SJ32 – How to Break Into the World of Startups

Time to take it back to the beginning! In the latest episode of Startup Jab, we answer some questions on how to get started in the world of start-ups, from soup to nuts, and what you need to know about this quickly-evolving industry. Start your engines.

Links and Highlights:

“I’ve won business plan competitions. What kind of jobs can I get?” (02:03)

  • “If you win business plan competitions and this stuff is embedded in your DNA, should you just dive right in?”
  • “If what you really enjoy is that early-stage stuff of doing customer validation and the early interviews and experiments, you may not be that excited about the company once you get to product-market fit.”
  • “Yeah, but Teague. THE MONEY.”
  • “It’s the myth of overnight success: Have idea. Build company. Sell to Facebook for $100M.”
  • “There are jobs where being able to move something forward when no one else believes in it is a valuable skill, and there are jobs where not being able to get other people to believe in it in the beginning is just doing to doom you to failure from the start.” Know yourself well enough to figure out which job is for you.

“Can parents be angel investors?” (11:25)

  • “Technically, sure… your friends, your other family, your professors, if they have the money. It’s not so much ‘can they be,’ but SHOULD they be?”
  • “Typically we talk about that as a friends and family round, as opposed to an angel round. With startup money being easier to come by in the last fives years, people have been raising larger rounds up front, but as we start to see a bit of price correction and startup funding becomes a little more scarce, we might see people going back to doing a friends and family round first, to prove the idea before you put it in front of an angel investor.”
  • “It can be really stressful if your business isn’t going well and you go home for Thanksgiving, and your uncle says, “SO. How are sales?”
  • “There’s an obligation to make sure friends and family know what they’re getting into.”

“How should I prepare for a Skype interview at a startup?” (19:35)

  • Have good lighting, check your sound, and DEFINITELY check your Internet connection.
  • “There’s nothing that will take you out of an interview more than technical glitches while you’re trying to have a conversation with someone who wants to hire you.”
  • “Get dressed up for the interview not necessarily because of how you will appear, but how it will make you feel… When you’re sitting at the desk, wearing your interview outfit, feeling confident and professional, you sound different and people pick up on that.”

“What are some options to work for myself, with low startup costs, as a college student?” (27:10)

  • In college, Jason and Teague both made beer money by fixing peoples’ internet at home and setting up VPNs for them and taking care of email problems and that kind of stuff. Air high five!
  • “Take a skill you already have and try to sell it. It will teach you about what people are willing to pay for.”
  • “The cost associated with a service business can be almost nothing, and you can start very small and decide how quickly and how much you want to grow it.”
  • “This is a great time in life when you have the least responsibility with the most freedom, and the risk is pretty low in terms of things that you start.”
  • Great resource for anyone wanting to start and keep their costs low: The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
  • “Pick a business that will set you on a path to the things you want to do later in your career.”
  • “Failure is not actually good, but learning from it is good. Failing is NOT the goal.”
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