The road to entrepreneurship can be quite lonely. I once heard the isolation being described by a fellow entrepreneur as being in the middle of the vast ocean all by yourself. As dramatic it might sound, the loneliness is real, and every entrepreneur has experienced it. It is really intimidating at times, but some of the loneliness can be reduced by having a partner, a co-founder.
Most courses on entrepreneurship, books about the subject I have read strongly recommend not working solo, finding someone with a complementary skill-set, someone with the same conviction and passion for your ideas and your vision. Many investors and incubators don’t even consider you if you are first time solo entrepreneur. The rationale given for the bias towards non-single founding teams is — startups are hard work filled with huge mountain sized road blocks. And if you are alone in the journey, and you hit a few roadblocks on your way in, you would feel like giving up, you would feel like not going forward. But if you are more than one person, the likelihood of giving up goes down drastically.
While you would like to increase your chances of success by starting a company with someone — the journey does not always go as planned. I was fortunate to start my journey and spend the initial strenuous years of building with a very talented cofounder. All the transitions that life threw at us made it very hard to continue on the journey we started together.
The first thought that crossed my mind when we realized we need to transition this to a solo venture was — should I just fold this venture? The first instinct of giving up gave me goosebumps. I had some very sleepless nights just at the thought of giving up the baby we had nurtured and got to a great stage. And the business still struggling financially did not help with the decision either.
I have a rule of thumb I use in making any major decision. I used the the same while I jumped out of the corporate ladder. I decided to use the same process here. Will my future self ask the question, “What if?”. “What if I had pursued it for another year? What if I gave it another chance?” And the answer was yes, I have still not given it my 100% and I need to give it another chance to survive.
Here are a few things in my survival kit when I went solo
- Accountability partner: I was lucky enough to find another friend who was going through the same journey as me. So we decided we would do weekly calls to bounce off ideas, and just clear our heads around insecurities, support each other and not be judgemental.
- Mentors: I have found some incredible network of mentors here in Atlanta, especially at ATDC where I have found experts to bounce off ideas from.
- Hire help: I am guilty of being that bootstrapped entrepreneur who thinks that you can do it all. Till now, the company was run as a two-women show where all the tasks were split between the partners. I slowly accepted that I can’t do it all. And I can’t be good at everything. So I have started hiring people for tasks that I can do but choose not to do. This has not only improved the work product but has also allowed me to meet some wonderful people that bring a lot of positive energy in my life.
- Family support: I can’t say this enough but your family needs to be on-board on this crazy journey with you. I took Nihal in full confidence before making the decision and he is the one giving me the pep talk whenever I am in my denial stages.
So while I am still learning to survive running a one-woman business, I am launching a product line that I am so proud of pulling off all by myself (of course with loads of partnerships).
A shameless plug to check out the new carved line of Mochiis Footwear and tell everyone about these wonderful unique shoes.