What are some good advice for young people who are considering entrepreneurship? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Perumal Gandhi, Co-Founder of Perfect Day, on Quora:

Elon Musk once shared that a friend of his once said, "Running a start-up is like chewing glass and staring into the abyss. After a while, you stop staring, but the glass chewing never ends".

After spending 5 years at Perfect Day, I can confidently state that the above statement is metaphorically pretty darn spot on. If you are considering entrepreneurship, know that it will be a roller coaster ride with an incredible amount of triumph and failure all mixed into one heck of a ride.

Some advice I can offer:

  1. Get a good co-founder. Heavy Emphasis on good i.e. someone who shares the same values as you and has the same North Star that they follow. This will be the only other person in the company who is forced to see the whole system and have the entire company's back. This will also be the person you can vent to about life's madness, and will prevent you from losing your mind and becoming a sociopath. If on top of an alignment on values and mission, you can also find someone that has a sense of humor (especially on the dark days) then you're made. (There are some exceptional folks who can, and have, found companies alone. But at the end of the day, having another person walking through the mud with you is a whole lot more fun, and worth it.)
  2. Share the spoils. We meet a lot of founders who try to take all the credit. Reality is that no one can succeed without a great team. One way to hedge the bets in your favor that you succeed in creating that team is to share the spoils (credit, money, profits, stock) with them. Not only will this act as an incentive for them to work harder, it'll also create a culture where folks will prioritize the success and health of the global system over their own personal success.
  3. Iterate fast and be ready to thrive in chaos. Creating something new from scratch takes a lot of work, and is a chaotic process. At Perfect Day we've nearly run out of money, had other companies send us legal letters, had our first run at scale fail, and encountered obstacles that we hadn't even thought could be obstacles. When you encounter these issues, you have to make fast decisions with limited data; having a system that allows you to thrive in that environment will be critical to succeed, so go read "Certain to Win" and apply John Boyd's strategy.
  4. 2+2 can be > than 4. If you find the right partner (co-founder, people on your team, or outside company you partner with) and setup a good working team, you will always be better than you alone. No single person can be the expert of everything, and given the huge number of distractions that we face on a daily basis, it's easy to make mistakes or overlook things. Taking a few extra minutes to have someone else look over your email, act as a soundboard, or role play a tough conversation will allow you to make fewer mistakes and be better prepared.

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Published on: Sep 10, 2019