A few months into investment banking in New York, I stumbled on an idea and decided to quit my job to pursue it immediately. I wasn’t able to afford my rent anymore, so I moved in with my co-founders into a tiny apartment and we started our adventure.
It’s only been a year, but I’ve learned so much. That impulsive decision I made ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. For those of you that are thinking about doing a startup, I wanted to share my responses to the most popular questions I get asked from aspiring entrepreneurs:
1. What are the risks of starting my own company?
There are many. Failure. Losing a lot of other people’s money. Relationships. But there are equally many risks in not working on your own passion. The biggest risk (and my biggest fear) is that ten years from now, I look back and regret about what I did not do.
I’ve never heard anyone complain that they worked on a startup that failed. But I’ve heard many complain that they had the same idea as Uber and they didn’t work on it before Uber did.
2. When is the best time to start a company?
NOW is probably going to be the least risky time compared to later stages in your life.
When I left my previous job to start Locket last year (at age 23), a part of me thought it was a huge risk given how stable and lucrative that job was. However, now that I think about it, I was young and I didn’t have much to lose, except a job that I didn’t like.
I have seen many who waited for the ‘best time’ to start, but I don’t think there is such a thing as the ‘best time’ to start a company. There will always be a reason why it is not.
3. What books should I read to better prepare me for entrepreneurship?
Unless you are at a point in life where you can’t start a company, put down those books and start making your idea a reality. It’s a much better use of your time.
You will make lots of mistakes early on, but you’ll learn much more than you would from any book out there. There’s really no way to prepare yourself fully. Execute your ideas. Make mistakes. Learn. Repeat.
4. What’s better – being a female CEO or a male CEO?
Without having been both, who knows? But you can certainly make it better to be who you are today if you are committed to it. It’s all about how you frame your perspective.
After all, you can’t choose your gender, but you can choose your attitude (from my recent Blog post on Medium).
5. I have a tough problem. What should I do?
Ask yourself – what would you do if you were NOT afraid? And, do THAT.
Fear can sometimes cloud your judgement and prevent you from taking any action at all. Sure, there are risks to everything, but it’s guaranteed that you won’t learn anything if you don’t make a choice and take that leap.