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The Ultimate Cheat Sheet For Starting And Running a Business - James Altucher - Quora


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You create your luck by being healthy and not regretting the past or being anxious about the future.

100 Frequently Asked Questions?! Mother of God.

I do like that he tells us not to be an amateur:

4) Should you go for venture capital money? First build a product, then get a customer, then get friends and family money (or money from revenues which is cheapest of all) and then think about raising money, But only then. Don't be an amateur.

He later tells us what the signs of an amateur and a professional are:

25) What is the sign of an amateur? Any of these things:

  • asking for an NDA
  • trying to raise VC money before product or customers
  • having fights with partners in the first year. Fire them or split before anything gets out of control
  • Worrying about dilution
  • Trying to get Mark Cuban to invest because "this would be great for the Dallas Mavericks"
  • Asking people you barely know to introduce you to Mark Cuban
  • Asking people for five minutes of their time. It's never five minutes so you are establishing yourself as a liar.
  • Having a powerpoint that doesn't show me arbitrage. I need to know  that there is a small chance there is a 100x return on money.
  • Catch 22: showing people there's a small chance there's 100x return  on their money. The secret of salesmanship is getting through the Catch  22.
  • rejecting a cash offer for your company when you have almost no revenues. Hello friendster and foursquare.

26) What is the sign of a professional:

  • going from bullshit product to services to product to SaaS product. (Corollary: the reverse is amateur hour)
  • cutting costs every day
  • selling every day, every minute
  • When you have a billion in revenues, staying focused. When you have  zero revenues, staying unfocused and coming up with new ideas every day.
  • Saying "no" to people who are obvious losers.
  • Saying "yes" to any meeting at all with someone who is an obvious winner.
  • knowing how to distinguish between winners and losers (subject of an entire other post but in your gut you know, trust me).

25), 26) are the best items in there.

I think so too, Matt.

not sure what I think the best are.  A lot of good ones. Thank you, James.

Mildly controversial and therefore mildly interesting:

39) How much do advisers get?

1/4 of 1%. Advisers are useless. Don't even have an advisory board.

40) How much do board members get?

Nothing. They should all be investors.

Actually, this marketing advice is quite good:

51) What is the only effective email marketing? 

Highly targeted email  marketing written by professional copywriters and the email list is made  up of people who have bought similar services in past six months.

51A) Corollary: If you have zero skills as a copywriter then everything you write will be boring.

So is this sales advice:

71) Should I hire a head of sales? No. The founder is the head of sales until at least ten million in sales.

This is excellent advice:

64) Should I even start a business? No. Make money. Build shit. Then start a business.

Don't do it. Don't start a company unless you can't NOT start a company.

And certainly don't do it if you need the money.

77) Should I quit my job? No. Only if you have salary that can pay you for six months at your startup. Aim to quit your job but don't quit your job.

Also excellent advice:

68) When should I give up on my idea?

When you can't generate revenues, customers, interest, for TWO MONTHS.

69) Why didn't the VC or customer call back after we met yesterday and it was great?

They hate you.

70) Why didn't the above call back after we met yesterday and it was  great?

"Yesterday" was like a split-second ago for them and a lifetime  for you. There's the law of entrepreneurial relativity. Figure out what that means and live by it.

Time is a horrible thing to waste.

91) My competition is doing better than me across every metric. What should I do?

Don't be afraid to instantly shut down your business and start over if you can't sell the business. Time is a horrible thing to waste.