Learning from someone who has been there, done that, is always huge bonus when starting something new. Having professional insight to the ins and outs of starting up can help aspiring entrepreneurs avoid lethal mistakes, and maybe even get a leg up on the competition.
In this Q&A, top-rated mentor, Andrew Lee, offers some insight into the importance of mentoring new founders and the best piece of advice he ever received.
1. Why is it so important for experienced founders to mentor new founders?
I'll repurpose the famous Madeline Albright phrase: "There is a special place in hell for founders who don't help other founders." In general, I don't think what experienced founders say is all that amazingly insightful and is rarely brand new, but I do think that it needs to be said repeatedly. Because it's at the right moment when a new founder hears that key piece of information at the right time that advice becomes actionable. We're all veterans of different wars, but battle stories are always welcome to new recruits in entrepreneurship.
2. What are the one or two pieces of advice you tell new founders that you wish you knew when you got started?
"Separate the steak from the sizzle." You'll hear people say this, but honestly, build something useful that allows you to keep your organization alive and hopefully thriving. Everything else is just the sizzle (buzz) without steak (substance). In fact, most of it is all sizzle.
3. What is the hardest lesson you had to learn as an entrepreneur?
"When you stare into the abyss, the abyss just states back at you." Nietzsche - The important thing is to bring yourself to the idea and be obsessed as possible and then pull yourself back. That's probably the hardest thing as an entrepreneur.
4. What is the best piece of entrepreneurial advice you ever received?
Every great surfer needs a great wave." This odd metaphor applies so well to so many things. Some people just get lucky. The most important thing is to just focusing on the best surfer you can be. No matter how great of a surfer you are, no one will know unless you have a great wave.
To hear more from Andrew, follow him on Twitter @_AndrewLee.