A Practical Guide to Escaping Wannapreneurism


I’ve been working on a productivity app for over 2 years now. And by “working” I mean I’ve been sketching out the idea, thinking about it, creating mockups, learning to code so I can prototype it, doing some more sketches, and thinking some more about it.

I had nothing substantial to show people. I was simply refining my idea.

But on New Year’s Eve, before welcoming 2015, I realized that I couldn’t juggle design and development on my own, nor did I want to use the excuse of “looking for a developer” to stick to my comfort zone. So I made the commitment to find a reliable development team to help me transition from Wannapreneurism to Entrepreneurism.

And here’s my guide on how you can do the same, especially if you feel stuck in planning and (over)thinking, without making any progress.

1. Make Sure You’re Willing To Make The Investment

I can’t stress on this enough. If you’re not willing to make the investment, then it’s better for you to have an honest moment with yourself and let go of the dream you’re not willing to pursue.

Building a startup takes time, effort, money, and a commitment to continuous learning. If you’re not willing to provide the input, don’t expect to get the output. Admitting to yourself that entrepreneurism isn’t the thing for you will relieve you of unnecessary guilt, and you can focus on being a better employee and enjoying your free time.

But if you’re certain entrepreneurship is the path you want to take and are willing to make the investment, then you need to take that investment seriously and understand exactly what it involves.

The combination of time, effort, and money depend on you and how much you have of each. Don’t have a lot of money to invest in a startup? Ask friends and family for help. Don’t have enough time on your hands? Look to hire team members to accelerate your progress.

2. Don’t Limit Yourself To What You’re Comfortable With

Thinking and planning are always easier than doing. Researching is always easier than building.

Wannapreneurs fear taking the plunge into the unknown, and so they stick to what they already know and feel comfortable with. Accept that building something you’ve never built before requires you to do things you’ve never done before (and may not currently know how to do).

But you have to be mentally prepared for new experiences and you must be willing to do things you don’t feel comfortable with or think you’re good at.

3. Cut Yourself Some Slack

The less experience you have, the more slack you need to give yourself. Don’t be too harsh on yourself because you couldn’t explain what your startup is doing or you picked the wrong platform to build your product.

Before you know, you don’t. Before you can, you can’t. There’s no other way around it. So expect to make lots of mistakes at first and to not know what to do next. Ask lots of questions and act like a sponge: soak in as much information from every experience you have, without blaming yourself.

4. Have Something To Show Early On

The main difference between Wannapreneurs and Entrepreneurs is that Entrepreneurs have something to show for their efforts, even if that “something” isn’t perfect. In fact, your potential customers will offer you better insights on these imperfections than you can come up with working in a dark corner of your office on your own. They will reveal to you what their priorities are and what imperfections they couldn’t care less about (and you shouldn’t stress over).

I made a horrendous mistake while working on my app. Instead of having something to regularly show my potential users, I was asking my development team to have something to show me. I still can’t believe I made this basic blunder, but now I’m course correcting.

To give you an example of what I mean: My app has 3 panels in the desktop version, and I thought it would look ugly for my users if my app only had 1 panel during testing. So I decided to work on all 3 panels before beginning the beta test. But what I could have done was to simply show a “Coming Soon” message on the second and third panel, and to have them test out the functionality in the first.

That way I could have started testing months ago and the development plan would have turned out very differently.

5. Surround Yourself With Supportive People

You want to regularly mingle with people who can provide you with information and guidance, inspiration, connections, and emotional support. I have a WhatsApp group with only two friends, and we ask each other questions and pick each other up when we’re down. At times you don’t want advice. You just want to have a person to vent out your frustrations to. I sometimes jump on this group to complain (throwing the occasional f-bomb). On bad days, I f-carpet-bomb the group.

Working on a startup can be enormously stressful, and having supportive people around makes the journey more tolerable, and more enjoyable.

6. What Will You Do Next?

It’s essential for you to always have a clear next action to move forward. Who will you talk to? What will you write? What will you get?

Then decide on the next action after that, while ensuring that the outcome you’re aiming for is a product or service people will buy and use, not just a refined idea you care passionately about (that’s what Wannapreneurs focus on, and nobody is willing to buy abstract ideas or hollow passions).

What will you do next to make your startup a reality? If you’re willing to give the input, start investing in your startup and see your dreams come to reality.

At Sirdab Lab we’re here to help. In fact, that’s the purpose of our existence. We know building a startup can be difficult, and it sucks to have a community of Wannapreneurs living in guilt and regret seeing their dreams fade into oblivion. We want to provide you with the consistent support you need to see your startup through.

If you’re not already a member and want to start taking steps towards building your startup, then I highly recommend becoming a Sirdaber at members.sirdab-lab.com.

Not sure what to do now? Reply to this email with your concerns and I’ll help you through them.

And if you know what you’re gonna do next, reply with what you’ll be committing to, so you don’t back down. Supportive people help keep you accountable to the promises you make to yourself. 😉