How to start a startup in college: Build a successful startup a step by step guide

Hey everyone, today I will be talking about startups a guide for college students to start a new venture. 

I am not a guru, I am talking from my own experience of working at a startup called blueneto and working on my own startup. I also like to read a lot of books. 

I just like to consume books on entrepreneurship and startups. I listen to a lot of audiobooks as well. So i'll be talking from that experience.

Misconceptions No. 1: You need a lot of money to start a startup

Misconception that people have is that you need to have a lot of capital to start a startup. That is not entirely true. 

If you want to start something that requires software you don't necessarily need to go out there and invest and put in a lot of capital. You can do that for quite cheap like get a domain name, host it somewhere. It's very much less compared to what you are thinking.

You will require capital in places in which your startup will require you to do something big, have some machinery and all. That might need you to invest capital in it. 

And for that you can take a look at your college incubators. There are a lot of these college competitions and incubators are available that will help you provide a few some capital that you can use to bootstrap your startup in the beginning. 

So that's what i would say, you don't necessarily need to have a lot of capital. In fact you can use github student pack to avail a lot of the services for free for about six months to one year. which is enough for you to get started with your revenue. 

Misconceptions No. 2: You need a lot of people with you in a startup

Misconception is you need to have a lot of people in your startup, that is also not true. In fact it is the opposite. You must focus on having few people in your startup and only work with them. 

It's really hard to manage people. You do not want to be in a state in which you are spending a big amount of your time of the day managing people.

That is not what you want to, that is the worst mistake startups make that I have seen from my experience of reading up on startups. 

So that's why you make sure that you not hire a lot of people. 

Just focus on having about like three people in the beginning. Those would be likely your co-founders or your early employees and then afterwards you can scale but even then only focus on having few people. 

Let's say two people on marketing one person on design and that's pretty much it.

That's what you need to do. You do not need to have a lot of people.

Generally how this works is that there is one person who builds the software. There is another person who markets it and there is the third person who is good at business at talking. That's the three people that are required for the startup itself.

Now let's move on to,

Misconceptions no. 3: You should only startup once You're older when you've done your business MBA.

A lot of people say that I cannot have a startup if I am in college or people say that if I am like 40 years old I cannot start a startup that is also not true.

Now this is quite controversial. There are some huge entrepreneurs who say that you should not set a startup in college and then there are some people who say it is never too late, you can start whenever you want.

And there are examples to prove both of them correct. It depends on you if you believe that idea is worth going after for. Then you should definitely go ahead and start a venture in your college itself 

Now you can take a look at ben graham's blog in which he says that you should not start a startup in college that is really insightful and just decide for yourself what do you think about it.

I don't think there is going to be any problem if you have the skills, if you think you have knowledge about this industry, if you know that you can do some great work over here, then you should definitely go ahead with it and start as soon as possible.

Product Market Fit

The most important part that I have realized so far that you need to focus on in a startup is called as Product Market Fit. 

Product Market Fit (PMF) is your product meant for this particular market, Is it the right product for this market, Is this the right market for your product. 

And something even important is going to be Founder Product Market Fit (FPMF). That is also really important that you should definitely focus on if you are not the right founder, if you do not have the core competency to go ahead with this venture then you should really not get into it. Just keep this one thing in mind.

Let's move on to the next part 

How to find Startup idea?

The most common asked question is what should be the idea?

So let's look into it for a minute. You want to make something that would help people increase their efficiency. This can be for businesses, this can be for normal consumers, normal people as well. How this works is that you need to find some service. 

Let's take an example of uber. Before uber, people had a horrible experience with taxis and when uber came along. Everything became a lot easier for them. 

So whenever you make something easier for people. You end up making value for them as well as for your own self. 

That is what kunal shah talks about in his video on youtube called "Finding your part of gold". It's an amazing concept that he has, that is called "Delta E". Whenever there is a "change in efficiency > 4" you end up making some huge amount of value for the consumer as well as for yourself. Take a look at that video If you are curious. 

A lot of times you will want to test if your startup idea is good. For that you need to ask people who are strangers, who don't really know you. And you need to ask a hundred people about it. 

