Building Skills for Startup Part II
I've just graduated from an undergraduate business school, which means I graduated without a HARD skill per se. I now have 6 months of free time before I start work and am trying to decide on how to spend them. I'll be working in consulting for two years, but then my goal is to join early-stage startups and eventually start my own down the line.
With that in mind, I'd like to work on something that will help me down the line. I've considered learning photoshop/design but figured this is something that can be outsourced for cheap and could be not the best use of my time as there are so many photoshop-skilled people out there. I am interested in learning more about coding and have previously taken intro courses, but I am unsure about whether 6 months would give me sufficient proficiency to even be useful? I've also considered working remotely unpaid for an interesting start-up, but felt like I could find more valuable things to spend the summer on given remote/corona work may not be the best learning environment. Lastly, I've considered taking the CFA to get a deeper understanding of the financial end of the stick. I think I'm trying to work on building hard skills but I'm not sure where to go.
Those are the ideas I've had for now and was wondering if anyone had any suggestions or better ideas on what I could do for the next 6 months. Thank you!
Sales is the only skill you can get decent at in 6 months. Go sell cars if you can get a job doing it now. If not and depending on where you live start selling lawn care. .
Learn how to be told no and it bounce off you.
Learn how to read people.
Learn how to negotiate.
Also you have lots of time for reading. Tons of good books to chose from that would help if implemented. Here’s what I would choose:
The first book is just one of the best self improvement methods you can use, the next couple are for sales, then after that is general startup books. Ended up in about the order I would suggest you read in anyways
Atomic habits by James Clear
Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Pitch Anything by Oran Klaff (the first 1/3 of the book isn’t even worth skimming while he talks about the “science” of his system. He isn’t right about why it works, but he is still right about how to do it).
Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink
The Lean Startup Eric Ries
The Art of War by Sun Tzu (yea that one, read it, read it again, then read it one more time. It doesn’t get more boiled down and applicable in business.)
The four hour workweek by Tim Ferris (there is controversy about this one. Don’t take the idea of a 4 hour week literal but instead to be able to do more in the same time)
Don't think about your passion or your offerings. Questions like "If you have 6 months of free time go build a product. Sell it. Market it. Get feedback. Rinse and repeat." and "What’s your passion? What does make you feel alive when you do it?" are probably from people who is not even more qualified than you.
The world is made of fantasies and post-fantasy folks. Veterans know that shinny things are lures and that pleasing words are attempts to turn you into a paying customer. I was a professor for 20 years turned entrepreneur with six startups and really really scar-ed. I can tell you two facts. One is 90% of business is marketing. Marketing is a nice way to say "gimmicks" but that is how a lot of people on earth feed their family. Two is that making code making product making something new is very very far away from becoming a business (not everyone can be Jordan or musk). The Lean Startup book author is trying to sell you a book by appearing to sincerely wanting you to succeed. Well, he really wants to sell you a book. His teaching will result in ennuumrable regrets down the road. The "lean startup' typically turn into "lean life" even if you succeed in crowdsourcing.
I remember Mark Cuban has an old interview answering "what should I do if I lose everything" and "what is I start a side hustle today". Both are illuminating.
Cuban said he would just do two jobs. Bar tending at night and selling stuff in the day. In the recent interview, he would just be doing AI Alexa coding and peddling the benefits to small businesses. Well we may not all like Cuban but he is a smart cookie when it comes to nonsense smell sensor.
As for the book suggestions u/thatdude391 gave. Reading is great, but never a substitute of learning through direct experience. The writer's number one job is not to alienating you and make you pay. So it say things that you like to hear. Also, a lot of books do not induce understanding and internalization. The only way to really learn is direct experience. You want to have some skills so you can participate in direct experience such as a good job - then hear what Cuban had to say about what he would do.
Question asked by
May 8, 2020, 10:56:32 AM
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Startup Lingos To The Point
How to turn an interest into a money maker. How to attract people, how to stimulate people to pay, how to make profit, how to make relations, how to keep relations.
How much do I have to give my audience so they can pay me something in return? What do they value? what problem do they search for answers on your own? I want to solve that problem.
Brand means name recognition. A lot of people knows what your company does and what you stand for. Brand is result of long campaign of consistent value provision and media cultivation. Brand helps a company reduce marketing cost.
Whether there are buyer willing to pay or not. For that to happen you must provide extreme value. The entire startup process would be based on guess before the validation. Validation happens in a market, not on the street.
Value is what you give customers beyond the price you charge. Value is effective solution to a problem. The price your customer pays reflects whether the problem is big for them and whether your solution is uniquely effective. Value stems from quality and detailed work.
Marketing means bring your product to the market and bring your message to your customer. Marketing is not salesmanship. Marketing is to penetrate the world of commerce through many barriers and existing networks.
Minimally viable business, or MVC, minimally viable company. A company that scrapes by, full of guess and hope and no traction and sales. When you give your customers things for free they all take it. But they never pay and you can never rent a table at the market.
Minimal viable product. A full artifact of a real product. Something that works ALL THE TIME. You can demonstrate the real effect on real people - not to sell hope. The MVP may not have certain non-essential bells and whistles, but it needs to have appeal value.
Customer is king
A business lives at the mercy of its customers. You provide your customers 10 dollars worth of value and they pay you 1 dollar, not knowing that your company only costs 99 cents to provide the item. The value is not the item - the value is what is attached to the item.
Company culture is based on a company making money. Once your workers are paid, they need to have a mission and aspiration so they are not bored everyday and make trouble in the work place.
A company valuation is cash investment divided by the percentage. As long as your story is good, the valuation will keep coming, and the investors will keeping falling into the line.
Return on investment
Investors are either behind family fortune (never work with them) or for rich clients as investment vehicle. Both need returns 2-3 times better than stock market darlings.
Having found what people want, not just what people may need. Your offering and their acceptance is sure, no longer a guess. You can provide it for profit, and you can indeed making living on it. Traction is sometimes called validation. You are no longer a theater. You have touched nature, and found cash vein.