Startups: How to Actually Make Money Off of Your Own Genius Ideas

“Why didn’t I think of that?” We’ve all asked the question, and in this era when every possible problem has a startup waiting to solve it, anyone with an idea can be an entrepreneur. We are living in a cultural moment when it truly feels like a bajillion-dollar idea might just fall into our laps. Caught without a ride? Uber is born. Need a couch to sleep on? Airbnb changes the house-swap concept for the entire globe. The hard part isn’t just dreaming up the idea, it’s figuring out whether or not it’s special enough to pursue—and how to make it happen.

Adora Cheung knows a bit about sussing out those special ideas. Her cleaning startup, Homejoy, was acquired by Google in 2015, and she is now a partner at Y Combinator, a seed accelerator that provides early funding for startups. While each business (and industry) is different, there are some rules of startup life that anyone can benefit from. Here, Cheung shares a few of the key steps in the life of a new business. Tips include

  • Test your idea on your friends
  • But take their reactions with a grain of salt
  • Set small goals
  • Keep the product simple
  • Don’t try too many things at once
  • Hiring workers is expensive (and more than a little scary).
  • Hone your “elevator pitch.”
  • Show that you can go all the way
  • Don’t give up

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