You know what’s hard? Starting a company.
You know what’s fun? Starting a company.
There’s something about the insane challenge that makes starting a company so incredible. Having said that, I really don’t enjoy being told I’m wrong, or that my plan/idea/approach won’t work. (I don’t know many people who like that!) And when people tell me, “That’ll never work,” I feel it. I’ve got reasonably thick skin, but it stings just the same. Every startup faces a continuous cycle of “bumps on the road”—and they hurt.
Every single day as a founder has challenges. And each challenge can push you down a little bit (just like every victory–no matter how small–brings you back up.) The rollercoaster goes up and down multiple times a day and it’s a wild ride.
When you’re feeling a bit down, a bit bruised, a bit like you’ve been punched repeatedly in the face by a 600-pound lunatic gorilla, you’ve got to rely on your co-founders to bring you back. Great co-founders are there to provide the right pick-me-up and emotional support when necessary. Great co-founders are there to listen, understand and re-invigorate you when you’re feeling low. And the relationship is reciprocal. Your co-founder will have her moments too, when she’s feeling a bit worn down and needs to be re-energized.
Having a real purpose and vision helps. It’s the foundation that you build your startup on, and great co-founders are there to remind you of that purpose and vision, to be honest and speak candidly, when they see you swaying away or letting the frustration seep in too deeply. It’s easy to take a bit of customer or investor feedback and want to re-steer the ship instantly, hoping that you’ll point it in the right direction. A great co-founder is there to take a step back, analyze things honestly and steer with a steady hand.
It’s impossible to stay upbeat and motivated all the time.
It’s impossible to stay on track and focused on what matters all the time.
Great co-founders recognize when you’re wobbling, and provide the necessary shoulder, support and “oomph” to keep you pushing forward. Great co-founders pick up the slack, just a little bit, to re-inspire you when the rollercoaster is heading down, knowing that their efforts will bring you back stronger than ever.