15 Startup Tips From 15 Years as an Entrepreneur

Nate Dallas
5 min readAug 11, 2022

Here are a few tips that many hustlers never get the opportunity to learn from an honest mentor.

1. Sell your first product before you ever build it.

All anyone needs to start a new business is a product, a buyer, and a way to sell it. There is no steadfast rule on which one of these three must come first. Most people attempt it in the wrong sequence, never completing the task.

2. Launch ASAP, even if not perfect.

The product will always need to be tweaked and improved. The only way to know what work is necessary is to obtain feedback from real users. Put it out there, watch and listen. Then modify and pivot if necessary and repeat.

3. Do not be so in love with yourself.

You are wrong a lot! Listen to people who are smarter and have more experience. If you are typically the most intelligent person in the room, find better rooms. Know that things will never work out the way you initially plan them. Do not resist the pivot because of hard-headed ego. Embrace it, and love it. Realizing that you are wrong is progress. That means you are learning, growing, and winning.

4. Clearly define everyone’s roles, ownership, and pay structure.

No matter who is in the venture, there can be no handshake agreements or unwritten understandings, even if mutually agreeable. Lay it all out from the start and have professional legal contracts and operating agreements in place. This policy goes for family and best friends too.

5. Don’t invest any more money than you can afford to lose.

If the thing totally flops and you are still glad you gave it a shot, then you know you are doing it right. Losing money sucks, but it will happen. Maintain control of emotions and understand that this is an absolute if you are committed the game long enough. Losing money that you don’t have or cannot do without is devastating and can cause enormous collateral damage. Don’t borrow to start something; only borrow to grow it after proving the concept with serious traction. Bootstrap the venture yourself, or share the risk (and rewards). Either use your cash or take on investors. If you cannot find any backers, there are probably legitimate reasons.

Nate Dallas

A simple-minded contemplative