Hackernoon logoWhat Are The Most Common Mistakes New Startups Make? by@nebojsa.todorovic

What Are The Most Common Mistakes New Startups Make?

Nebojsa "Nesha" Todorovic Hacker Noon profile picture

@nebojsa.todorovicNebojsa "Nesha" Todorovic

Writer, GoLancer, "Noonies2020" Award Winner

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Newbie startups fly HIGH and then fall hard! Here’s why.

HIGH is my acronym for the Four Horsemen of Startupocalipse:

  1. Half-Heartedness
  2. Impatience
  3. Greed
  4. Hesitance


The initial enthusiasm is dope. I get it. You just can’t get enough of that overwhelming feeling. New entrepreneurs aren’t even halfway there, and they already have a change of heart.

They realize it’s easy to be a self-proclaimed entrepreneur. You become someone else—a better version of yourself. But there’s a catch. The entrepreneurship road is long and dusty. You have to make sacrifices. Either you are totally in, or you are out.

There’s no middle ground. There’s no room for compromises. I’m going to be an entrepreneur on weekends, then I’m back to my regular work. Just ask people around you. Who wants to be an entrepreneur? They are all up for it. Then, ask the second question.

Who’s willing to go all the way through because it’s not going to be easy, there are no guarantees, and you will have to sacrifice a lot? You’d be surprised how quickly the same people can come up with all kinds of different excuses.


It’s hard for first-time entrepreneurs to hold their horses. Again, I understand, and I don’t judge them. All new entrepreneurs are very passionate by default. They’re literally burning with a desire to make it. The problem is that they’re rushing things, especially when it comes to their decisions. There’s nothing wrong with pushing a pause button on your entrepreneurship journey to think it through.

More than once, my words of advice have fallen to deaf ears. My friends and clients were like meteors burning up because they entered the entrepreneurship atmosphere too fast. The best cure for new and impatient entrepreneurs is making them write Festina Lente 100 times every day, just like Bart Simpson is doing during the opening credits of “The Simpsons.” The meaning of this life-saving Latin phrase for first-time entrepreneurs is “make haste slowly” or “hurry slowly.”


I get sick both figuratively and literally when I hear that line: Oh, I’m going to make so much money you aren’t going to believe it. I usually play dumb when I hear something like that from first-time entrepreneurs. Somebody has seen the “Wall Street” movie too many times for his own good. Are you and Gordon Gekko buddies now? Seriously?

Greed is good, but only in the movies. All entrepreneurs think about 24/7 are Benjamins. Aren’t we all? How much is enough? How much is enough to make you happy? I don’t feel sorry for those “jamais content” entrepreneurs. They’ll never have it enough. Not even all the money in the world will be enough for some lost souls.


The ninth gate of entrepreneurship hell is reserved for entrepreneurs who’ve already taken the first step but they’re having second thoughts about the next steps. Should I do this or that? What if? Maybe I should just give up on entrepreneurship. Put your startup pedal to the metal while the iron is hot. There will be plenty of time for analyzing later.

There’s an expiration date on opportunities for first-time entrepreneurs. Better to act without overthinking it, and fail, than to wait and do nothing. Also very important! Don’t let your impatience become a regular excuse for rushed decisions. And, don’t rationalize your hesitance by pretending that you’re a “strategist” or a “serious player.” Whoever comes first will be rewarded first - it doesn’t always work for entrepreneurs, but it makes business history when it does.

HTTYD: Thank You For Nothing, You Useless Reptile!


The guy who said, “A problem well stated is a problem half-solved,” was a successful businessman, first and foremost - Charles "Boss" Kettering. Think about it for a moment before you write a negative comment to my answer.

Finally, what if you have to be a first-time entrepreneur a couple of times? Are you going to give up just because you’ve failed the first time? I didn’t think so.


If you like and support my unorthodox approach to this question, you’re invited to check out my book “ENTREPRENEUR SHIP GRAVEYARD: Real-Life Success-To-Failure Business and Startup Stories” on Amazon.

(Image by Jeroným Pelikovský from Pixabay)


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