Beat the Startup Founder Stigma Without a Cofounder Crutch
The worst reason to take on a cofounder is to add legitimacy
Starting a business is one of the easiest things you’ll ever do. You can literally do it right now. Dust off an idea that’s been in the back of your mind and start making world-conquering plans. Congratulations. You’re a startup founder.
On the other hand, actually being a working startup founder is fraught with complexities, difficulties, and flat-out impossibilities. From the moment you flip that mental switch and call yourself an “entrepreneur,” you’ll face doubt, dismissive attitudes, maybe even ridicule. All of this can fester into a stigma that we’ve only recently begun to label as imposter syndrome.
There’s one thing I don’t want you to do to combat that stigma, because I see it happen over and over again, with new and even experienced founders.
I don’t want you to take on a cofounder.
Why it’s hard be an entrepreneur
Being an entrepreneur requires more skill, experience, connections, and just plain effort than any one human being can muster.
Even folks like me, who have succeeded more times than we deserve and failed more times than we’d like to admit, know that if we’re going to make another run at a game-changing idea, at some point, it’s going to take more than what we can accomplish on our own.
That’s fine. That’s what we signed up for.
But even beyond all the physical and mental effort, there’s that other, psychological hurdle. And that’s answering the question, “What do you do?” with “I’m an entrepreneur.”
Why it’s hard to tell people you’re an entrepreneur
It runs deeper than just a social hiccup. The anecdotal evidence of entrepreneurs reaching out to me asking how to deal with the stigma is overwhelming.
Telling people that you’re an entrepreneur, or a founder, or the CEO of a company that hasn’t made a dime yet — this has serious implications on how people judge you, and thus, how people judge your company, including important people like potential customers, employees, and…