The 4 most important lessons I learned at Startup Grind

The 4 most important lessons I learned at Startup Grind
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On Wednesday night, I drove an hour in stop-and-go traffic to attend the Red Ventures-hosted Startup Grind with no idea of what to expect.

Working at Axios Charlotte has given me some insight on being involved with a startup, but there’s a difference between being around four people with their hearts and souls in it and being in the middle of a sold-out crowd of people with their hearts and souls in their own ideas.

It’s overwhelming and complete eye-opening.

(1) You have to believe in your idea 110%. 

No questions asked. If you have an idea, you better believe your idea is the greatest thing since sliced bread and is going to put the world on its head. If you don’t, who else is going to?

(2) You can’t be afraid of people. 

This is a no-brainer. If you’re launching a startup and want people to be as excited about it as you are, you have to be fearless. Being able to walk into a room full of strangers and feel comfortable enough to insert yourself into a conversation is one of the most important aspects of it.

I learned last night that I can’t do that. When I have to talk to strangers, I get massively uncomfortable. If you want a successful startup, being massively uncomfortable is not an option.

But seriously. That drone. #startupgrindclt #startupgrind #brewpublik #redventures

A photo posted by Jillian ✌️ (@asliceofgingie) on

(3) Don’t listen to the people who tell you you’re making a mistake. 

At one point during the night, a guy by the name of Elon Musk came up. You know, that guy who helped make PayPal what it is today back in 2000 and later founded SpaceX and Tesla? Maybe you’ve heard of him.

He’s got his feet in a lot of different ponds: the automotive industry, outer space, solar energy, energy storage, satellite, high-speed ground transportation and multi-planetary expansion.

Dude’s got a lot going on. And he’s fearless about it.

In 2002, after the sale of PayPal to eBay for $1.5 billion, he created SpaceX with $100 million. SpaceX’s goal is to ultimately colonize Mars with a million people over the next hundred years.

People thought — and told — Musk that SpaceX would be a trainwreck, which is was, the first three times. They’d figured out how to create and build rockets, just not how to create and build rockets that were functional. Musk got one more try; if he could get the fourth rocket into space, the company would be saved. And he did it.

Then he got on board with Tesla, whose goal as a company was to create a world in which mainly electric cars were driven. This was also expected to be a total trainwreck and waste of his $70 million.

Today, SpaceX is valued at $12 billion, and Musk recently stated that Tesla is worth $700 billion.

And Musk himself? As of this year, he’s resting at an impressive $13 billion net worth.

Not bad.

(4) Last but not least, you have to be crazy. 

Look at Elon Musks: he’s a bona fide psycho. Musk threw millions and millions of dollars into projects that were guaranteed to fail. He’s crazy. In the best way.

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