A startup starts with an idea. When thinking about a startup, everybody wants to start one and get rich. It doesn’t work that way in 99.9% of the cases. You need expertise, know your domain. Thinking you will find an expert to do the work for you is a bit naive, why would that guy work for you if he is able to do this himself and start his own company? Anyway, some of the widespread misunderstandings about startups.
I need investors. In exchange for money, you lose full control, they will push you to the fastest way to make money. Being able to control and steer the direction is essential for a founder. It is far less risk to start while you have an income, maybe as an employee or maybe as a freelancer and goes for ideas that do not require a lot of investment. You need a lot of time and convince people to invest money which is not that easy. For 100 dollar, yes, but not for thousands, certainly not for millions.
I don’t have any good idea. Find the thing you want to do, something you love doing and start reading blogs and websites, learn more about it. Usually, you have several skills and hobbies that are potential candidates. Start writing down ideas every day, don’t censor, just write them down. It is about getting your brain used to idea thinking. After a few weeks of practice, you will start noticing more, things that are missing, things that would need to be improved. Opportunities where a solution could solve a very annoying problem for example. There is no rush, this is the preparation phase.
I need an office, business cards, employees, a personal assistant, a big car and the latest in tech (computer, phone, …). Nope. If you have read some founder stories of very successful companies, you will see some that started from their garage. The main thing is that you increase your expertise (reading) and start to change your mindset (idea generation, seeing opportunity will follow naturally). Then, without spending a cent, start validating an idea. Doesn’t matter if it is good or bad. Talk to people, search for it or similar things on the internet. Start doing this for your ideas once you notice, the quality of ideas is up (weeks, months). Knowing upfront if there is a need, serious demand by a demographic that is willing to spend money on it, you have spent no money yourself, but you will have reduced the risk for your startup by a factor of 10 or more.
Startups are about your mindset, your discipline and the will to come up with an idea. A startup is not about high risk, a lot of investors or an amazing office building.