Lone founders, How do you manage your company?
Shared by rbansal16 · 52d ago · 24 comments

Hi, I am a lone founder working on an idea. I am working on the idea since last 1 month. There are multiple things to take care of in a company like building the product, recruiting people to work with you, finding customers etc? How do you keep yourself motivated and How do you manage all the things?

home.wolv.io · 52d ago

I started last year as a solo founder, here are some lessons learned:

1. Involve people - I did not form a support circle around and got burnt out in 3 months. I thought “my friends/family won’t understand”. Indeed, many of them didn’t, but some did and that changed the trajectory measurably.
It may take time, but you will also find people who will champion your business with you - be it customers, investors or other founders. Play the long game and curate relationships.

2. Do small things, regularly - consistently spend at least 5 mins meditating and 5 mins exercising. Make it a must. You just can’t excuse out of 10 mins. I made this goal recently and most times I surpassed the expectations. Most importantly, I slept well.

3. Engage in others’ businesses - this one is going to hurt but the chance of any business succeeding is quite minimal. There are just so many factors at play. (e.g. spaceX with a great founder, funding, team was about to fail)
Involve yourself in other things alongside just to be part of other’s success. If you help others succeed with your skills, they will help you succeed too. I started helping my founder friends in little ways. One of them offered me a part time job when the business went low earlier this year.

4. Have fun - you might be running out of money, be in desperate state. You need a North Star - an ambitious goal. I spent last Christmas being homeless next to London eye and barely eating. The problem I was solving was too big to give up on, however. You need that problem too. If you haven’t found it yet, just keep observing around.

5. Cut off from social fluff - one of the best decisions I made was to cut from fake glamour of Instagram, Facebook circles. Time saved and mental health too.

Aden · 25d ago

I’m a bit curious as to how you managed to build a circle of supporters. Are they mostly founders or in the same industry, or are you looking at persons from different environments for support?

Definitely feel that a feedback and support loop is key.

abdul_alhamdan · 52d ago

Good luck. How are things going for you now if you don’t mind sharing?

home.wolv.io · 52d ago

Thanks! They are going quite well and better each day

40% committed on our funding round from top VCs
growing team
happy, excited, growing userbase
healthy, sleeping better, eating better

rbansal16 · 52d ago

Thanks for sharing such a beautiful answer. I am happy you are making good progress on your startup. I am sure I will also find my way one day.

Aden · 25d ago

Interpolate between functions or adopt a cross functional approach from day one. I choose the former for greater attention to detail - part of my ethos as a bootstrap model adherent.

Your ethos will be the backbone of your approach. It helps to know your stuff when it comes to your work, so constantly train whenever possible, and seek constant feedback.

Improvement of your product is a process which needs constant attention.

MassAddress · 26d ago

I've been building my company for 4 years and it's been tough. The only thing keeping me going is knowing America needs my platform. I use liveplan dot com to manage my company. It's critical to track each metric because investors are going to want to know where their investments are going.

Touchgram_Andy · 52d ago

I've given up on recruiting people to work with me until the product has a lot more traction, because I'm not a 20-something with a big pool of friends who might give up part of their life to chase a shared dream. (That may sound like a cynical dig at such people - it's absolutely not. It's just a recognition that much of startup culture and the teams are vital thinking of VCs assumes that context.)

I'm working on a sufficiently complex product that, even at my utter sharpest, it would be impossible to keep the entire codebase and all design issues in my head. On top of that, as a solo founder, all the marketing, content writing, biz dev... is on me.

So, I manage by dumping stuff from my brain. I have detailed issue tracker logs of all the minor and epic upcoming work plus the tiny number of bugs. I have separate project management (Zoho Projects) for all planned articles and other admin activities. If I think of something, it either gets done immediately or written down and forgotten.

So, right now, there are probably over 500 tasks recorded in different issue trackers or in Projects.

Something vital is the way things are grouped - I can quickly find something specific to do if I feel like doing some design work, writing an article, doing research or coding in one of 4 distinct domains. That allows me to get variety based on mood and fatigue levels.

rbansal16 · 52d ago

I will also start using project management tool for my things. I guess that will stop me from being randomized. I am also trying to onboard people for my idea but it's hard to convince them, maybe I am lacking selling skills.

* surround yourself with as many advisers as you can

* stick with Pioneer or some other community

* checklists and routine help, and also make delegating easier downrange - not so much having someone do X, more deciding what to hand off or rotate -- e.g., i have a 40-point or so checklist every am that takes about 10 minutes:

* check all client websites
* check all bank accounts
* check all social mentions
* archive our web sites (web.archive.org)
* post daily founder video to slack
* post daily scrum update
etc.

