Many people want to start a company. They have an idea, believe that making a product is easy and if you know how to write some lines of code, overnight success is guaranteed.
This post is here to put some reality in perspective. Entrepreneurship is overly romanticized through thousands of articles detailing the overnight success of a founder, company, or product. But it’s often not what you imagine and the success is the result of nights of grind, hard work, sweat, and tears.
Starting a company is incredibly hard. The vast majority of companies do not survive. A team works relentlessly hard on a product for months, only to see no users sign up (other than their family and friends). It crushes their hope of building something useful when all they need is the mental energy to keep iterating and make a product that delights users.
Building the right product is way more complicated than it seems. You may have worked in big companies that have thousands or millions of users but you have no idea how they started and got the initial users. Finding the right feature, what users (and not you) find useful is often counter-intuitive and requires many iterations and experimentation.
Assembling the right team is critical and is no easy task. You have constrained resources as you cannot offer the same compensation as other big tech companies. You need to hire “believers”, people that will understand and follow your vision, no matter how crazy it is.
Marketing and selling a product is a complex task that is totally different from writing lines of code. You need to understand how to present a product, how to define and refine a sales process to close your first customers. That is no easy task and you constantly need to learn from others how to do it.
If you go and raise money from Venture Capital, you need to talk to investors, articulate your vision to show the opportunity. At the earliest stage, people will believe and trust you to build the right company and it’s your responsibility to build trust and show them your progress weeks after weeks.
Yes, starting a company is fucking hard. If you are still up for it, know that customers will complain, your initial product will suck, you will have to fire employees, some people will betray you and investors will ask when you will be profitable. All of this with a high probability of 0 return whatsoever.
Do not take me wrong, I have no regret. As somebody that lost half of his weight within a year (from 300 to 150 pounds) and ran ultra-marathons, I enjoy the pain and I would not trade places for anything in the world.