If you think you have a great startup idea, but you don’t have the skills to build it yourself, most people will tell you to give it up. Ideas are a dime a dozen and execution is what matters. This is partly true; having an idea — even a good one — is easier than shipping a good product, but that doesn’t mean you should give up!

Here are 3 ways you can make forward progress on your startup, even if you don’t have the skills to move forward yourself.

1. Find Someone with the Skills You Need

This might be the easiest way forward, but it’s also one of the most expensive. Everyone dreams of finding the perfect partner who can build everything and is willing to work free in exchange for 50% equity. Truth is, that doesn’t happen very often. People with these skills generally understand how valuable they are and aren’t willing to give them away. Generally, if you want to bring in the skills you need to build something great, you’re going to have to pay for it.

If you have some money to invest in your idea, the people who can make it happen are out there. This is often a much quicker way to market than the next alternative.

2. Learn to Build it Yourself

There are quite a few upsides for this one. It’s extremely gratifying to learn a new skill and to see your dream start becoming a reality. Thanks to the internet, it can be really cheap too. Resources for learning just about anything you can imagine are freely available online. If you need a bit more hand-holding, you can find economical ways to learn that will help you bootstrap your education.

The downside is huge: it can take a lot of time and dedication to learn what you need to know to build a startup. Let’s take a web-based application for example. If your startup delivers value by way of a web app, you’ll need to learn HTML, CSS, Javascript, front-end development, and back-end development, along with at least the basics of HTTP, web app architecture, dev ops, DNS, performance, databases, and accessibility. There are so many pieces you need to put together to make the jigsaw puzzle that is your app, it can be really intimidating… and take a long time. If you can stick it out, though, it’s extremely rewarding… plus, you can hold on to all of your equity if you want!

3. Start Working on the Pieces You Can Do

If you think there’s nothing you can do to get started, you’ve overlooked some of the early work toward building a successful startup. Most of these can be done by anyone.

  • customer development- The process of making sure you’re building the right thing and that people will be ready to buy the thing you’re building.
  • specs, mock-ups, drawings- Find some way to show people what your finished product will look like. It could be as simple as some sketches if it’s a physical product or some hand-drawn mock-ups for a web app. Show the process your user will go through to use your product. Start thinking deeply about how your product will work and get it down so that you can share it.
  • business plan- Depending on how you’re going to get funded, you may need a business plan. If you don’t need it, don’t bother, but, if you do, you can do this as well as anyone!
  • market research- What’s the total size of your market? How much of it can you realistically capture? How much can you make if you succeed at capturing this much?

Whatever You Do, Don’t Make it Nothing!

You’re most excited about an idea when it’s new, and that’s when you’ll have the momentum to push you forward. Harness that momentum and channel it into progress, whatever form that may take. Even if you can’t do everything yourself, you can still find a way to take steps toward having the startup you want!