10 Startup Lessons Learned From House Of Mikko
By Kai Freeman (Co-Founder, House of Mikko)
Some days I can hardly believe that this is my life. I am doing what I love. I think back to the days that I sat in my cubicle and wished for something bigger. But I did nothing about it, until one day at work I was told by my manager that I think too much and that I shouldn’t rock the boat. That night I went home and started studying for the GMAT.
I thought business school was going to be my savior. But, I was told by every person that I talked to that I was insane for thinking that I could get into a good business school, that with my credentials I should aim lower. I didn’t believe them. I went on to graduate from a top business school and thought: I have finally arrived! Only to be thrust back into the same cubicle that I thought I had escaped forever.
Then I was given a life line – a phone call from my future partner asking me to quit my job and join her in her quest to take over the world. Well, maybe not take over the world. But the process of bootstrapping our way to a finished product, and getting one step closer to realizing our vision, sometimes feels like we might as well be trying to take over the world!
But it is worth every minute. I love the craziness. Every day something happens that makes me say either “I am awesome” or “I officially suck.” The one thing that all of us entrepreneurs have in common is that we are crazy. You have to be a little eccentric to take on startup world. But eccentric in an Albert Einstein kind of way, not Britney Spears.
10 Lessons I have learned thus far:
- It is often necessary to act like you know what you are talking about even when you have no clue.
- BRAG. And then brag some more. Men do it all the time.
- When someone gives you constructive criticism – figure out if that person sucks before you listen to their feedback.
- When talking about the progress that your startup has made, it is perfectly acceptable to exaggerate.
- It is also perfectly acceptable to go up to random strangers and tell them about your startup.
- Oftentimes smiling and nodding is the best tool that you have; conversely, telling someone off is not the best approach. No matter how irritating they are.
- Be nice to EVERYONE.
- Don’t listen when someone says your idea is stupid. Smile and nod (see #6).
- Get a puppy so someone is obligated to hear you complain.
- See number 1.
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Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.
About the guest blogger: Kai Freeman is a Co-Founder at House of Mikko. She began her career working in finance and soon realized that she needed to shake things up. Kai decided to attend the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, where she met her future partner, Kimberly Dillon. After making the big move to NYC, Kimberly tapped Kai to work on House of Mikko – and the rest is history. In her free time, Kai plays co-ed soccer where she likes to beat up on the guys in her league.