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Startup Playbook: success through failure

How to learn about building startups? The unpopular opinion.

Don't learn business from those who never achieved any results themselves

It's time to face the harsh truth - there are too many "experts" out there who have never actually achieved anything in their field. They teach business concepts, strategies, and tactics without ever having experienced success themselves. And yet, many still flock to their seminars, webinars, and courses in hopes of gaining valuable insights. But we are here to tell you - don't waste your time.

In the world of business, results are everything. Whether you're an entrepreneur, a business owner, or a corporate executive, the bottom line is what matters. If you're taking advice from someone who has never achieved any significant results in their own business endeavors, you're setting yourself up for failure. Learning from those who have been successful in their field is the only way to truly understand what it takes to succeed.

Think about it - would you take financial advice from someone who's never made any money? Would you take fitness advice from someone who's out of shape? Of course not. So why should you take business advice from someone who's never run a successful business? It just doesn't make sense.

The problem with learning from people who haven't achieved any results is that they're often just regurgitating information they've learned from others. They may have read books, attended seminars, and even earned degrees, but without real-world experience, their knowledge is limited. They may know the theory, but they don't know how to apply it in practice.

The truth is, those who have achieved success in business have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share. They've been through the ups and downs, the failures and successes. They know what works and what doesn't. They can offer insights that you won't find in a textbook or a classroom.

So, if you're serious about succeeding in business, don't waste your time learning from those who haven't achieved any results. Seek out those who have been there, done that, and can offer you valuable insights based on their own experiences. Look for mentors, coaches, and experts who have a proven track record of success. Don't settle for anything less.

People who are good at building startups will never go back to being hired

It's time to call out the so-called "business experts" who claim to have had multiple successful businesses, yet are currently employed as hired nerds giving business valuation advice. If someone truly knows how to run a successful business, they would never return to employment. It's simple economics - why work for someone else when you could be making more money running your own business?

The sad truth is that there are plenty of individuals out there who claim to have had successful businesses, yet are now working as hired consultants. They give business valuation advice, offer strategies, and claim to know what it takes to succeed in the business world. But the reality is that if they truly knew what it took to succeed, they wouldn't be working for someone else.

Running a successful business is not easy. It takes a tremendous amount of hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Those who have achieved success know this, and they also know that the rewards are worth it. If you've built a successful business, you have the potential to earn far more money than you could ever make as a hired consultant.

So, when you encounter a so-called "business expert" who claims to have had multiple successful businesses but is now working as a hired nerd, it's time to question their credentials. If they were truly successful, why would they be working for someone else? The truth is that they may have had some small successes, but they've never been able to build a truly sustainable business. They may have dabbled in entrepreneurship, but they've never truly committed to it.

The problem with these hired nerds is that they're often giving advice based on theory, not practical experience. They may have read books, attended seminars, and even earned degrees, but without real-world experience, their advice is limited. They may be able to provide some insights, but they can't offer the same level of expertise as someone who has truly been there and done that.

Being good at business means the business is growing. Growth, especially rapid growth, is the only sign that a person knows how to do business. Everything else is bullshit and self-deception. Until your business starts growing, you don't know how to do business and any experience you have is worth NOTHING.

The one who started many businesses, but then quit and returned to employment - has neither the strength, nor the mind, nor the perseverance to learn from mistakes, does not know how to learn. Such a person does not have a single prerequisite to give any advice on business. Because the question immediately arises - if you are so smart, then why are you working for someone else, and not for yourself? Why are you part of someone else's company, and not built your own?

Hired mentors in incubators and accelerators are mostly irrelevant

Let's face it: traditional business incubators and accelerators are overrated. Why waste your time learning from hired mentors who lack the practical experience needed to take your business to the next level? Instead, we should be seeking out those who have successfully gone 10 steps further in our industry and can prove it.

The truth is that mentors who have not succeeded in our specific industry simply cannot offer the same level of expertise as someone who has. If your business is selling hardware, what can a mentor who started a software business and then failed teach you? They don't understand the unique challenges and nuances of the hardware industry. Sure, they may have some general business knowledge, but when it comes to hardware, they simply don't know what they're talking about.

We speak from experience: we have been to several incubators that claimed to be all about blockchain. In the end NOT A SINGLE person there understood anything about blockchain and we were told that blockchain is just a tech that does not require a specific approach. The question remains: why was the word "blockchain" a part of their business proposition?

The same can be said for managers and top executives of large companies. While they may have climbed the corporate ladder and earned a nice salary, they simply cannot teach you how to make money and build a successful business. Their expertise lies in managing employees and ensuring the smooth operation of a larger enterprise, not in taking a small business to new heights.

This is why we need to seek out mentors who have not only succeeded in our industry, but who have gone above and beyond. These are the individuals who can offer valuable insights and practical advice that can help take your business to the next level. They know what it takes to succeed because they've been there, done that, and have the results to prove it.

