You don’t need permission to start.

Hi there -

Here is this week’s “1 principle, 2 strategies, and 3 actionable tactics” for running lean…

1 Universal Principle

“You don’t need permission to start.”
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The #2 reason founders fail is inertia, i.e., they never get started.

They spend too much time analyzing, planning, or waiting for

  • the perfect idea,
  • finishing a product,
  • writing a business plan,
  • finding investors or
  • moving to Silicon Valley (Austin ?).

The world has changed.

Going back just a decade, starting up was expensive. Getting equipment to build a product or office space to meet with your team required capital investment.

Today, all these things are (near) free. You can start from anywhere.

If you have an idea or two gathering dust in the recesses of your mind, today’s issue is for you.

You don’t need permission to start.

2 Underlying Strategies at Play

I. You only learn by doing.

Entrepreneurship is like a martial art or learning to play golf. You can’t learn it from a book, YouTube, or an MBA.

You have to do it.
You have to play the game.
You have to start.

Start with an idea.

II. Perfect idea — not required.

You don’t need a perfect idea to start.

Most ideas begin as a Plan A.
But what works is usually a Plan C, D, or Z.

The good news is that going from a Plan A to a plan that works can be navigated systematically.

3 Actionable Tactics

I. Start with the right mindsets

As the cost of building products has fallen, the challenge today isn’t asking, “Can we build it?” but rather, “Should we build it?”.

With the right mindsets, it is possible to

  • start a side hustle with little to no capital,
  • get to paying customers before building a product, and
  • de-risk demand for an idea before going all in.

II. Pick your game

In the sport of entrepreneurship, there are only four types of games to play.

Pick one:
Level 1: $100k Annual Recurring Revenue
Level 2: $1m Annual Recurring Revenue
Level 3: $10m Annual Recurring Revenue
Level 4: $100m Annual Recurring Revenue

There is no right or wrong game.

But you must pick one game to play well because each game requires different rules, tactics, and strategies to win.

Ensure that your founding team also signed up to play the same game.

This simple step will drive better clarity and focus and avoid mis-expectations and painful regrets later.

III. Then hit play

Years ago, I read Steven Pressfield's book: The War of Art that changed how I work as a founder.

This book was about overcoming resistance.

“Resistance is what keeps us from sitting down and doing our best work.”

Creating a startup, like art, is full of resistance.

In the book, he alludes to a mindset of "Turning Pro" as the antidote, which he develops further in a sequel of the same title.

“Resistance hates it when we turn pro.”

We all get started on our projects by overcoming some initial resistance. We are amateurs driven by inspiration. But inspiration alone is a roller coaster, and will lose out to resistance.

The way you stay in the long game is by turning pro.

Creativity and discipline are not at odds. You need the latter to consistently drive the former.

The best way to become a good writer: Just Write.
The best way to become a good entrepreneur: Just Start.

I’m creating a new course called BOOTSTART, which is a play on “bootstrapping” and “starting up” and it tackles the #1 reason why products fail: Building something nobody wants.

If you’d like to be notified when it launches, ​CLICK HERE​.

That's all for today. See you next week.




P.S. Not taking a risk is the biggest risk of all.


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