Just go on linkedin, go out there and just ask to people - Hey this is the idea, would you like to add some feedback, would you like to buy this product that I'm creating. And they will give you the most crude honest answer without sugar coating it or something like that. 

They will give you the best answer that you need to get. That's really important because a lot of times people create products that no one really wants to use. You should never want to be in that position. 

An example of that can be Quibi. Quibi was a huge startup disaster that happened. In which they were creating vertical form of short content like movies but shorter. 

It didn't really work because people didn't want to use something like that. So that's what you need to focus on. You need to focus on finding things that people actually want to use. 

Like in this case, they already had netflix and they could just make it landscape and they can watch the complete movie. It's not a big deal for people. 

Okay, Now let's talk about a few qualities that you need to have if you are a founder. 

First and most important thing is going to be: That you will be losing all the time. You need to accept that you will be losing for the most part. You will get to hear a lot of "NO's" or rejections all the time. 

When you are starting out that is completely fine. You should be okay with that. You should be okay with a hundred people saying "no" on your face, that's really important.

Entrepreneurship and being a founder is really really hard. You need to accept that fact- You might be hearing startups with crazy valuations and startup founders in videos and all, It looks really good. It looks all sunshine and rainbows but at the end it's really hard. 

I watched this amazing video, it was actually a conversation between kunal shah and Gojek's founder. In which they were talking about the philosophy of a startup founder. What are the problems that they go through? You can take a look at that also if you're interested.

Moving on to the next part, Let me tell you about a few youtubers that you can follow to learn about this even more. 

YCombinator

The first one and this would be a startup accelerator called YCombinator. They have a youtube channel on which they upload some really insightful and helpful content. There you will find people who have raised millions of dollars. 

They have made some amazing companies. They have provided value to their customers and they are sharing their own experience about all the different topics. Like what should be your key performance indicators, what is mrr all of that. 

They are talking about how can you increase that, what should you be focusing on growth or retention. A lot of topics are over there. You can take a look at those videos and make notes as much as you can. 

That is really important, when you are listening to these people and they talk about marketing landing pages. Everything they are talking about in those videos. There is also a series called as how to start a startup by YCombinator itself. Inwhich some of the top founders are there to give you advice on everything- startup idea, how to hire good people, how to market your product, how to handle sales, a lot of these things are covered over there. 

Doordash founder was over there. Tsprings founder was over there. Pretty much the best founders are over there so if you're interested you can take a look at that playlist itself amazing conversations. I just really had a lot of fun by listening to them.

Gary Tan

And after this you can also take a look at Gary Tan. He used to be a YCombinator's partner but right now he started his own venture firm called this initialized capital. He also has a channel in which he shares some amazing insights about startups. Basically if you're like a startup founder you should definitely consider watching these videos and you'll get to learn a lot from that. He covers a lot of topics and he's still making some amazing videos.

Slidebean

Slidebean is also a great channel that I personally watch a lot of videos from, In which they break down some of the biggest startups out there, How they succeeded? How did they fail? What is happening in the startup ecosystem? What is funding? basically all the topics in startups they have covered. 

Backstage with millionaires

If you want to get up to date with the news in the startup ecosystem. You can take a look at backstage with millionaires. They talk about all of the latest news like which company got funded? What happened to a particular startup? in India particularly.

StartupGyaan

Startup gyan is also a great channel by Arnab Nayak in which he just shares everything but in hindi. So if you are curious and want to get news in hindi you can take a look at his channel as well. I really enjoy his way of explaining everything.

This week in startups

If you want to you know and listen from amazing founders like interviews and stuff you can take a look at "This week in startups". It is a youtube channel over there. You have jason who will be covering the overall worldwide news of startups and he also does a lot of interviews with other people. 

There are some other youtube channels as well that I watch a lot. I will be linking them if you're curious, go take a look that.

Moving to the blogs. So you can take a look at Mark Anderson's blogs.You can take a look at Paul Graham's blogs, if you're interested Again I will link to them. These are people that have a lot of experience and they are sharing all of that with you. They have years of experience. 

