Startups are founded by people that make the leap before anyone else. If you don’t leap first, you don’t stand a chance of winning. Jump. It’s up to you.
No one else can jump for you or before you. If you’re waiting for some form of validation from existing co-workers, family or even worse, investors, you’ll be waiting a long time. You have to jump first.
Julien Smith gets right to the point in his post about making things happen. I’ll add some context from an investor-perspective (not just mine, but from what I’ve seen with others as well.)
You can’t go to an investor and say, “I’m going to leave my job, just as soon as I get funding. Then I’ll do it.” I don’t know of any investor that’s going to write you a check. That’s like telling your girlfriend that you’re going to leave your wife, honest … you’re just working out the details …
You have to jump first.
Every so often someone asks me, “What are you looking for in an entrepreneur?” It’s a complicated question, and more often than not it comes down to a gut feeling, but when you see someone jump first, that’s a very good sign. Those that are just looking over the edge, but staying on solid ground, or even dangling a foot off the edge, tempting fate, don’t count.
You can’t expect investors, business partners, employees or anyone else — even a co-founder — to take a leap of faith with you if you’re not willing to do so first. Reid Hoffman said that launching a startup was like jumping off a cliff and building the plane on the way down. Tons of risk. Insane. Total madness. All true. Well, maybe … but I can just as easily argue that there’s absolutely zero risk. If you believe in yourself then you can always survive, get a job, initiate a backup plan … whatever. Sure there’s an opportunity cost to starting a company, but the opposite is true as well.
You have to jump first. No one else can do it for you. And no one can push you over the edge of the cliff; well they can, but it doesn’t work well, because chances are they forgot to give you the materials and tools to build your plane. Splat.
Jump. It’s worth it.