surround yourself with other people that are in the trenches. Find a healthy vice. Mentors. Don't do bad deals. ALWAYS put your customers first.

Drops mic. Fires up cowboy killer. 10 second single drag whole thing while contemplatively staring at ground. crushes burning butt in palm of hand. quick swig from the flask

"Good luck."

"Out the garage is how you end up in charge It's how you end up in penthouses, end up in cars, it's how you Start off a curb servin', end up a boss"
  • 2
Apr 2, 2019 - 1:23pm

Yep. Mental portion is the hardest once you get rolling.

  • 1
Most Helpful
Apr 2, 2019 - 11:16pm

The importance of "product-market fit" assuming you are doing a new and innovative type business (e.g. start-up).

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs don't really fully grasp its importance. It's understandable. They've been thinking about their idea day-in and day-out, examining every angle, and doing this for years. It's to the point where they are now "wed" to their idea.

However, product-market fit is tough. An illustration: I live abroad after growing up in the US. I love Mexican food, but where I am has no such restaurants. Wouldn't it be a great business idea to start one? Well, the killer question is "Do the people here REALLY want it?" Meaning: will they start changing their habits and eat Mexican for meals and not the other options available? If they do, will they buy it at a price point where it's still profitable? Will people like it enough to keep coming back after trying it the first time? People may like it, but do they like it enough to travel some distance to get it (I'm assuming you're unlikely to generate meaningful sales through passerbys and local foot traffic)?

It's these types of considerations that'll you'll be facing. Many entrepreneurs often assume too easily they'll get product market fit and so they just focus on marketing, thinking as long as they have some sort of enticing advertising that people will all of sudden just start flocking.

Truth is, you need to test your product-market fit extensively. I recommend reading books like The Lean Start-Up and The Four Steps to the Epiphany. You'll see how true entrepreneurship is really scientific, testing and refining your hypothesis over and over again in a structured manner.

Apr 2, 2019 - 11:56pm

It's going to take a lot longer than you think it will. There's nothing romantic about starting a business because the first few years are going to be the most stressful years of your life. It's only after you've made it out alive (if you do) that you can talk about the good ol' days. Good luck

Apr 5, 2019 - 12:16pm
Peg Leg:

It's going to take a lot longer than you think it will. There's nothing romantic about starting a business because the first few years are going to be the most stressful years of your life. It's only after you've made it out alive (if you do) that you can talk about the good ol' days. Good luck

This 100%. Have to be ready for the long game.

"Out the garage is how you end up in charge It's how you end up in penthouses, end up in cars, it's how you Start off a curb servin', end up a boss"
Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

August 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (10) $853
  • Vice President (36) $363
  • Associates (210) $232
  • 2nd Year Analyst (121) $152
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (28) $146
  • Intern/Summer Associate (102) $144
  • 1st Year Analyst (450) $132
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (358) $82