May 30, 2018
Startups are all the hype now. And this can be absolutely amazing since this huge support network has grown to help founders thrive. There’s also more awareness around the concept of starting businesses meant to scale. Now, if you see a problem and invest your life savings in solving it, you’re no longer considered crazy, you’re a visionary.
It is a hectic, yet, rewarding journey. A startup founder knows that reaching the end line is not the goal, that’d be impossible since the problems and solutions keep evolving. Enjoying the journey is the goal. And throughout it, let me tell you, you’ll find some interesting people and shortcuts. A lot of signs pointing to different directions will make you scratch your head and not really know where to go. Like Dorothy, you’ll have to try and pick what’s going to make you actually proceed, and not go around in circles.
Here are some of the things you’ll undoubtedly stumble upon in your Startup journey:
Oh yeah, you’ll hear this more than once. Sometimes you’ll connect with that person, and she’ll actually add to your idea and help you walk one step further. Other times you can tell it’s just small talk. What’s the lesson here? If other people had the same idea, take it as an endorsement to your business. It means, there’s actually a meaningful problem. Also, it says you were one of the few that had the guts to try to solve it. Congrats, you’re ahead of many others on your journey!
There’ll always be that random person that listens to your pitch and assumes that throughout the 1374374 hours you’ve been working on your business, you forgot to think of this and that. And it’s usually not someone in your public spectrum or a trusted advisor. It’s just a know-it-all that happened to cross your path. I learned to be humble, take notes, nod my head, but not spend more than 5 minutes on it. You’ve got to focus on what really matters, and not distract yourself by taking an unnecessary detour.
Some lovely souls may cross your path. They come with a smile, open arms and an “I want to help you reach your goals” speech. They’ll tell you they understand where you’re coming from, and that they’re happy to connect you with essential players in the industry. And then, when they gain your trust, they’ll come at you with a $172,438,438 invoice. All of that before even delivering anything on their end. Be aware of these wolves. If they’re charging for it, it means they don’t really know anything about startups after all.
Accelerators are great, and by any means, you should take all opportunities to join one that can offer great connections in your field. But, it is sooo much easier when you fit the “Single Millennial living in Silicon Valley” Founder profile. If this is not you, it might be just a little bit harder to pack your whole house and drag the family to another state or country for 3-6 months. But if you can, it’s an actual legit shortcut for your Startup journey, and you should take it!
Last but not least, a lot of exciting emails with great graphs and visuals will arrive in your inbox. These come from the Service Land, where there’s an abundance of shortcuts on display for you to choose from. There are indeed great services, and they’re usually accessible. But subscriptions add up, and so do your daily chores as a Startup Founder. A great way to filter these shortcuts is scheduling demos before committing, to make sure that specific service is a fit for you
The hype brought more people to the journey, and it’s great because now it feels more like a 5k than a solo climb to the top of the Everest. You’re not alone, but you can certainly feel lonely in the crowd if you don’t focus on surrounding yourself with the best company that’ll motivate you to keep going. So gear up, tight your shoelaces, invite the best people to join you and keep on going! Hopefully, your reward will be thousands of grateful smiles, from people who loved to have their problem solved by a visionary like you.
Lizia is writing out of her own experience here. She's one of the Co-Founders at City Catt and has been enjoying every minute of this crazy Startup life, since problem-solving has always been one of her hobbies. She's also a wifey, mom to 3 very energetic boys and an experienced Journalist. If you want to read more about her Founder journey, check out this blog post.