Building a startup is freaking hard and you will fail a lot

Starting and developing a business from scratch is one of the most difficult tasks anyone can undertake. It's a challenging journey that requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and a clear understanding of the market and product. Unfortunately, the odds are against you as almost 100% of first attempts to start a business fail. However, there is a silver lining to this seemingly bleak statistic - the fourth or fifth attempt is almost always successful.

Why is this the case? Because the entrepreneur has gained valuable experience, worked on their mistakes, persevered through the failures, and learned to learn effectively. They've learned to adapt to market conditions, identify customer needs, and develop products that people actually want. They've learned to manage their resources effectively, to hire the right people, and to create a culture that fosters innovation and growth.

The reality is that starting and developing a successful business is not something that can be achieved overnight. It requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and resilience. You will make mistakes, you will fail, but you will also learn from your experiences and come back stronger. That is if you also managed to keep your health in check.

However, launching a successful business and turning it into even a medium, especially a large company are completely different things, so 95% of successful businesses do not go beyond the life style business. Which is not that bad in itself but the conclusion is simple yet unpleasing to many: these people have not been able to build a business as a system.

Books are primarily meant to make the author rich

The business world is complex and constantly changing, making it difficult to keep up with the latest trends and strategies. As a result, many entrepreneurs turn to books and seminars to help them navigate the complexities of starting and running a successful business. But can these resources really teach you everything you need to know about business?

The truth is, not a single book or seminar can teach you how to run a successful business. While you may find useful tips and strategies in these resources, the primary goal of the author is to make money, not to teach you how to build a successful business. In fact, some of the information in these resources may be useless or even harmful to your business.

Instead of relying solely on books and seminars, the best way to learn about business is to gain practical experience. You need to get out there and start your own business, make mistakes, learn from your failures, and gradually build your knowledge and skills. It's a long and difficult journey, but it's the only way to truly master the art of business.

Furthermore, those who have achieved real success in business rarely have the time or inclination to teach others. They are too busy running their own businesses, and often view teaching as a distraction from their core mission.

As a result, the business education market is dominated by those who create scalable products, such as books, services, and packaged products. These individuals may have some knowledge and experience in business, but they are primarily motivated by making money, not by teaching others how to build successful businesses.

In conclusion, while books and seminars may have some value in teaching you about business, they cannot replace the practical experience and knowledge gained from running your own business. It's important to approach these resources with a critical eye, and to focus on implementing the strategies that are most relevant to your business. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that these resources are a substitute for hard work, dedication, and a willingness to learn from your mistakes.

Startup game for women: it's like running a startup in real life minus all the risks

The world of startups can seem impossible to navigate, particularly for those who are new to it. It can be challenging to know where to start or how to develop the skills necessary to succeed. While books, courses, and seminars can provide useful information, they cannot replace the real-life experience of actually running a business. Perhaps for this reason, there are practically no places where you can study business, but there are a lot of local courses in various separate areas - marketing, automation, etc. Everyone loves to sell spare parts, but there are few places where you can learn how to assemble a car from spare parts so that at least it drives.

For women, in particular, entering the world of business can seem especially scary because all the examples and role models around us are men. There are numerous physical and psychological barriers to entry, including a lack of access to resources, financing, and support networks. Additionally, women may be hesitant to take on the risks associated with starting a business, particularly if they lack the necessary technical skills or experience.

If you want to build your startup together with other female founders while learning and having fun, apply for the official launch of Fe/male Switch startup game! It's coming soon!

Learning by watching : streaming of entrepreneurial activities

So we already discussed that if you want to learn real business, you have to learn from those who actually build, not coaches. You shouldn’t learn business from coaches, because even if they are successful, they don’t know how to do anything but their own thing. Coaches, of course, can be useful, but if a person is not in a business that you are interested in, then in reality they have very little understanding of what they are talking about.

If you have a specific business, learn from someone who is in that exact business. The problem is that these people barely ever have free time and they can't teach to save their lives. So what to do?

You have to watch and not be afraid to ask. This is actually a popular format in day trading. An experienced trader sometimes picks up a group of no more than 5 students and they just watch what he/she is doing. You can ask questions and get answers and this experience costs a lot of money.

So, in order to grasp something important, one must know how to draw your own conclusions. Such traders can be mentors, but they make bad teachers or coaches. This method works pretty well in certain industries where skills are important or occasionally if you need to level up.

Best ways to learn

You can't learn properly without having:

- a teacher to help you set goals. A domain expert or a startup mentor/coach with domain experience can help you answer the why.

- a slightly more experienced peer, someone who is a year or two ahead of you. These people made all the mistakes that you are about to make. And they are happy to show you how to deal with the bottlenecks. So, ideally, if there is someone who is 10 steps ahead in what you are doing - they will show you where to go, help to avoid mistakes (to some extent).

- people in the same position as you are. These people are great for moral support, for benchmarking, for making sure that you’re not alone.

- someone to teach. You cannot be a great mentee without mentoring someone yourself. Make sure to teach someone about the business that you are in as you will get a lot of questions that will help you grow. Spend no more than 30% of your time on teaching so that you still have enough time to actually do your business. Spend your time only on someone who is able to grow, which means reliable, hungry, pushy, creative, pro-active.
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