What are the intrinsic sacrifices startup founders have to make?
Consider these factors first
The startup world is always full of stories of brilliant entrepreneurs who figured out a great idea, build a great team and launched the product.
When we talk about the process of creating software products, we naturally think about the code that gets written, the architecture decisions that get made, and so on. While all of these are important parts of what makes a product successful, there are other aspects that do not seem to get much attention.
Most people don’t pay much attention to the sacrifices made by founders when it comes to running their companies. It’s not just about working hard or living in crappy locations or giving up personal time for your company.
In this article, we’re going to discuss some of the sacrifices that founders have to make that are not as obvious as people might think.
The sacrifices of the founder
The founder’s job is to bring a new concept to life and make it become a successful product. That means more than just writing code, designing an interface or building an MVP. It’s often much more difficult than that. After all, you’re the one who has the idea and you need to convince everyone around you that you are right. You need to push them and convince them that this is something they want to do too. That can be hard when they have their own jobs and families depending on them.
In addition, most startups fail. That means that there is a fair chance that you will have to work on something for a long time and lose money in the process.
So, what you need to do is give up many of your personal things. You will have to work longer hours than you would otherwise want to and sometimes even for no money. You will have less time for fun and more time in front of a screen trying to focus on getting the product out there instead of spending quality time with your family or friends.
The list goes on. The point is, it’s not all about the code or the product itself or even the hard work involved in building it. It’s much more than that, but we are not going to talk about that today.
What we are going to discuss is the sacrifices made by founders when it comes to running their companies. The main subject of this article is not the amount of work a startup founder has to do. Rather than focusing on all the things that are not being done, we want to focus on the things that are being done but might not be obvious. That way you can get a better idea of what it’s like as a founder and what it takes in order to make your startup successful.
The sacrifices of running a company — time management
Entrepreneurs have limited amounts of time for themselves each day and they often spend all their time working or trying to work instead of doing other things they would like to do. They spend more time commuting or working on things that they think are important at the moment than they spend on their families, friends, hobbies, and other personal interests.
It’s not just about spending less time with coworkers and spending more time with your family. It’s also about taking vacations every once in a while or taking time off to do some fun stuff. To put it simply — you need to find enough balance between work and personal life in order to live a happy life too.
The sacrifices of running a company — not having enough money
The amount of money that startups have can vary from project to project but most startups usually have very little money in the beginning. That means that many founders run out of money before they are able to realize their project.
When you don’t have enough money, you can either borrow it or take on a new investor in order to get funded. The latter is often the best option as it allows you to focus on completing the project without having to worry about the financial side of things. However, there are many reasons why founders don’t want to take on additional investors.
In most cases, founders would rather run their company with their own money than take additional investment from other people. This is a common issue that is faced by almost all startups out there. To put it simply, running an early-stage startup is not cheap and many founders end up running out of money just as they finish the first milestone of the project.
Thus, taking additional investment means that you have to borrow money from someone else and trust them with your personal finances. This is not a risk many founders are willing to take.
That’s why there are so many companies that don’t get funded and stay closed while others keep going on without any funding at all.
The sacrifices of running a company — not having enough time for yourself
Beside the financial part, founders also run out of time for themselves. That means that they don’t have as much free time as they would like and end up spending most of their personal life working instead of doing things that they really want to do. This is a common issue in startups as well.
Many founders work 10–12 hours per day and are not able to enjoy even one day off per week. They often feel guilty for not being able to spend enough time with their family and friends.
This can be a big issue for startups as well as it can be difficult to get away from the office for some time at the beginning of the project. That’s why many founders will try to work at home or have meetings in coffee shops if they can’t spend enough time in the office.
That way they can get some free time to go out and have fun, enjoy activities with their friends, family or other interests that do not include working on a computer.
The sacrifices of running a company — not getting enough sleep
Although sleeping more is often considered an important benefit of success, founders often don’t sleep enough, which is probably one of the most underrated sacrifices that has to be made as a startup founder.
Many founders don’t sleep enough and end up working long hours without having enough energy or focus to do the best they can. Something that is often overlooked in the startup world is the fact that your sleep cycle affects how much focus you have at work.
A good night’s rest allows you to get back on track quickly, which is very important in startups. If you find yourself struggling with productivity or lack of energy, make sure to take some time for yourself, relax and try to get more sleep.
The sacrifices of running a company — not having enough time for friends and family
Family and friends are also very important for many people and most entrepreneurs are no different. That means that many founders do not have enough time to spend with their friends and family.
Many founders don’t spend any time at all with their friends and family because they are so busy working on their projects or running the company. In addition, they often don’t like spending time with people who aren’t working on similar projects or running a company as them. That’s why many startups don’t have social events for example and don’t take vacations at all, which is a big mistake and not something that should be done in a startup like this one.
The sacrifices of running a company — not getting married
Marriage is one of the most important things in life, which means that many founders choose to delay getting married.
Many people who are not in a startup will look at this and think that it is completely unnecessary. However, there are many benefits of getting married to someone you love for example. The main one is that you have someone to spend your life with. That’s why it’s important to get married so you can always have someone who understands what you’re doing and helps you with your goals.
The sacrifices of running a company — not having enough time for hobbies and personal interests
Hobbies are very important for many people and having time for them is extremely important if they want to keep their sanity in life. Many founders don’t have enough time for hobbies, which means that they sometimes forget about them altogether during their startup journey.
However, that’s not only a big mistake, but also a waste of time you could be spending on other things such as spending time with your family or friends. The goal of a startup is to get something done and if it’s not related to your hobby, there is no point in doing the project at all.
To Sum It Up:
Overall, we’ve seen that running a company is hard work and requires many sacrifices from founders. Although most people think that building software products is incredibly hard and stressful work, it can actually be much more difficult than most people think. It’s much more than just working long hours or having no time for personal interests or hobbies. There are many hidden issues out there and you need to be aware of them in order to avoid them.
About the Author
I am the Founder of Cudy Technologies (www.cudy.co), a full-stack EdTech startup helping teachers and students learn better. I am also a mentor and angel investor in other Startups of my other interests (Proptech, Fintech, HRtech, Ride-hailing, C2C marketplaces, and SaaS). You can also find me on Cudy for early-stage Startup Founder mentorship and advice.
You can connect with me on Linkedin (https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexanderlhk) and let me know that you are a reader of my Medium posts in your invitation message.