“It’s a mug’s game, then?” Dave, one of the hosts of the podcast Jeroen, my co-founder and VP Engineering, and I were being interviewed on, said to us.
I had just finished telling him that the odds of raising funding for a startup are around one in one hundred. So, Dave was rightfully asking me if starting a company was worth it.
“I love what I’m doing,” I said. “And, if I didn’t love what I’m doing, there would be no amount of money that would make it worth it.”
There are a lot safer ways to make lots of money than building a startup.
Yeah, if your startup hits unicorn status, then you’ll make more money than doing anything else. However, the odds are decidedly against your startup making it past year five, let alone becoming a unicorn.
So, if your goal is becoming financially independent, the safest way to achieve this is working your way up the corporate ladder. Yeah, you might not make it billionaire status, but you can become a millionaire many times over choosing this route.
You have to be really fanatical about what you’re doing to be a startup CEO.
“So, you guys are doing it for the love, then?” Dave asked us.
“Yes,” Jeroen answered. “This is what I always wanted to do.”
“Me too,” I said. “It’s a labor of love.”
I think labor of love is a great way to describe what it’s like to build a startup. Nothing’s going to be easy. You’re going to face the craziest problems that you never thought you’d face.
For example, here are some of the crazy things that happened to us:
- My friend and co-founder quit with no notice., and…
- TSMC, the most respected manufacturer of semiconductors in the world, inverted a mask layer on our first product rendering the product useless, costing us precious time and revenue, and…
- The lead designer engineer on our most important product had to take a leave of absence because of complications during his wife’s pregnancy, and…
- The worst global economic crisis to hit the world since the Great Depression in the 1930’s stopped venture funding of new startups in its tracks. It took us over two years to raise our initial funding, again costing us precious time and money.
As you can see, you have to be a little bit crazy to actually want to be a startup CEO.
You’d never make it as a startup CEO if you were in it just for the money. You’d quit and find a good paying corporate job to make your money.
And you know what? You’d be much happier and much more successful following that path.
You have to be a true believer in your startup if you and your startup are going to have any chance of success. Just to be clear, I’m saying you have to be a fanatic to have any chance at building a successful startup.
Why else would you put yourself through this misery unless you were a fanatic. But that just it, isn’t it? To you, it’s not misery, it’s actually fun to pull your startup from the brink.
That’s why, regardless of the result, founding a startup is worth it.