The 4 Biggest Myths Around Launching Your Own Startup (for Students)
Starting your business takes tremendous amounts of courage. My partner and I launched ReUbird, our startup when we were both studying in college. There are several entrepreneurial myths that I used to believe, which I can now debunk for you.
Myth 1: Someone else is already working on my idea
There are no unique startup ideas. Only unique founders.
Facebook is not the first social network; Signal is not the first messenger app; Lyft is not the first ridesharing solution.
Startups don’t “win” because they have the best ideas. Being a first mover might give you an edge at the early stage. In the long run, however, most successful startups “win” because they are able to build a product that solves the problems of their customers – being better, faster and cheaper than any other product in the market. Strategy, execution and persistence are far more important than the startup idea itself.
It’s totally fine that others are working on the same thing. In fact, having competition means you are likely to be in a lucrative space which appeals to other entrepreneurs. I see it as one of the ways to validate my startup idea. If sombody is already working on the idea you have, there’s a good chance it’s a bad one.
Myth 2: You need to know how to code
I had the same thought at the beginning when I learned about the idea of startup in college. I thought I needed to be excellent at coding in order to launch my own startup.
But I was wrong. The chances are you can work with some people who already have solid experience in programming and are highly skilful at it. I met my partner when I was studying a common core course at HKU. Being a very talented software engineer, he handles the technical side of the business very well and helps the company get through all the technical issues. Meanwhile, I focus on marketing and business development.
As you can see, each of us has our own talent. It’s totally fine. There are other important parts of the company you need to take care of as a founder – people management, sales, marketing and operations. I am sure there is always a spot for you.
If a person is truly passionate about a problem and wants to solve it, he/she will grow and acquire the skills needed to solve the problem along the way.
Alternatively, in some cases, a startup might consider hiring external agencies to build its first minimum viable product (MVP) to validate the market. However, this is not a long-term solution as the startup scales.
Myth 3: You need huge amounts of capital or funding to get started
Many entrepreneur wannabes are under the impression that we need a significant amount of capital or funding to launch a venture.
While this might be true for startups in capital-intensive industries such as automobile, a lot of renowned startups started small and built their minimum viable product without venture-backed money.
Speaking of capital and funding, there are more avenues nowadays for you to secure a decent amount of money – from HKD100,000 to HKD500,000 – to build your MVP. Our team applied for CCMF and CIP. The two programmes offer you a considerable amount of money to help you kickstart and develop your product at the early stage.
Myth 4: You do not have enough skills and experience
During my startup journey in college, I suffered hugely from imposter syndrome – the feeling of severe inadequacy and self-doubt.
“Why me? Why am I capable of running a business when I haven’t done it before?” I once had this mental struggle. Then I told myself at that time, “There’s a first time for everything.” There’s no such thing as enough. Just take the first step and get the ball rolling – I will equip yourself with the skills, experience and connections needed along the startup journey.
Even if you startup fails unfortunately, I am sure your experience in founding the first venture will help you become a better and more experienced founder in your future ventures.