Truths about being a founder that are rarely spoken about.
When was the last time you bought a product or service, because the founder is from IIT, or because the founder hasn’t drawn a salary for the past 6 months, or that the founder is going through depression?
You couldn’t care less! No one cares a fuck about who you are. The market is the market!
It doesn’t care about who you are, as a founder. Which school you went to. What you have given up to get to this point.
And that is hard hitting for a lot of people who are used to things working their way because of where they come from in life.
As a founder, you are a celebrity, whether you like it or not. Every word you speak will be analyzed, every action of yours will be reproduced, every standard you allow will set a new standard.
Think of how you speak, how you act and the standards you accept.
Investors are in the business of entering and exiting businesses.
They are not in the business of making your business work.
If entering your business works for them, they will enter. But they will also eventually exit.
They NEED to exit.
That’s the business they are in.
Even a bad team can work in a good market.
But a good team can’t make a bad market work.
The market is (almost) everything.
As a founder, the only time you are called successful is when you take unpopular decisions and they work out.
Taking popular decisions is “easy”.
And If your decisions don’t work out, then you are as it is good for nothing.
That’s massive odds against you.
Early on, the only hiring technique that works is
Attitude >> Experience >> Education
At some point in your evolution, you will need
experience >> attitude.
But… you won’t know when precisely.
So you will continue to hire for attitude, fuck up, put pressure on yourself to make them work and blame yourself a lot more than you ought to have.
Everyone is fucked! EVERYONE!
But it is only in close quarters that they will admit to it, or you will be able to see it.
Until then, you will drown yourself in self doubt everyday, thinking you are the only fucktard who doesn’t get it, when everyone else around you does.
Your emotional and mental state as a founder has a direct impact on your startup.
People see that you are anxious.
They know when you are depressed.
Don’t pretend to wear red underwear over your pants.
Act human. Be human.
Its ok – no one was born knowing how to be a founder
Entrepreneurship is fucking hard.
The early excitement of building a team, planning a name, launching the first version will fade away.
And insane details that life has, will begin to emerge.
At that point, there is only one thing that will help.
The stories you tell yourself.
Usain Bolt prepares for his race.
And then he runs the race. And wins.
That moment – when he crosses the finish line. That’s etched in history.
Such moments are rare, if at all, when you are a founder.
It is the journey you have to fall in love with. There is no destination!
You will have to layoff people. At some point.
And tell you what – it will be your fucking fault.
Not a pandemic, not your investors, not your customers.
And that will kill you within, the first time it happens. You will feel like a murderer. An asshole.
And nothing would have prepared you to deal with it.
It will be the first thing you will think of every morning.
Until one day, when it won’t be.
People will come to you with problems.
You’ll think they have come for solutions.
No – they have come with problems.
But you will burden yourself with the search of the solution.
And if you don’t find it, which most likely you won’t, you will knowingly offer a lousy solution.
You will take everything personally.
The stapler not working – your fault.
People leaving – your fault.
Office is far for people – your fault.
You are not growing – your fault.
You will share credit for all the good things.
And kill yourself within for all the things gone wrong.
The world will continue to define success and failure for you
Raised money – success
Forbes list – success
Shut down – failure
Not growing – failure
You will live someone’s life, unless you realize it.
And start living yours.
In the end, keep reminding yourself of why you became a founder in the first place.
You wanted to be happy doing it, feel fulfilled being one, desired peace from it.
Or whatever else was it.
Because that is the only thing the matters.
Fuck the market. Do what is right for you.