* rinse and repeat for other hats otherwise it feels overwhelming

manojranaweera · 41d ago

I've been setting up, failing, growing and exiting tech companies since 2004. I'm never good at holding to a founding team. Even this time, it didn't work. So I decided to not have anyone in my team other than me for https://skilledup.life. As we gain traction and prove various points, then I'll work out how to delegate.

rbansal16 · 40d ago

Hi manojranaweera, Thanks for sharing your experience. Your journey is a testament to the fact that we do not need a team to start, build, fail and grow a startup. I feel much more motivated about myself after reading your story.

I was checking your website it seems pretty good. What tools did you used to design and develop your website and also I would love to connect with you to stay updated about your journey. Lets connect over twitter https://twitter.com/BansalRahul14

manojranaweera · 40d ago

Hi Rahul, it's built using Wordpress. Quite simple. But lots of issues to fix. What are you building?

christian.brown · 49d ago

Can't agree with Home.wolv.io enough. Involving people (including Pioneer) helped me keep myself accountable and even stay sharper by getting expert advice from people in their fields. I've completely changed my tech stack / architecture by listening to more senior devs. Who knows what I would've (tried to have) built without having other people involved.

Shameless plug for someone I met on Pioneer who's creating something cool - ExtraFounder.com

I would also set goals and celebrate them. Sometimes as entrepreneurs we also make our goals too large. Break a task down into subtasks and execute accordingly. 'Finish the front end' is a larger task than 'correcting button alignment' and will take a lot longer for you to get the dopamine rush that comes with scratching something off of your task list.

However, I'm quite fond of the social fluff for solo founders. Obviously it should never be prioritized over actual work, but engage with people and communities that interest you. Much more Reddit & LunchClub than Instagram and Facebook though lol Not only is it a great way to find like minded people, but it can help you find early customers/users as well as help with some of the stress that comes with the hustle. Just enjoy relevant and refreshing convos about your space - I've found that it pumps me up and reminds me of how amazing an opportunity we've been afforded.

sunim · 52d ago

I'm working Solo and Prep and tend to keep it that way, but the door is open to Partner.

It's not my main gig, a side-hustle that I'm passionate about, was about to quit to work full-time but with COVID, decided to stay put.

I have made an exact schedule when working on what. And since there is an update waiting for me on Pioneer for next week, it does give me a boost.

Guessing you are a technical founder, having sprints, at least Github Issues helps you reflect and work more.

Touchgram_Andy · 49d ago

I don't do "sprints" but I do group things into coherent milestones. (I have painful tales of a toxic sprint-oriented workplace that require whiskey and a friendly environment to tell.)

https://www.touchgram.com/press#roadmap summarises those milestones. As things get further out, there are going to be sub-releases (1.3 is already broken into at least two).

rbansal16 · 48d ago

Thanks Touchgram_Andy. I liked you idea of creating a roadmap that summarises the milestones. I am going to create the same for myself. I would love hear those toxic of tales of sprint. Lets connect on twitter https://twitter.com/BansalRahul14

Touchgram_Andy · 47d ago

I do my roadmap as a simple Markdown document, committed alongside my source code. That way I automatically have a version of it matching the view of the code at the time. I can copy and past items from the Markdown preview to update the website.

rbansal16 · 52d ago

Pioneer is really cool in keeping your progress in check. What are you working on? I just quit my job recently.

sunim · 52d ago

Solo: prep.surf . Have some other stuffs on my back where I'm active either partnering or developing.
Having a bunch of things keeps my sanity as I can explore different horizons.

If you're a lone founder, keep it simple. Todo list is fine. Once you add your first teammate, start creating a proper structure around something like teamwork.com. Earlier you do it, the more it'll pay off in team efficiency later :)

Touchgram_Andy · 49d ago

Seriously, I cannot emphasise too much the need especially for solo founders to be working with a combination of version control and an issue tracker. Using a simple, free issue tracker like the one in BitBucket means you can trivially link code changes to the relevant issue with just a comment when you commit code, like Fixes #570

The more you have to juggle in your startup, especially as code gets more complex, or your personal life clashes, the more you need an easy way to trace things.

Future-you will thank you.

rbansal16 · 52d ago

I mostly add todos in the code itself. Do you some other software for your todos?

Haha no that was be overkill. I use notepad for todos outside of code. That's what I meant.

Pivotal tracker can be good for tracking code issues if that's what you meant