Being A Founder Is Lonely. How To Beat It Before It Beats You

6 Walls You’re Going To Hit, With 6 Realworld Solutions
 

As a single founder, you’re the axis on which everything rests. The good, the bad and the terrifying.

– DOWNLOAD – 

Free ‘Beat Loneliness’ Workbook

– Questions to find out what’s affecting you

– Actions to take control of those feeling 

– A practical road map to help

Key Points You'll Learn From This Document

Everything In This Document Is Real-world Stories That Happened To Me To Help You

Real-world

Everything explained here is real world, from my experiences of failing and succeeding‌.

Criticism

How to spot good criticism and bad criticism, what to do with it and how to invite it in‌.

Echo Chamber

Being a solo founder we’ll talk about what I’ve done to pull myself out of my own thoughts‌.

Video Overview

Slide deck explaining the key points to pick up from this blog post.

Getting Down

How to deal with getting down, and how to pull you out of it. You’ll learn not to be so hard on yourself.

Overwhelmed

This affects all of us especially when you’re starting out, we’ll learn how I research smarter‌.

Self-Belief

This is the engine that keeps your startup running, we’ll learn how to protect it.

Fatigue

You’ll learn the importance of exercise, and how a change of environment can help‌.

Your Not Alone

Everyone is feeling like this, so you’re not alone, find like-minded people and take that pressure off.

Introduction

 
You know as a founder you’re stuck between the reality of running a business and the reality of what people think running a business is like.

“You’re getting too old, you should quit.”

“Well done, you tried it. Time to grow up.”

“They’ve millions in funding, you’ll never beat them.”

Sometimes when you’re running a business you feel like you’re spending your whole time defending your actions from people who don’t really understand what you’re doing.

You find people don’t really care enough to listen to what you’re going through but have the time to tell you what you should be doing.

Sound familiar?

It’s not that people mean any malice or are trying to crush you. But as a founder the only thing that keeps you going is self-belief, you need to keep it burning and burning strong.

In this post, I’m going to talk about the 6 barriers you’re going to hit as a founder.

I’ll give you real-life examples, and simple tools you can use to overcome each of them as they happen.

But, remember – you’re not alone – so don’t be alone. It’s a choice don’t make it your choice.  

This post isn’t about beating people up or knocking critics. It’s about perspective and sharing some tips I used myself to keep myself going. You are the boiler room – here are the tools to help you keep it burning.

 
Hi, I’m Pete These Are My Stories To Help You
I help online entrepreneurs love their life again. I do this by building software and teaching complex strategies in simple, step-by-step ways.

I’ve tried almost every business model out there, most have been in online business space from RaboDirect to Bullet, a free automated online accounting software.

Now, as a founder, I’ve helped more than 8,000 businesses grow. We launched a working version of Bullet with just €1,400.

It wasn’t always going so well. It took me years to get things off the ground. To learn about systems and how best to work them to my advantage.

In that time I’ve seen ‘unicorn’, companies come and go, I’ve seen nobody heard of bootstrapped companies explode with success.

I’m looking forward to sharing what I’ve learned and bringing experts in their fields together to help you save time, money and most of off all allow you to focus and succeed in your business.

Self-Belief

 
I was asked once what is your greatest fear. People think founders are reckless and carefree, but I think it’s the opposite.

You look at numbers, talk to people and research what you’re looking to achieve. It’s so calculated I don’t think it couldn’t be further from reckless.

But, when you step outside the ‘box’, of normality. It ultimately makes people feel uncomfortable, that in turn forces them to question you, and not themselves.

I thought about that question on ‘fear’ a lot. I think the only time I felt fear was when I questioned my own self-belief. 

– iPhone Note To Myself – 

 

Question my ability? Sure, I do that all the time. Part of being a founder is knowing your limits. I’m crap at most of what I do, but I know I’m good enough to get it to the next stage. 

Question my idea? Join the line, I question that on the daily basis, the product, the product direction, the market we’re targeting. 

Question my self-belief? Boom. That’s scary. I’ve had to defend myself so much it doesn’t phase me and it’s healthy.

But, when I question myself when I look in the mirror feel doubt. Then when I’m at my most fragile.

The reason that scared me so much is that I know startups or small companies are 100% ‘you’, powered. Anything that reduces or degrades that creates a huge risk to your company.

Take Away:

– It’s 100% normal to question yourself. So be cool with it.

– Review your plan, if it makes sense to you then it’s a good plan, believe in it.

Dealing With Criticism

 
When I get criticism I give it a score. If the person knows what they’re talking about, an expert, they get a higher score, if they don’t have the expertise they’ll get a zero score.

Of course, that depends on the subject, my wife is a nurse so if she was concerned about my health or how I was around the house then she’d get a high score for that.

