Why You Shouldn’t Be A Startup CEO

Don't kid yourself, being a startup CEO is hard. Every minute of every day, from the time you start your company, to the day you sell your company, you're going to be thinking about your startup.

As a startup CEO, you have roles and responsibilities that go beyond just getting your work done. In this video, I'll list out the ten things you need to do to be a startup CEO. If you can't do all ten on my list, then you shouldn't be a startup CEO.


Read The Video Transcript Below:


Why shouldn't you be a startup CEO? Let me start by reading from my book. Learn How to Take a Punch. Let me just start with the opening chapter. Here we go. And I'll just read a little bit to you about this.

"My heart is beating too fast and it won't slow down. It's 2:30 AM and I can't sleep, again. I get out of bed and I walked to my office. I am shivering, even though the temperature in the house is 72 degrees - nerves. I turn on the computer and I check my email. , No email from the new investor. Like they promised. Why can't these guys do what they say they're going to do? Why!

3:00 AM I head back to bed? At least I didn't wake my wife. Maybe now I can get, a little sleep before the alarm wakes me."

You get the idea. Being a startup CEO is not easy. It's hard. It's really hard.

Hi, I'm Brett Fox. And I've been building companies from zero to over a hundred million dollars a year for a long time. And I've been helping startup CEOs like you for many years as well. And today, we're going to talk about why you shouldn't be a startup CEO. And I'm going to do this Letterman style.

I've got a list of 10 things, and we're going to go through my top 10 list of why you shouldn't be a startup CEO. And we're going to start here with rule number one, why you shouldn't be a startup CEO: You can't deal with the fear.

There's going to be fear. It's going to be bad. It's going to be hard and your heart's going to be beating, and you're not going to know what to do. And there's going to be trouble and problems and all these crazy stuff that's going to be going on.

You've got to deal with it. And if you can't think, guess what? You can't be a startup CEO. That's number one.

Number two, you don't,want to be responsible for the lives of your teammates.

You are. Whether you like it or not, you're responsible for their livelihood. They're putting their life in your hands. They're putting their careers in your hands when you hire them into your startup. And if you can't deal with that, guess what? Can't be a startup CEO. That's reason. Number two.

Number three, you don't have grit.

Grit. It's the thing that every CEO needs to succeed. If you don't have that grit, the thing that gets you up off the ground, when you've been punched in the mouth time and time again, then it's going to be really difficult for you to succeed. Now, I can almost guarantee you that without grit, you're going to fail. That's how important grit is to being a successful startup CEO. Now having grit doesn't mean you're going to win, but it is a successful ingredient. That's number three.

Number four,

You can't lead by example, everything you do, everything you say. Every gesture you make is going to be interpreted by your team. And if you can't handle that, and if you can't be a good role model for your team all the time, then guess what? Can't be a startup CEO. Sorry.

That's number four.

Number five. You can't deal with petty politics that happen at exactly the wrong time.

A co-founder is going to want more money at exactly the wrong time. When you're raising money, somebody's going to act up at exactly the wrong time. Somebody's going to quit. All of these crazy things happen. If you can't deal with it, can't be a startup CEO.

Number six, you can't deal with having to fire your co-founder.

Over 50% of founder relationships fail. It's likely that you're going to have to fire somebody. Maybe your best friend, if you can't deal with it, can't be a startup CEO, because you can have to do some really tough things that are going to be unpleasant. That's number six.

Number seven. You can't deal with obsessing about your company every single day, every single moment, every single minute, every single second.

When you're in the shower, you're going to be thinking about your company. When you're on vacation, you're going to be thinking about your company. When you're asleep, you're going to be thinking about your company. If you can't deal with that, can't be a startup CEO, sorry.

Number Eight, You can't recruit great people. Or you don't want to work with great people.

Either one is a killer because people is everything in a startup. And if you don't have people that are better than you in every role in the company, you're doomed to failure. And if you're thinking, you'd get by with mediocre people, forget about it. It ain't gonna work.

Number nine, you can't handle sharing the spotlight with your team.

Here's the basic rule for you. Every success is due to your team. Every failure is due to you. That's the way to do it. You're going to get enough credit as a startup CEO. You don't need more. If you can't handle it. If you can't handle sharing the spotlight, can't be a startup CEO, sorry.

And number 10, you can't handle sharing the equity with your team equity. You want to give it out. In fact, you want to give more than their fair share to everybody that you work with. And you want to refresh their, when their existing options are done, that's how you keep a team. That's what you want to do. If you're thinking you get it all and they get very little, forget it. It's not going to work.

That's number 10.

So now let me ask you a question, because this is really important. If you can't do all 10 of these things, all 10 items that aren't just brought up and you can't say, you know what? I can do them all. Then you know what? You should not be a CEO. Save yourself the problem, save yourself the trouble. But if the answer is yeah, Brett, I can do all of it. then I'm all in and you're on your way.

For more tips on how to build your company and how to be a great startup CEO. Go to my website at www.brettjfox.com. I'm Brett at BrettJfox.com. Have a great, great day.

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