Thursday, January 26, 2012

Feeling Sheepish?

I've been helping a few other startups think through some stuff this week, so it's really taken a lot of my time and headspace. I'll keep blogging, but perhaps less frequently. Things are about to really tighten up for me.

Today I met with someone who wants to start something around a pretty solid idea, and he brings a bunch of experience to the table. He's passionate, and driven by a personal mission to right what he sees as a major wrong in the world.

I like that.

But he felt sheepish about asking investors for a salary. He doesn't think highly of himself as a business leader, because he's not one yet. When I asked how much he needed, he again was sheepish about paying himself, and was considering having someone else run it.

Wrong.

You are the keeper of the flame. Most of us have little or no experience when we first start.  We make it up as we go. We learn. We screw up. We fix it and move on. We grow into the role. We're imperfect. But we make it happen.

Some of you will roll your eyes when I say this (again), but I'll say it again: there's a lot of darkness in building a startup; your job is to bring light to the darkness. You'll figure it out.

What the company needs at the startup stage more than an experienced leader is passion for a mission and the commitment and tenacity to get there.

That's what investors care about. They know they'll never get a return on their investment if you aren't driven by a mission and passionate about getting there. They know you'll figure it out.

I almost signed up for it--that's how much passion for the cause he has.

So no, don't feel sheepish. You're giving investors a chance to benefit from your passion, your sense of justice, your hard work during the day and endless thinking about it nights and weekends. That's a privilege, and nothing to be sheepish about.

Now get out of here and go be your badass self like you know you are.

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