25 Things Aspiring Entrepreneurs Should Know


Have you ever thought about what the difference is between an entrepreneur and a founder? It’s like the chicken or egg debate of the start-up world. Can all entrepreneurs become founders? Are all founders entrepreneurs?

These questions and more were discussed earlier this week at Startup Institute Chicago’s “Founder Syndrome” event. The event took place at 1871, Chicago’s entrepreneurial hub for digital startups and featured a panel entrepreneurs who successfully crossed over to become founders.

Panelists included:

I attended the event and compiled a selection of advice provided by the panelists just for you. So if you’re wondering whether you are ready to be a founder, entrepreneur or an entrepreneurial employee this should help get you on the right path.

Thank me later.

25 Things Aspiring Entrepreneurs Should Know 

1. Being an entrepreneur is more of an attitude, spirit and state of mind. Being a founder is taking that spirit and focusing it on a vision.

2. The biggest mistakes that founders make are not learning from their mistakes fast enough and not hiring sales managers early on.

3. Try not to have any preconceived notions.

4. You don’t always have to be right and you’re not always going to be right.

5. Over-communicate with your team.

6. Don’t quickly shutdown other peoples' ideas by saying, “no."

7. Hire people with different skill-sets.

8. If you invest a year or two in getting prepared and getting smarter you will save yourself time and headache in the long run.

9. If you’re doing the same thing a year from now then you haven’t learned anything.

10. The business plan is the one thing you know isn’t going to happen. Things don’t always work out exactly the way you plan.

11. Successful entrepreneurs are very self-aware. Know what your strengths and weaknesses are.

12. Don’t act like a lone-ranger. No one today does anything by themselves.

13. Aspire to build a team that fills in the gaps in your skill-set.

14. Building partnerships is key to start-up success.

15. In a business the entrepreneur is the accelerator that drives ideas, but they need a partner to be the brake that brings them back to reality.

16. Being an entrepreneur is a lot of hard work. It takes years for most “overnight successes” to break through the clutter in the market.

17. Good companies take time to build.

18. Don’t measure your company’s success by how much money you raised. Success is about getting enough money that people pay you to solve a real problem.

19. You don’t have to be young to be an entrepreneur.

20. Create an environment that makes people want to do meaningful work.

21. Creating jobs is a measure of true success.

22. Journalists want to write about entrepreneurs that want to make a real difference.

23. Ask advice from people who are more experienced. Just make sure you know what you are asking them for so you don’t waste their time and yours.

24. Segment the market to figure out good opportunities and be prepared for those opportunities when they come.

25. You get paid for execution not to come up with ideas.


What do you think about the advice from the panelists? Do they ring true to your experiences? Let’s chat in the comments section.