Emotions going crazy as the fire rages on. What would normally be water, fighting the blazing rage, is transformed into kerosene only making it spread faster. This leads to ultimate consumption of everything in it’s path.
This is a metaphor for the latest and most drastic pivot my newest venture has made in the last two months. In a whirlwind of a startup, this is seriously saying a lot.
The goal was to create an umbrella company that would take the shape of a crowdfunding platform, offering investment opportunities and supporting charitable causes. There are a lot of very detailed specifics that made this idea so awesome but because it will be executed later down the road, leaking trade secrets and detailed information is impossible. Just know that it’s fucking awesome and revolutionary.
What made this so special is I believe I’ve found my calling. That is startup culture, developing business ideas, and helping humanity accelerate through amazing causes around the globe.
This umbrella company has been evolving over the last five years or so (been creating great ideas and moving from one to another so fast that haven’t really produced any results) but the last year and a half, and specifically the last six months, have been game changing. But the last three months have been monumental-and the reason for this is because I truly thought the foundation for the team had been assembled and everyone was ready to move forward. That all changed this morning as I was walking to the bus stop in Old Yafo City and was invited into a group channel on some sophisticated encrypted communication app that not even Julian Assange could get into (still love email).
For the last few days team communication has been awful. Just getting a hold of the other founders was impossible. The feeling in my stomach began and thoughts were racing. Everyone’s roles and responsibilities were changing, expectations were lifted, and people were juggling their personal lives at the same time. It was a recipe for disaster.
As I entered the call it was immediately clear that my intuition was correct and shit had hit the fan. Justification began, the dialogue was heated, and the dream was thrown on the floor and stomped on. The world had just come crashing down. They had decided they could no longer be committed as founders.
The team brought up…well…a nice variety of fucking excuses. From astronomical expectations to job security, they were all there. Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying, some of the reasoning was perfectly logical and there were major concerns to be addressed. But at its’ root, a startup is a daily grind into a vast world of uncertainty. This one was the world of uncertainty and scope of work injected with super complexity juice because it was so complex and required A TON of dedication and resources.
But what this all revolves around is dedication. It’s completely understandable to have priorities in life. Whether that’s school, “work”, family, health, or anything else that may be important to a person. But when you’re trying to create something out of nothing, a startup, this has to be the number one priority. It doesn’t mean your time has to be directly correlated, just the mindset. You’re getting everything else done so you can finally sit down and work on the project. And more importantly, the project shouldn’t be something that’s not considered work-it should be a passion that you can’t let go. Whether you’re able to sit down and “work” for 5 hours a week or 50, the consistent effort will cause the pieces to fall into place. That is if it’s centered around a great idea supported by a team of dedicated and passionate people. A dream won’t become a reality by itself. The dreamer has to be willing to sacrifice sleep, fun, weekends, working a shitty job until the business can cashflow enough to pay a salary, and much more. If this doesn’t sound appealing go get a “real job” lollolololololol.
This leads to the next point. As an entrepreneur, it’s pretty difficult to let a good idea go, but simply impossible to let a great one go. This was one of the points brought up in this bomb of a conversation. Despite knowing what needed to be done and having capable people of doing it, the other founders were convinced it was necessary to let the fish get away-a fucking marlin no less! It was mind boggling to me. How could this be possible? Here were three extremely talented young entrepreneurs that were ready to throw in the towel at the first MAJOR setback. Because having personally been through a ton of setbacks in life, my personal grit has developed so it really is looking through a different lens. But come on…the whole thing is absurd.
Lessons learned…and lessons reinforced.
The team- There’s just nothing more important. Having reliable people is one thing. Finding reliable people that can either easily see your startup vision or create their own that can mesh with yours is not an easy feat to accomplish. They also have to be self-motivated go getters to bring any value to the startup culture. One hard lesson learned here was trying to rev people up that aren’t even halfway there is like herding cats. And it directly effects personal production because you’re spending all the available project time on managing the damn team. Useless.
When trying to found something, don’t put people in irreplaceable roles unless they have a significant amount of $ invested. Even if you confirm a million times that people are “ready to go” and “committed” and “will do whatever it takes” and “are willing to make sacrifices and grind”, it can all go to shit when they decide to up and leave because it no longer works for their life plan or current time table.
Sometimes it’s necessary to put things on hold. Trying to juggle a bunch of things at once is doable. But when the foundation is shaky it simply makes it impossible. What I’ve accepted through this process is that right now the development of the overall vision, a revolution crowdfunding platform, is going to be a 3-5 year play instead of a 3-5 month play. And some of the subsidiary businesses as well. There are a handful of great ideas here, but unfortunately my personal life goals can’t be sacrificed to make the business goals happen right this second. But that doesn’t mean one or two can’t get off the ground😊
Time to pivot and get ultra-focused on a couple startups instead of ten!