Being an entrepreneur is incredibly challenging. You are a pioneer and are often seeing something before others see it. It is so important that you love the problem, understand it and are passionate about solving it. But you need to bring others along (investors, employees, partners, customers) so also learn to be the chief sales officer. If you do these things you have a real shot at success.
Just get started and deliver now. You should have a long term vision but must also act right now, have near term deliverables and be in contact with the customer. Don't disappear for years working on this thing, completely disconnected from the world. An extreme example of this is, I wrote the the first version of Gmail in a day!
Have something else besides your company. Being an entrepreneur is a roller-coaster ride. It can be stressful and I think it’s important that you have something else that is meaningful to you and keeps your grounded. It could be family, a sport, hobby or faith.
If your company is all you have, it will affect your decision making during the inevitable down times, and you may do things that are unhealthy or lack integrity.
Focus. It’s powerful to do just one thing and pour all your energy into it. You’ll get lots of advice but you should disregard most of it. Heaven knows, all sorts of people told me the thing I was doing on AngelList would never work! They said I should be more careful and build more infrastructure but I did it as fast and as simply as I could. This notion of an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) applies to investors as well
Pursue a startup where you care about the outcome deeply. Startups are inherently hard. If you are successful at a startup you won’t know that for generally 5 – 7 years.
Also, pursue a big problem. A small business is as hard or harder than a big-idea business. It is harder to attract people and resources. All things being equal, pursue a big idea even though on the surface it might seem like a smaller one might be more certain.
We live in such an unbelievably interesting time. The rate of change is exploding and it has never been easier to start companies. The willingness of the world to accept new business models is also unprecedented. I would encourage more people to start companies. I am especially interested in seeing more diversity in the startup world, both in terms of gender and race. If anyone in these groups is looking for advice or mentorship I’d be happy take a meeting.
Have insane levels of empathy for your users or customer and really try to understand their pain points. Only by doing so will you be able to create something valuable and compelling for them, and as a result you will be successful.