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Advice for ‘Starting Something You Love’ – #10: Alex O’Byrne

At the beginning of 2011 we started a campaign called Start Something You Love. We kicked it off on 19th January with our big Esc winter party in front of 600 people at Guanabara bar in central London.

We are now following it up with 365 bits of advice from real people who are doing interesting and inspirational things with their lives. And we asked them all the same question:

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ESC’S QUESTION: “HOW CAN I START SOMETHING I LOVE?”

ALEX’s ANSWER:

Just start doing whatever it is you’re thinking about. It’s so quick and easy to build a minimal viable product and then you can get real customer feedback quickly and check the assumptions of your product against reality.

Get a co-founder, you’ll motivate each other and it’ll be more fun. Spend time finding the right person, someone that compliments your own personality and that you can rely on. You’re going to spend a lot of time working together and go through a lot of good and bad times together.

Learn and be inspired by online resources. Communities like Hacker News and podcasts like Mixergy interviews and TED Talks. There is so much knowledge within these resources, it’s essentially a constant stream of case studies and judgements to learn from.

Don’t be put off by not having a unique idea. You can do something someone else is already doing, but do it better. There are so many examples of companies that didn’t invent whatever it is they became successful off the back of, but instead they innovated and executed the concept better. In fact, I might even go so far as to say that if there isn’t a product for it already, it’s probably because there just isn’t a need. Just find something that there’s demand for and build something better then what’s out there, then spend 5x as much time marketing it.

One of the best things about having startup is regaining some flexibility of your schedule. Learn to enjoy this. Although having a startup means working long hours, it usually feels good because you’re building something. Remember to take a break though, you should work to live, not live to work.”

From Merrill Lynch to starting my own company: www.wemakewebsites.info

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NOW DO THREE THINGS: