You may be surprised to find out that “square one” in entrepreneurship has nothing to do with launching your own venture or even finalizing the idea underlying your venture. Instead, it has to do with understanding the entrepreneurship experience. Before you move into the realm of being an entrepreneur, get to know the lifestyle and how start-ups work.
Recently a friend of mine took the leap from his corporate job to join a fast-paced and well-funded start-up on the west coast. When I asked him how it was going, after a few months on the job, he responded, “This is crazy. I never could have predicted this type of lifestyle.” His response is standard for the way most people feel when they join a start-up. It can be overwhelming, and its often completely different from the job a person has left behind, no matter how many years of experience they have under their belts. Few can be ready for the limited budgets, constant sense of urgency, and 24/7 work schedules found at most new ventures.
Luckily, there are ways that you can get to better understand the start-up lifestyle and what being involved in a new venture entails. Beyond merely reading books or checking out the latest blog, the best way to immerse yourself in the start-up lifestyle without actually taking the plunge is by interning at an existing start-up venture. If you are beyond the age and skill set that might be appropriate to qualify for an internship, think about volunteering at an existing venture. Providing free consulting help in your area of expertise is another way you can check out the start-up environment without incurring the risk of leaving your stable employment.
In the end, the start-up lifestyle is something that overwhelms nearly all entrepreneurs. There is no perfect way to prepare yourself for what you’ll encounter as you launch your own venture. However, being prepared by logging a few hours at an existing venture is probably the best way to achieve the necessary level of comfort.