But, if she thought my Facebook funnel was terrible she’d get a low score.

You need to assign the correct weighting to the correct critic.

 “Listen To Everyone and Hear No One”

Listen to everyone and hear no one, a contradiction right. What I mean by this is I’m always looking for a nugget of information that I’m missing.

 

– No Matter How Much Value You Deliver People Won’t Be Happy –

 

I’ll talk to everyone from the cleaner to the professor, but I only hear them as a collective.

If ‘the collective’, is saying I don’t get that tagline – then there is a problem with the tagline and I’ll change it.

But, if one person says there is a problem with the tagline and there might be, but I won’t change it till the collective feedback says that there’s is a problem.

Taking this step back makes you more focused and strategic, you focus on the issue, not the reaction.

Take Away:

– If you’re hearing the same feedback, then you need to listen to it.

– Don’t get defensive, invite people to be critical “I only want to hear the bad, tell me what you’d change and why”.

 

“There Are 1,000’s Of Founders Feeling Like You Are Now. Find Them & Help Each Other.”

Getting Down

 

The world is obsessed with people being happy and grateful at the moment. But, you know what, it’s ok to be down too.

There are lots of things that can bring you down, failure, season changes, family and health.

Failure is just part of everyday life in a startup. We launched a course that we spent 4 months working on and it flopped.

We were looking to use the money raised from that to go into the US market. So there was a lot riding on it.

 – Post Rejection They Realised They Hadn’t Read Our Application Right – 

 

I know we didn’t market it right, the launch emails went out on a Sunday, the funnel copy was wrong. No big deal we can change it, but at that time it was a kick in the nuts.

That shit is going to get you down, and that’s ok. You’re having a shit day, don’t fight it.

But, also don’t let it take over and become a shit week or month.

We’re founders, we’re hard on ourselves. Be a little kinder.

Take Away:

– If you’re having a shit day. Just have a shit day. But don’t make it a shit week.

– Take some time off, and do something physical I find a good hour long walk allows me to bring some perspective to the situation. Get that blood flowing again.

Fatigue

 

It’s the big bear in the room, isn’t it?

It starts to spin this self-perpetuating wheel. You feel fatigued – you don’t get anything done – you beat yourself up – you feel more fatigued – you get even less done – you’re now beating yourself up even more and so on.

Personally, I find fatigue the hardest to deal with. It plays on my sense of responsibility to staff, the company, my wife, friends and family.

Unlike criticism you can’t shield yourself from it, it’s inside you laughing in your face.

I approach fatigue not too dissimilar to feeling down, I suppose they’re interconnected. I take a step back and try and get some context to what is making feel like that.

– Conversation With Another Founder Who Was Also Feeling Fatigue –

 

I let the fatigue run its course without letting it take over, like a day or two.

I then usually put a plan together and kick that off, not a crazy plan of 100 tasks a day but say 1 or 2 goals to bring me out of it. Achievement helps me as it’s usually the lack of that send me there.

I also find a something like a change of scene helps a lot. I work at home sometimes but I know I focus better when I’m in a busy space with my headphones on.

So I might go work in a coffee shop for a day, somewhere buzzy and full of young people. Just enough to kick start me again.

Take Away:

– A change in environment for a day or two can be great.

– Again some expertise, even a walk to get you out of it.

– Be honest with yourself, if browsing the daily mail is a distractor don’t bring your laptop.

– DOWNLOAD – 

Free ‘Beat Loneliness’ Workbook

– Questions to find out what’s affecting you

– Actions to take control of those feeling 

– A practical road map to help

Echo Chamber

 

Post-2017 US elections and Brexit have brought the term “Echo Chamber”, to the front of mind.

As a founder, you’re forced into that echo chamber, even if you’re the most sociable person on earth.

The biggest risk of a founder echo chamber is it becomes hard to get perspective, hard to see the path up the cliff face when your nose is pressed up against it.

After losing my co-founder about a year ago it became more obvious to me. Ultimately people don’t really care about your business.

They might care greatly about you, and hope the business does well for you. But, the business, they couldn’t care less about it.

Building Bullet pushed me into a pretty new type of business, it as SaaS selling the software as a monthly subscription, it was online, and we wanted to market the product via content marketing rather than paid marketing.

This isolated me from pretty much everyone I knew. I only had one friend in that space. As a result, there was absolutely no point in talking to anyone. This felt very isolating cause it was.

Nobody cared enough about the business to put the time into really understanding it, and why would they, they’d their own shit to deal with.

I was pretty broke and had lost a founder. That pretty much put me on my own moon, orbiting earth where I lived.

