Worst Sermons an Entrepreneur Can Get

By: Lucell Larawan

In the age where people desire more independence and financial stability, many start their own business; but they are mostly ill-equipped and prone to a deluge of well-meant advices that turn out destructive.

Let me discuss some:

  1. Fit in by dressing like anyone else. For Alexis Maybank, she felt uncomfortable when she tried this. Later, she broke away from it and built her own personal brand. If you are comfortable, you will become more confident.

1) Listen to a few feedbacks about your product. Getting the grassroots feel of a service or product is a good idea; however, if only three out of hundreds are allowed to make the whole picture, you are simply listening to the loud minority. That is biased information.

2) Be fearless. A bad advice because in reality, we need a little amount of fear to be doughty in facing what we dread. For Julia Hartz, being just fearless has been unattainable because fear is normal. But she admonishes that we must examine our fears.

3) Call no attention to your work. This false humility at best. Tim Chen’s parents told him to keep his head down, work hard and show values through his work rather than his mouth. For him, this might sometimes work; nevertheless, even in those cases, communicating and speaking up is more beneficial.

4) Do not try new ideas. This is the worst advice for Heidi Zak. This means imitating the product of restaurants with mere bihon to serve because it worked for them for a long time. We could have missed Solar Charged Jacket or Gravity Jet Suit. Most regrets come as a result of not taking steps to seize opportunities as they knock once.

5) Growth is the best indicator of success. For Scott Harrison, this is a bad suggestion. It is also important to stay the course staying true to the values of the business and its vision.

6) Scale-up before you are ready. This does not make sense for Oliver Kharraz. Even if investors tell him to go nationwide during the early stage of his Zocdoc, he had to stay focused early on to succeed.

7) Your idea will go to the trash bin. This is what David Bladow encountered as he started Bloomthat. He was glad that he made it pass his other ear. He kept pushing. As an artist, some of my friends and even family would say making art is not practical. I might have my own world—they, too, have built their own–but I see to it that I will survive. The naysayers, on the other hand, float about the mundane because art for them is too spiritual or lofty.

8) Be lead by someone. This is bad for Bastian Lehmann because it is totally okay to have a different playbook. Just listen to your heart and find out what your DNA is made for. An entrepreneur should lead his business.

9) Play safe. There might be some reason not to leave a full-time job immediately when one is building his own business; nevertheless, not taking calculated risk will stop the birth of a Phoenix.

10) Dwell on mistakes. Entrepreneurs tolerate mistakes as a learning process. Bea Fischel-Bock attributes her achievements in the mantra: “Fail fast, fix fast, learn fast.” If she listened to a venture capitalist who admonished her to stay underground while building her product for a year, she could have wasted her resources for a wrong product.

11) Try what you are not passionate about. John Zimmer, the founder of Lyft, was advised to shut down Zimride (a ride-sharing startup which is the precursor to Lyft). He refused and realized he did the right move.

12) You cannot have interests beyond your business. Randi Zuckerberg, founder of Zuckerberg Media, found this the worst advice. In Silicon Valley where being 24/7 in one’s startup is a norm, this is the usual playbook; otherwise one is not serious enough. That is why Zuckerberg was counseled to shun art and theater—a suggestion she ignored.

13) Do not trust your own intuition. People tell Alexa von Tobel that it is dangerous to pursue her dreams because she is young and inexperienced. She trusted her instincts instead and established LearnVest.