(At StartupNation's request, the following words of advice were provided by Brandon Labman, a winner in the 2008 StartupNation Dorm-Based 20.)
Here's the deal - we created ROCS during our freshman year at George Mason University with no real clue as to what we were doing. Tom and I didn't know much about the student job market we were entering other than the fact that we didn't really like it. Both of us combined had zero years experience in the Human Resources industry, we didn't really know what the letters "H-R" stood for, and during our initial round of funding we raised a whopping $400 in capital from two investors—us!
That said, we'll try and not to sound like a self-help book while providing a few pearls of wisdom.
When telling people about our new business venture years ago, we heard it all. We categorized their opinions: laughers, doubters, and punch-line waiters (when we stopped talking, they thought a punch-line was coming). As an entrepreneur, starting a business is going to be embarrassing (at some point) because you're going to screw up eventually.
The best mindset you can have when starting your own business is to realize that the best ideas come from failure. So, in the meantime, know you're going to look stupid occasionally – or wear the wrong suit/tie combo- or make a quasi-business pitch to a friend's parent while stammering like Chris Farley, in the movie Tommy Boy.
Lastly, understand that in some way your business will suck at some point. Realize that your product or service will have its faults and welcome the fact that your future clients might see these faults, its ok.
One of the best things we learned how to do was to be honest and always call a spade a spade. That lets us do our job - which is to make sure that mistake gets fixed and figure out how to avoid doing that again. Rinse and repeat. That's how we keep getting better and keep our customers happy.