My Corner of the Web

Entrepreneurship Uncloaked: Navigating My Startup's Initial Setbacks


First Tastes of Reality

The taste of entrepreneurship isn’t always sweet.

90 days into my new startup, I am grappling with an uncomfortable reality - zero traction.

A harsh wake-up call that had me questioning everything.

Seeking Clarity

I have to sift through the confusion to find clarity. I am going back to problem interviews. I’m scrutinizing my decisions and figuring out where things went awry.

Exploring Possibilities

Part of me wonders, could aesthetics matter more than I thought?

Even at the earliest stages of product development? Could making it more beautiful give me more time to express my marketing message?

I’m still on the fence, but it’s a lead worth investigating.

Questioning the Problem

And then, an unsettling thought crept in.

Is the problems I’m trying to solve really a problem for others?

  1. The scattering of decisions across an organization
  2. The leadership paradox of empowering a team without losing strategic control
  3. The lack of visibility into crucial discussions in real-time

I know these issues were for me, but are these pains shared by others?

Are founders, executives, product leaders, and product managers grappling with these issues? Do they struggle like I did? And how much do these problems impact their effectiveness and their organization’s performance?

These questions have left me in a sea of self-doubt. It's making me realize that I need to understand my users better. I need to confirm these problems, and ensure that my product’s solutions address these pain points.

The Power of Solidarity

In these low moments, a single question from my friend, Jon, offered a lifeline, “How can I help?”. It was a humble reminder of the importance of community and solidarity.

This journey is lonely and small gestures like that are meaningful.

Learning from Others

I read an article on achieving product-market fit and realized I could be doing way more.

I need to engage more with founders, understand their pains, and learn from their experiences. It’s time to step up the conversation and broaden my understanding.

It’s time to get out of the building.

Reaching Out: Understanding Your Pain Points

So I’m reaching out to you, dear reader.

If you’re a founder, an integral part of a team, or someone who has faced challenges in decision-making processes within an organization, I would love to hear from you.

My goal is not to sell my product to you during these interviews.

Instead, I aim to listen and understand your reality - the challenges you face, the solutions you’ve tried, and the gaps you’ve found. These insights will help me refine my product, tailoring it to fit your needs and motivations better.

I’m particularly interested in the hurdles you’ve encountered in decision-making and strategic alignment within teams.

How do you stay informed about crucial discussions in real time? How do you balance empowering your team with maintaining strategic control? What existing solutions have you utilized, and what gaps have they yet to fill? These questions, among others, can provide invaluable insights into the realities founders and team members face.

If you’re reading this and can relate to these experiences or know someone who can, I would greatly appreciate an introduction.

If you’re willing to share your experiences, please get in touch with me for a 30-minute conversation.

Ready to Run Again

Despite these initial setbacks, my journey is far from over. These hurdles have tested me, but they have not broken me. I’m ready to get back on track and continue the race with renewed resolve.

Thank You

I’m grateful as I stand on the precipice of this new phase, ready to dive back in.

Thank you to those who have supported me thus far and to those who will join me on this journey.

It’s Just the Beginning

In this journey of building a product, there will be bumps, setbacks, and moments of self-doubt. That’s part of the process.

Yet, I’m not alone in this endeavor. I’m fortunate to have friends like Jon, who understand the struggle and provide perspective when I need it most.

As Jon put it, “you know the game. It’d be very strange if you nailed it on the first push.”

These words remind me that failure and learning are part of the journey.

As I move forward, each stumble is an opportunity to learn, iterate, and get closer to creating a product that provides real value. I am sharing my journey, not because it’s a success story but because it’s real. It’s raw, it’s challenging, and it’s filled with lessons worth sharing.

In the end, this isn’t just about building a product. It’s about understanding real problems, creating meaningful solutions, and making a difference.

So here’s to the journey ahead, the lessons to be learned, and the impact we can make together.