ArticleWhy do Founders Suck at Asking for Help?

Why do Founders Suck at Asking for Help?

Why do Founders seem so reluctant to ask for help?

We'd think in a business that involves nothing but unanswered questions, our arms would be tired from raising our hands to ask for more help. But instead, we tend to constantly motor through problems that we have no idea how to solve, or have very little experience with, as if we're the best person to solve them.

The source of this tends to be a lack of understanding. In many cases we simply don't realize that the problems we are solving already have readily available solutions, and more so, super experienced people who are more than willing to hand them to us.

It's All Been Solved Already

What if I were to tell you that nearly every problem that you're solving is only new to you as the Fo...

ArticleThe Value of Actually Getting Paid

The Value of Actually Getting Paid

All startup hype aside, actually getting paid kinda matters.

The short line of highly visible, massive startup successes is vastly overwhelmed by the long, long, long line of Founders (and their staff) who racked up all kinds of debt with nothing to show for it. That's the part of the story no one likes to talk about — actually getting paid.

Building a startup is synonymous with deferred compensation and equity fortunes, but it masks a very real truth which is very few of those paper fortunes every become liquid. As Founders, while we benefit from amassing those paper fortunes, we need to be entirely focused on the real paper — getting paid with cash money.

Watching Monopoly Money Millionaires

It's so easy to get caught up in the value of "...

ArticleWill Investors Bail Me Out?

Will Investors Bail Me Out?

Some investors may be considered "angels" — but they are no saints!

That's why when it comes to getting "bailed out" by future investors, whether it be compensating us personally for money we've lost or helping to get our startup out of debt, we're entirely on our own. We've helped thousands of Founders raise capital, and invariably, many ask whether new investors would be willing to cover their previous losses or investments. The short answer is "absolutely not." But the longer answer may help you understand exactly why.

What Debts Are We Talking About?

The most common debts Founders ask about are personal debt they've created in financing the company or forgone compensation. The question often looks like, "I've put in $100,000 of my own m...

ArticleIs the Problem the Player or the Coach?

Is the Problem the Player or the Coach?

Founders — at what point is the problem our ability to manage versus the capability of the talent we manage?

Our entire startup is fundamentally limited by the quality of our talent and the quality of our management. So how do we know when we're tapped out on either? If we don't have a firm understanding of where our team is limited, we can't address fundamental issues that prevent us from growing.

Yet it's easy for managers to blame talent and for talent to blame managers. How do we as Founders assess both to determine who needs attention? First, we need to understand what the limiting factors are.

Turning Water Into Wine

At some point, no matter how good of a manager we are, we cap on the quality of our talent. For example, if LeBron Jame...

ArticleDo People Really Want Me to Succeed?

Do People Really Want Me to Succeed?

The sneaky secret of being a Founder is that very few people want to see us succeed.

That's kind of messed up, right? We'd think that building something new in the world, creating jobs, and pursuing our own success would be something everyone could get behind, with only "fans in the stands," as it were.

That does sound awesome, but the reality is way different. We try not to think about it and mostly don't talk about it, but the people in the stands, even when they are cheering us on, are also hoping we lose. It's an important dynamic to understand for Founders who are becoming successful for the first time, and how success can sometimes make people's view of us worsen.

Why People Want Us to Fail

I could get into some deep psychology here,...

ArticleYou Only Think You Work Hard

You Only Think You Work Hard

Most people think they work hard when, in fact, they hardly work.

If you ask the average person if they work hard, most will tell you, "Yes!" with a combination of pride and resentment. The idea of working hard is generally associated with a measure of self-worth and contribution, so naturally, we'd all like to believe we're part of that.

But what is the cost of "thinking" we work hard while actually being fairly shitty at it? What happens when everyone around us (including us!) genuinely believes they work super hard, even though their actual output and productivity aren't that great?

As startups, we live and die by our productivity and that of our teams, so if we're all operating under the illusion of "working hard" without having any met...

ArticleSMALL is the New Big — Embracing Efficiency in the Age of AI

SMALL is the New Big — Embracing Efficiency in the Age of AI

The new mark of a standout Founder is no longer how big they can make their staff — it's how small they can keep it.

Oh, how times have changed, my friends. For hundreds of years, we graded the value and success of a company based on how "big" it had become, and headcount was always the leading indicator. "We've scaled to 1,000 people!" would have been the badge of honor up until the past year, and now it begs the most obvious question, "Why?"

We're entering the Age of Efficiency, where we are rewarded not for a bloated headcount but for a tiny headcount that can produce even greater output. And I've got to say — I couldn't be happier about it because, as startups, this is the dream we've all been waiting for.

In Case You Missed It

Why We P...

ArticleThe 9 Best Growth Agencies for Startups

The 9 Best Growth Agencies for Startups

What an exciting moment! You’re looking to scale up your startup and need to bring in a growth agency to help you do that. But, it’s a big decision. Choosing the wrong agency will lead to months of delayed growth, thousands of dollars in wasted spend, and difficult conversations down the line trying to understand where it all went wrong.

This means it is vitally important you make the right decision from the get-go. There are hundreds of marketing agencies out there, but if you are in the startup phase of growth I’d recommend going with a startup growth agency that has experience in the earlier stages.

I have done some of the research for you by putting together a list of the top 9 startup agencies I know deliver great results. So, at least...

ArticleNever Share Your Net Worth

Never Share Your Net Worth

"Never tell anyone how much money you have. They will only judge you by it or try to take it from you."

That was some of the best advice I've ever gotten from the son of a well-known billionaire after my first startup just started to take off. At the time, I had just started to make some money, and like any poor kid who just came into some cash, I wanted the whole world to know just how well I had done.

So yeah, I was the douchebag posting pictures of my Lamborghini, only social media didn't exist yet, so I guess I was just emailing them, which is way worse! Little did I know at the time how much trouble my personal PR campaign would create for me.

They Will Only Judge You by it

One of the things I first started noticing was that everyone w...

ArticleThis is BOOTSTRAPPED — 3 Strategies to Build Your Startup Without Funding

This is BOOTSTRAPPED — 3 Strategies to Build Your Startup Without Funding

Most startups launch with $0 in funding, but no one ever really explains how the hell they do it. We keep saying, "They bootstrapped it," as if that explains anything other than "They didn't take on investors." What the heck does that even mean? What it is intended to mean is that we find creative ways to compensate people and buy things that don't involve using cash in the bank.

We can't possibly cover every use case of how startups find resources for $0, but let's take a look at the most popular categories that people run around looking for money for and see how we make it work.

Paying for People

Figuring out how to compensate people is where we're often stuck first. Most of us are familiar with paying folks with equity, but that's not th...

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