Fortunately, there are a lot of generous people offering sage advice. David Shen, an advisor & investor of early stage Internet startups, tries to talk people out of being an entrepreneur. Starting a business is not for everyone. If that’s the case for you, the sooner you realize it, the better.
I talk about the time commitment. I talk about my early Yahoo days when there were just a bunch of us, and we worked our tail off for years. I talk about the long hours we spent building Yahoo back in the day, the stress, the do-everything-yourself mentality and the chaos of not knowing what’s coming next. I tell them about the fact that relationships have broken up due to training for Ironman, which even at its peak, doesn’t equate to time commitment spent at a startup and for a longer period of time. I go through the inevitable ups and downs that come with relationships and families of entrepreneurs; it’s not an easy place to be when your work and family demands collide.
Dharmesh Shah, founder of HubSpot, also offers ten critical questions that startup co-founders should ask themselves:
- How should we divide the shares?
- How will decisions get made?
- What happens if one of us leaves the company?
- Can any of us be fired? By whom? For what reasons?
- What are our personal goals for the startup?
- Will this be the primary activity for each of us?
- What part of our plan are we each unwilling to change?
- What contractual terms will each of us sign with the company?
- Will any of us be investing cash in the company? If so, how is this treated?
- What will we pay ourselves? Who gets to change this in the future?
To these great questions, I would add two derived from Shen’s advice:
- Do we all understand the risks and commitment required to be an entrepreneur?
- Is everyone willing to fully take those risks and honor those commitments?
It is not easy being an entrepreneur. But if you understand the risks and commitment required, you will have a better chance of survival.
Photo by: Team Dalog