First thing I did was look to hire someone. I didn’t have the money to hire someone from Ireland or the US – costs of living are very high here and in the US.

So I turned to a country where I’d worked with smart developers before, Ukraine. I’d built previous business called GroupyFit with a development company in Ukraine.

I contacted my liaison there to get some advice, a month later Mariana had joined the company full time. Without her, I’d be lost. We do a video call every morning were we discuss the tasks for the day and what’s happened in Bullet.

This reduces the echo, and give you someone who is as committed to the business as you are. Although our morning call only lasts about 30-60 minutes, if I needed it to be 5 hours it could be 5 hours.

– Mariana Being Very Serious As Usual –

Couching is another avenue I used to help. I’d noticed a lot of business people in the I admired from the US all did coaching, some spending 50k a year on it.

I’d never looked for coaching in Ireland as business couches with online business experience didn’t exist.

To be honest I was suspicious of it. There is so much referral selling online it’s hard to spot who’s genuine.

After signing up for one and cancelling it I’d kind of given up on the idea. Then one day I’d sent a mail to VideoFruit.com asking a question about funnels (failed course launch above).

That question turned into a conversation which turned into call which turned into a 2-month coaching session.

I’m only a couple of weeks into it, and starting it I was told you probably won’t learn anything new but you’ll get focus. That I did, and a little bit of humble pie!

One of the great things out of the coaching is the group calls with other founders giving their feedback. If you don’t have the money for coaching, set up a call video call with 4 other founders. Stick to an hour and one goal ‘Does my tagline work’.

Take Away:

– Hire someone, if you can’t afford a full-time person hire someone part-time.

– Get a mentor, lots of people are happy to help for free. 1 call per week, 30 minutes.

– Get a couch if you can afford it.

– Set up a group call with other founders, use tools like zoom.us, keep it focused on one topic per week. You can save the feedback and post the link to a shared Google doc.

– Join a Facebook group.

"Genius Is 1% Inspiration, And 99% Perspiration"

” Thomas Edison 

Overwhelmed

 

Anytime I give a talk or and people come up to me for advice the word ‘overwhelmed’, comes up a lot.

I’ve to be a copywriter, designer, web designer, facebook marketeer, funnel creator etc. It’s easy to see how when people are starting out they feel overwhelmed.

This, of course, isn’t helped by content marketing. You get hammered with top ten tips for this and that before you know it your inbox is loaded with marketing emails.

Ultimately being overwhelmed is the feeling that you’ve lost control.

Here are some of the things I did to overcome that.

I don’t use Google to search for answers on how to do things too many rabbit holes. If I want to know about funnels for training courses I’ll go to Teachable.com.

– My Daily A4 Plan –

I pick a site that sells a tool that specialises in what I’m after. They’re the experts, so the content they’ll write will be expert content.

Take one/two sources and just use that. There isn’t anything 100% new out on the internet. This tactic will get you 90% to where you want to be, with 10% of the effort.

I limited myself to about 25 minutes for any kind of research. That’s enough to get me started then start building your action list on it.

I take a step back and write a project plan. Then look at what I can put on autopilot. Say I want to target startups. I’ll write up a plan and break them into normal sections say twitter marketing, email marketing etc.

I’ll then find where on twitter they are communities for startups, startup events, startup hashtags.

Once I have that I’ll write all my tweets linking to my content and put it on autopilot. Zero mindless tweets.

I’ll record the results because that ultimately tells you your in control, even a poor result is getting you closer to a good result. You’re in control.

I’ll outsource too Up Work or Fiverr, look for reviews and recommendations. If you’ve written a spec like I mentioned above you can just give them that to execute.

Take Away:

– Start with expert companies and not Google.

– Time yourself, just use your phone. It’s hard habit but become addictive.

– Focus on one objective, take a step back, build a plan, and review results.

You're Not Alone

 

Don’t stay lonely – get a good support network around you.

Find people in a similar situation to you.

Get 90% of the knowledge from 10% of the work. It’s enough, trust me.

Keep healthy, you don’t have to be eating raw eggs. Just get up and move.

Set-up short focused weekly meetings.

Stop beating yourself up, this is hard. Have your shit day. The sun always comes up in the morning.

Let me know how you fight fatigue below in the comments, I always respond. 

– Join Our Free Facebook Group – 

– DOWNLOAD – 

Free ‘Beat Loneliness’ Workbook

– Questions to find out what’s affecting you

– Actions to take control of those feeling 

– A practical road map to help

Next In The Series

MORE FREE ACTIONABLE LEARNING FOR YOU TO IMPROVE YOUR BUSINESS

Irish Government Small Business Grants Guide
Irish Government Small Business Grants Guide
Irish Government Small Business Grants Guide

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This