Next Time You Have a Business Idea, Don't Found a Company

It's cool these days to be an entrepreneur or a startup founder. But the reasons why people undertake such a challenging profession are not always the right ones.

I'm an employee at a company, and I'm ok with it. There, I said it!

Entrepreneurship and founding an own company gets glorified these days on every other social media platform and the startup scene itself. It almost feels like, that if you are not a founder or have a side project, you as an individual are not able to have a high impact on society or even your own career. You have to have a side hustle and create something on your own in your free time to be taken seriously. I definitely disagree with that.

The truth is people find it just cool to hustle. Or to grind how other kids call it these days. The sad thing about it is that their hustles, projects or startups are often created because of wrong reasons. The startup community worships a lifestyle and not the actual motivation behind actions. The reason why we do some kind of work is not as important than being a fancy entrepreneur.

This is a just terrible way to go about this. The logic why people become entrepreneurs regularly is just wrong:

  • They want to climb up the career ladder quicker
  • They want to lead other people and manage a team
  • They want to make a lot of money faster
  • When the startup takes off, they will have more free time
  • They want to be in charge
  • They want to achieve all these things at the same time

Now there are more ways to drive any business to the ground, but these are by far the least reasonable ones. The leading question entrepreneurs need to ask themselves is Why am I founding this business? Why is the problem I'm trying to solve so important to me?

Spoiler alert: Any answer like the one above is false! These are just byproducts that might happen in the course of actually running a company. If you don't derive any meaning from the objective of the company, then why do it?

There is no such thing as the quick and easy way

A lot of people have trouble giving things time and be patient. My good self included. As a result, we like to look for shortcuts in how to be successful at something. But accomplishing a successful, long-lasting company is hard.

There is no state which a company can obtain, and then you are done with it. It's an ongoing process in which the purpose of the company is at its center.

I generally can understand why people look for short and easy ways to have success. It's that glorified lifestyle I have a problem with. Some people even call it Fakepreneurs. Pitching on Monday, networking event on Wednesday and traveling to Web Summit on the weekend. Don't forget all the tweets in between that have the hashtags #disruption and #startuplife in there.

And all why? Just because it is kinda cool and they are able to put "Entrepreneur" in their Instagram bio. Not because it is necessary to fulfill a company mission or solving a problem.

Now, before you get all riled up about it, there are exceptions. Of course, you as a founder need to do some of the tasks as mentioned earlier. However, there are people I actually met that I think are indeed good founders. Not because they build and sold companies before. Because they care very deeply about the cause, know what it takes to get there and do just that, and their primary goal isn't to make a successful exit.

We can't all start a business nor should we

Don't get me wrong. Working and navigating the daily challenges in any organization is hard sometimes. I worked in 3 very different startups now with all having unique problems that sometimes frustrated me quite a bit. And I bet that everyone who worked for a startup before thought at least once to themselves "I could do this shit, too!" or even "I would do a better job!".

If every founder of any company would first look for other people they could help achieve the same thing they're trying to do, I'm sure they would be happier and most likely be more successful at that exact cause. But they really just want to be a C-level of some sort. Again, taking shortcuts for a title.

Imagine how it would make you feel if someone come up to you as a founder and says "I admire what your company does and why you started it. It's something that I can really relate to. However, I think I will give it a shot myself!"

That doesn't make any sense. If you find a person that has the same motivations or believes you should just join forces. We need to get away from individual thinking of success and move to a collective one. This is a two-way street though. Employees need to derive meaning from their work as well.  Otherwise, this connection doesn't help anyone.

That's why I like to be an employee and a part of something bigger. You just get more done as a team. Of course, you need to agree with that mission and the values that are inherent to the brand. But that is up to your particular case.

Check these three boxes first

So the next time you have a business idea take the time and reflect for a moment:

  1. Is this idea something I'm personally and deeply invested in?
  2. Is it in line with my values and my believes?
  3. Does another organization or company exist that tries to achieve that?

There are of course other important questions to investigate before starting a company like market situation, potential customers or the time it might take to develop the product.

But taking care of these couple steps first will save you time and worries later. And no matter if this makes you a better founder or not, it will definitely make you a more self-aware person.

Are you a startup founder? Why did or didn't you do it?

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