Now moving on to the next part and that would be some books that you can read. So the best book that I would recommend to you is going to be "The Hard Thing About Hard Things" it's an amazing book. Ben Horowitz talks about his own journey into startups in 2001. You know the dot-com bubble that burst out. Basically it's an amazing book, you should take a look at that. It talks about the real hard problems that startup entrepreneurs face. 

Moving on the next one, would be "Zero To One" definitely an amazing book by Peter Thiel. Who's also a really renowned figure in the venture ecosystem. 

And then you have "The Lean Startup". That is a great book.

Then you have "Before You Startup" is also a great book that I've read.

Then "48 Hour Startup" an amazing book. It is a quick read, but it goes into depth talking about how can you reiterate as quick as possible. Get feedback. Now Reiterate. Again get feedback. Again Reiterate and get to that sweet spot in which people will really want to use your products. 

And then obviously you can read books like Elon Musk and his biography, Steve Jobs book and then Jack Ma's book. You have some other books as well. I'll be linking some amazing books here. If you're interested take a look at that. 

But, yeah these are some great books that you can read and you can get to learn about the experiences of the journeys of these startup founders. You know "Shoe Dog By Phil Knight" is also an amazing book that talks about the journey of "Nike". I really enjoyed that book.

And let's move on to the next part and that would be some entrepreneurs that I personally like to follow and you can also follow them if you're interested. 

The first one would be "Naval Ravikant". He is the founder of "AngelList". He has an amazing twitter that you can take a look at. 

The second one can be Noah Kagan. I really like taking a look at his youtube videos where he breaks everything down, talks about How businesses actually work? How the top businessman or the top CEOs operate and How do they generate their revenue. 

Third would be "Kunal Shah''. He has some great insights about India itself and the Indian economy. What Do people think in India? So take a look at his videos on youtube, his twitter, and his linkedin all of that is just amazing.

Then the fourth one would be Ankur Warikoo. I recently started following him on his youtube channel. He makes some amazing content for a wide audience and basically he was the founder of nearby.com. 

And he has done an amazing job of building a brand of himself. So take a look at him and his content, if you're interested, his twitter tweets are just amazing and you'll get to learn a lot from that. 

Then we have some other people like "Gary Vaynerchuk" definitely a huge motivation for me to start my own business and he does an amazing job of just talking about the mindset of an entrepreneur. And yeah, that is one person you can take a look at. 

I would just say that learn from all of them but don't get into the cycle of constantly consuming them all the time. Learn from them, make notes and then start your own venture. Of Course you'll fail a bunch of times, you'll learn and you'll get back up. 

Fail, learn, get back up. Don't get into the visual cycle of just consuming, consuming and consuming. Don't do that. It's good for no one. But yeah that was just a few points that I want to cover in this video.

If you want to listen to Podcasts. Some great ones are going to be "How I Build this by Guy Raz". 

Another podcast that you can see over here by "Startup by Gimlet Media" in which the founder is talking about how they started gimlet media itself. That's also a great one that show the actual documentation of the events that happened over there, when he was starting his own startup. 

Then we have some other ones as well. There is one that I really like that is called "Business wars". It talks about how two businesses compete with each other? What are the strategies that they use? What are the tactics that they use? That's an amazing podcast by the fundraising media.

Next would be "Masters of Scale". This is a great podcast started by the founders of LinkedIn. And yes! just keep listening to as many podcasts as possible, educate yourself and then get out there, ask help from people. Don't just be like "Startup start karte h uncle." Also don't be like vague in whatever you're asking. Be specific and people would really help you out a lot.

That's what I would say, these were a few people that I want you to take a look at. This is how you understand about startups. This is how you approach startups. 

I hope this post was insightful for all of you. Make sure that you share this video with your friends. It takes a lot of time for me to make these posts. 

It would be really worth it if you can just let me know in the comments if you enjoyed it or not. If you want me to write more posts on startups, let me know what topic I should be covering. 

I really enjoy just writing about startups and just like the ecosystem of entrepreneurship. 

Thank you for reading.


You may like these posts