|“in order for any tech startup to succeed — there must be a strong spouse who is picking up the slack at home, being the emotional rock and feeling the high’s and low’s so deeply that they too are a de facto stakeholder” ~ Jonathon Sposato|
Wow, I can relate to that quote! Being a startup-spouse for the past 5 years was no walk in the park. After much hard work, blood, sweat and tears my husband sold his start-up business. It seems unreal still, but hey, it was on Techcrunch last week so it must be true!
When I look back now, there were quite a few ups and a lot of tough downs, right to the end. The lessons learned though, are more valuable then anything. I’d love to share one of them, from my perspective as an involved spectator. When you’re in a start-up, the perimeters of what is good or bad in business are very vague, because what makes for doing well is very relative. Obvious reasoning would be ‘the more money there is coming in, the better you’re doing’. I don’t think reality is that simple. I’d say for a founder what defines being on track, is when you feel happy about the outcome of your work. It seems obvious, but make no mistake, after working long and hard on something, you get in a situation where it’s hard to remember what makes you happy. Happiness is an emotion. And your emotions go all over the place, especially when you’re running or selling your company.
A good way to remember what would makes you happy might just be to think back why you started the adventure you’re currently in. Was it for the money? Maybe a good media story and good image? Is it continuation of product building, or maybe just the continuation of a concept or product name? What dream did you have in mind when you started you start-up? For my husband it might have been something in the lines of these things
Change and innovate the tech world
Change the way we do business in this world towards a more value driven approach
Create amazing user experience
Now the question is; has he achieved these things by doing his start-up, and therefore done well? When I think about it now, these dreams seem to be bigger then his first start-up idea. So I would say he’s not finished yet. So far though, I think he has done pretty amazing. Often just by being himself, open and honest about his start-up experiences, he’s inspired countless of people to think different and bigger.
I’d say defining whether you’re doing good or bad starts with writing down what (output) makes you happy. Why not grab pen and paper and put it down right away. Give that note to your spouse, mom or earliest fan and instruct them to show you once every while. Especially when emotions cloud your thoughts - and there is no escaping from that if you run a start-up. You might be surprised how your own words will inspire you later in time and how much you’re actually on track.
As for myself, I’m in the process of writing a note like that. Because I actually just started my own start-up. I’m not really sure yet what would make me happiest at the end of the run: ‘Getting couples into a radical new dimension of fun and intimacy through gameplay’ or… ultimate revenge on my start-up husband by running an even more successful one myself!
I’m curious to hear what makes you happiest. What thoughts and dreams made you start your business or start-up?