lemonade standIn my latest column for VentureBeat, I wrote about my experiences as an entrepreneur during the dot-com boom, and why it’s so important not to delay if you think you’ve got a startup in you. The only way to learn how to start a company is by going out and actually doing it. There are no books, no websites, and no schools that can tell you everything you’re going to need to know.

Things you wouldn’t ordinarily think twice about, like incorporating and taking care of our nearly nonexistent finances took up a huge amount of time, as we realized that we were out of our depth. We then spent too long talking with lawyers and accountants who cost way too much. Eventually, we realized we didn’t really need such heavy-duty firepower helping us, but by then we had spent thousands on them.

We were convinced we needed to raise a lot of money, and quickly, so we could “get big fast” and then figure out our revenue model. In reality, that was exactly backwards: For our kind of business, we should have stayed small, kept the company simple, built a product that we understood and could sell, and then grown the business once we had some idea what we were doing.

Eventually, we ran into one too many roadblocks including the dot-com bust and wound the company down. We didn’t make ourselves or our investors rich, but we did return more than half of what they’d invested to them — which is more than you can say about Pets.com or Boo.com.

Read the whole column: Dylan’s Desk: The time to start a company is now | VentureBeat.