Why Startup Founders Fail: Hidden Desperation

Are you leaking confidence without even realizing it?

Joe Procopio
4 min readApr 27, 2023
image by benzoix

I’m going give you — completely for free — one crazy-simple life hack that’s going to make one of your most painful moments a little less painful.

This is the fastest way to get salespeople off your phone.

Not a lot of people have my phone number. But every so often, due to one business circumstance or another, I have to pick up a call from a number I don’t recognize. Most of the time, I accept the call and it’s the person I was expecting. But every once in a while, a telemarketer slips through.

Cue silent swearing as they start their pitch.

I don’t interrupt. I wait for the question, because there’s always a question. It doesn’t matter what the question is. Instead of answering it, I ask for their name and I use it. I tell them that I respect them, both as a person and for what they’re attempting to do. I tell them I want them to have a great day. In fact, I want them to make a bunch of money today — and the quickest way they can do that is to stop talking to me and go to the next person on their list, because that person might buy whereas I most certainly will not.

I don’t lie. I don’t make excuses. I don’t hedge. I don’t hint. I leave no door open.



Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building TeachingStartup.com & GROWERS. Write at Inc.com and BuiltIn.com. More at joeprocopio.com