Great Entrepreneurs Are Hands On.

A slide from Adora Cheung, Founder of Homejoy presentation for Lecture 4. I especially put a lot of thoughts into the first point: Learn a lot, become an expert.

 Adora knew that she wasn’t a natural born cleaner, but realized she needed to learn how to clean to run a cleaning company. Instead of avoiding the discomfort of scrubbing toilets and cleaning ovens, she threw herself headfirst into the industry. She gave herself a self-guided apprenticeship in the field, learning about cleaning chemicals, how to clean a room with maximum efficacy and what to do when something breaks while in a customer’s house. via From failure to $37M funding with Adora Cheung – Homejoy

Adora was not expert in cleaning, so to know more about the space that she is going to start her business in, she first join a cleaning company. This gave her the domain knowledge and “unfair competitive advantage” she has over “other entrepreneurs” who simply decide to start a business in the same space.

Learning

Entrepreneurs are self aware.  When we feel that we lack certain knowledge, we could either do it ourselves or simply outsource the problem. However to determine the problem that you are trying to solve while building your startup, there is no way that we can outsource it. So the best way is to go hands on with it and I believe great entrepreneurs are hands on.

From a personal experience

If you are looking to join a startup, I think that beside joining a “rocket ship1“. Another consideration is to see if the founders themselves are hands on. There are entrepreneurs who are “selling snake oil”, they talk a lot and do very little. They think that raising a bit of money from their “beautiful presentation”, they can hire people to solve all sorts of problems for them. These kind of entrepreneurs make the company failed.

I believe in Lecture 3 during PG’s sharing. He mentioned that a company becomes successful because the founders make it successful.

This is the very case why great entrepreneurs are hands on2.


  1. a startup with lots of early traction and growth 
  2. This also reminds me of Intraix first year, we had nothing. Zero and shit traction. Darrell went to sign up for a course to become an Singapore Energy Certified Manager, while I became a Green Mark Manager. We did these in hope to understand the building industry better and also to take up some consulting gigs to keep the company alive. These consulting gigs in turn gave us domain knowledge that is tremendously helpful in building the company. 
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