5 Reasons Being a Solo Founder Sucks
I’ve recently began the journey of doing another startup. If you haven’t seen it, you can get a sneak preview here. The difference this time around is that I’m doing it solo.
They say writing can help keep you mentally fit, so why not: my five takeaways of being a solo founder. (I’ll follow this up later with five things I enjoy about being a solo founder)
Serious lack of high fives
The early days can be one of the most difficult times for a startup. You’re still trying to build your product, you’re still trying to validate it in the market and when you lose moral, a lot of times its game over.
It’s also the time where you probably won’t have any employees yet and as a solo founder, you’re going to be completely alone. I recall some of my biggest early victories in the only short time span I’ve done this current start up. In the past, I had other co-founders with me that I could celebrate with, that I could feel excited and victorious with.
When you’re a solo founder, sometimes it can feel like you’re just popping a champagne bottle alone.
When you’re not smiling, no one else is smiling
I heard someone say that as a team of two co-founders, as long as one person is smiling and in good spirits at any given time, the startup will be okay. As a solo founder, you’re probably going to be your biggest pillar to lean on so if you don’t have the ability to motivate and pick yourself up, you won’t last very long going solo.
Startups only die when founders quit so when you lose your moral and can’t pick yourself up, your startup will die.
You have to task switch a lot
Having to do a lot of things at once means that you’ll probably be more stressed while doing everything at a lower quality. The efficiency in having co-founders is that your team can very early on fall into specializations.
There’s a lot of mental overhead in having to be able to watch over the product, talk to users, design and build the product all simultaneously. Your mental cache is only so big and every time we switch between tasks, there’s going to be some down time to get revamped up on where we once were.
It’s easy to swerve dangerously
There’s a phenomena where if you were to drop anyone in a large field in near pitch blackness and tell them to walk straight, they’ll almost always literally walk in circles.
The thing is, without any visual reference point, it’s hard to know initiatively where we’re going.
One way to counteract this, I hear, is by walking with a partner. Two people walking shoulder to shoulder will help correct our natural tendency to want to swerve and go around in circles.
Hey, I know it’s a far fetched analogy, but I think there’s a lot of parallels in that and in running a startup as well. Unless you’re a very introspective person, it’s very easy to get tunnel vision in what you’re doing. A co-founder is someone you can trust to help you make those corrections when you start swerving.
It’s distracting to be alone
Being alone sucks and arguably even for the deepest of introverts. I think its in human nature to eventually want some sort of human contact and a lot of times when co-founding a company, your other co-founder is sufficient.
Without that, you’ll probably find yourself needing to hang out with friends, find other people to help motivate you, join meetups, networking events, conferences, etc. All of that is less time you can be working on your product.