As a current sole-founder, I thought it’d be interesting to write about some of the challenges I face that are worse when you are starting up on your own. I call these ‘Sole-Founder Bugs’.
1. Major Pipeline Stalls
If you’ve never built a company before, or never even done a startup before, you may eventually get to a point where you’re not sure what to do next. In my case, I spent a lot of time working on a prototype to reduce technical risk, theorizing that market risk could be put off almost indefinitely. Now that I have a reasonable beta prototype, I’m realizing that I don’t really know what to do next to mitigate market risk. For a business founder, this might be the other way around. Not knowing the specific set of steps to take to advance your business is very mentally challenging. When you have others in your company, a boss, or investors, there are plenty of people to tell you what you should do next.
2. Single-Threaded Performance
Ok, as a 1-person shop, you’re not going to be able to do multiple things at once. If you have partners or employees, even when you are stuck, others are making progress. If you are working on code, your partner might be talking with customers. If you’re doing IT, your partner can do marketing. This is not the case on your own. You’re doing one thing at a time and odds are, it’s not something you’re good at. Take some time off, and things are usually worse off than when you left them. Servers crash, you forget what you were working on, things get lost.
3. Can’t Solve The Halting Problem
When you work on your own, you generally set your own deadlines. In some cases, you might not even set a deadline thinking you’re “Almost Done” with whatever it is that you are doing. Hours and days can go by and nobody notices. When working for someone else, you’re almost certainly going to have deadlines put in place and it will at least bracket time spent on each task. I’ve spent days trying to make buttons round using only CSS and trying to trim a few megabytes off a memory footprint and lost track of time. It’s easier when someone else tells you to stop.