There is no “perfect founder”. Startups are crazy and require more work than you can imagine, and every startup is different. I have made a lot of mistakes along the way, but have learned from each mistake to enable myself to be a better founder. Everyone out there is capable of doing these things (women, men, minotaurs, and others). The key is figuring out how these apply to yourself and doing it. My learnings as a founder can be summarized in nine key takeaways.
Remind yourself daily you have the right to be here
No one is inherently better, smarter or more worthy to be a founder than you. Do not let anyone make you feel as if you do not deserve to follow your dreams and ambitions. If you put in the work, you have every right to be here.
Choose investors wisely
Your investors are your pit crew. They pull you up when you fall on your ass, and know when to kick it into gear. The right investors believe in not only your dream but also your team, they understand that things will not go to plan, and they know when to reel you in. Big ideas grow from small executions.
Know your users
Understand their problem, talk with them, and research the space. You can build an amazing product that has all the right bells and whistles, but if your users are not going to use it, you have wasted time and resources. People love to talk, especially about things that can make their life easier, so reach out and actually listen to what they are saying.
There will be bad days, bad weeks, let’s be real...bad months even (yep, an entire month will go completely wrong) but there will be little wins along the way. Take the wins when you can and continue to learn and grow from the bad. A key to surviving is maintaining a lean lifestyle. By making two simple changes you can save significant amounts of money. Cook food instead of eating out all the time. You will eat healthier, save money, and you will spend more time getting work done because your food is already in the refrigerator waiting for you (cook a ton of food on Sunday before the week begins!). Second - take public transportation. Yes, it is slower. Answer emails. Gameplan for meetings. You can spend that time well, and you will save a lot of money.
Newton’s First Law of Motion
"An object continues in a state of rest, or in a state of motion at a constant speed along a straight line, unless compelled to change that state by a net force." a.k.a. stop talking about it and do it. Start a company, build something, get in motion, once you are moving, don’t stop.
Tell yourself the truth
If something is not working - a team member, a product, a business - own up to it. Understand your numbers, where they are coming from, and why they look the way the do. Good numbers do not always equate to a good product, a smart person does not equal a great team member, and a large market does not equal a large business. Be honest with yourself about what is working and what is not.
Stand up for yourself
Everyone has an opinion about what your company should be doing better. Develop a strong filter to know which nuggets of advice actually make sense. At the end of the day it is your company: you talk to your users, you have done the research, and you know the market. You have to believe in your decisions as a leader.
Surround yourself with a good support group
Accelerators are great at building this network. You instantly get good investors on your team and a team of founders going through the same wild ride you are. Find good mentors and advisors who have been through similar experiences, and ask them for advice. One of the hardest things to do as a leader is admit when you need help, but it is important to send the flare early to your support team. They are here to help you, and if they are good, they want you to succeed as much as you do.
Always be learning
People say the outcome of a start up is binary: fail or succeed. I disagree. If you can learn from each experience and grow as a leader, founder, and person, then you have already succeeded. Chances are you will not join the unicorn club this time around, but it is important to learn from each experience, take each high and low as a building block for a better founder foundation.
If you are a female (or a male, or a minotaur, or anything in between), and you want to learn to excel in these 9 areas, then you have the right to be here too.
You can’t go past a news paper, radio show or television news story these days without being flooded by all things Bitcoin or Crypto Currency. Some say it’s the new world of money while others suggest its all just a passing fad. Whatever your position or preference of...
This week I announced a suite of measures for the Government to consider when it comes to small and medium sized business and what we can all be doing as we start to look at emerging from the COVID19 lockdown. The reality is that a good number of small business owners,...
As someone who has been working in suicide prevention for some years now i know that often having a simple conversation can make all of the difference when a loved one is doing it tough. COVID 19 and the lock down tends to amplify how we feel when we are isolation or a...
We know that mob out there are uncertain as to what the COVID-19 / Corona Virus means for them – this can cause us all to panic and some in community more so that others. Panic attacks can compound the situation so we gather some information about what you can do now t...
Don’t forget our elders can suffer in silence too: suicide prevention
Many people think that mental health and suicide are not topics that impact our elders but they could not be more wrong. The data tells us there continues to be an emerging trend when it comes to peop...