Just like Rocky, you need to go the distance with your startup

12 Nov 2016

For me, the hardest part of growing a startup always has been persevering across

all difficult moments. As a technical founder, are we too impatient with our businesses?

Going the distance Rocky

From $0 to $XXk MRR

Looking around we are bombarded with overnight success stories. It’s understandable due to the wow factor they produce. But is it the norm? Are we going to fail because we did not make $15k at launch date? Is there a written law saying that after 3 months of operations a SaaS should net $Xk in monthly recurring revenue?

Of course not, but we are reading the same news, the same stories and they make us wish, a growing hope that we could be next. What if it were us?

It’s entertaining and pleasant to read those stories, but don’t get discouraged because your path is different. Set objectives and accept that this will most certainly take more time to reach them.

Comparing our current progress with those startups that grew unusually fast is not healthy. You might start implementing all features you’ll be receiving in the hope that this will move the needle. In fact, this might do the opposite.

Take a deep breath

Set your own metrics and focus on small wins. It’s crazy how shrinking everything immediately makes something simpler.

Start by setting daily/weekly goals. Instead of focusing on long terms things, keep it simple and easy to complete.

Had you tried to focus on one single task per day? This might sound unproductive, but making sure you prioritize one single task in your day should guaranty one small win per day and this will make you feel better about your progress.

Start small and accept that it takes times to get there. The key point is to set your own objectives and not trying to replicate others’.

Don’t give up, just like babies

I’ve two daughters and one of them, the younger one, took a little bit more time to walk than her older sister.

After a certain moment, this amusing fact becomes a small concern.

What if …

Then you start being worried about this.

Had you noticed how a baby will never stop trying to walk? No matter how many times they are falling, hurting themselves, they are going to complete that goal, whatever it will take.

Never a baby will say:

Ha well! Everyone is walking and I’m still ramping. Ramping is good enough who needs to walk anyway…

Each new abilities they learn is similar. They start from the bottom and level-up as they re-try and get better.

When did we lose that perseverance trait to accomplish something? At which point of our lives we started abandoning our goals so easily.

Could it be as simple as making sure our entire focus is set to reach a specific goal? Only one at a time, all energy should be concentrated toward reaching this goal?

Note that I’m saying “we” but it’s mostly “I”, but I’ve noticed this trait on fellow technical founders as well, hence the use of we.

Timing is everything

Sometimes a specific goal seems unreachable. Maybe it’s not the right time to focus on that aspect.

One important lesson I’ve learned while homeschooling our kids is; timing is everything. You can try to force a kid to master French written rules at the age of 6, if they are not at this stage yet, you are wasting your time.

Same goes for a goal you’re setting. If you are not ready to be there, it might represent lots of work that will eventually be wasted just due to the fact that the business / product are not at that stage.

One classic example we’re hearing a lot.

Don’t invest into ads until you have your product/market fit defined and you know you’re able to retain your customers.

Pretty obvious right? Keeping that in mind can help making sure you’re putting the effort where it will bring the most value.

Deciding to postpone a goal is not the same as abandoning it.

Actions I’m trying to improve my goal reached rates:

  1. Define small tasks that fit in 25–45 minutes chunk.
  2. Set **one **goal for the day. Mostly it will represents 3–4 tasks.
  3. Set one **clear **goal for the week.
  4. Detect if a task is going to block my entire momentum and postpone it.

I’m now determined to go the 15 rounds and accept that my path will be different, are you?

Back to posts

You may reach me here: dstpierre on GitHub @dominicstpierre on Twitter