Why you don't need a co-founder
Shared by bukunmiadewumi · 29d ago · 7 comments

So two months ago I got an interesting idea with a potential co-founder, only later I realized my potential co-founder wasn't really as cooperative enough to develop our projects together. He was indeed about ideas but never about execution, marketing, development or bootstrapping so I pivoted quickly as that was too draining.

Specifically why I pivoted:
I was the only guy who did the web design because our project heavily rely on the web, so I single-handedly made all the initial investments even while having someone I had called a potential co-founder. It was as good as not having any co-founder because I bought a domain (which I later repurposed for my current project), designed the website, invested in VPS/servers with really high quality specs for hosting. Almost about $1000 worth of investment alone from my freelance earnings. I am from a developing country in Africa.

Now I am a solo founder with much focus and energy. I have supportive volunteers and I would be happy to bring them in as co-workers once the project becomes successful. I feel like these are the people I want to work with. No pressure to share or split my company, no worries and heart aches, they are smart and bring technical support to the table. Most of them are experienced solo business guys.

What do you think? Are you happy with your co-founder?

rohanpal · 25d ago

How did you find supportive volunteers? I know there are many people who would be ready to volunteer, however, there must be something that I can offer for their help and I can't figure out what can help me attract as well as retain any volunteers who might be potential long-term employees or even co-founders.

bukunmiadewumi · 25d ago

Not that hard I think. The platform from which you go look for volunteers would also depend on your business model and the tasks you want these volunteers to do. There is no one-size-fits-all platform for finding volunteers. I think @manojranaweera of Skilleduplife is building a startup where you can actually get volunteers for a little fee maybe.

I had success with Linkedin actually, I pitched a volunteer copy to about 200 young people whose profile looked like they really love what they do. I shared a google form link as a call to action at the end of the Volunteer pitch. It's about what they can expect of this project and I stated outrightly that no financial remuneration can be expected within the first 6 to 12 months of joining this project at least. You may want to refer to the form for reference https://i.imgur.com/pi0br8y.png

Some disagreed and left me, while others embraced it as an opportunity to BUILD stuff together, connect, and learn. Now we are a team of 5 (should be 6 but one left us), each person in their own domain of expertise. 1 Developer, 2 UX/UI designers, 1 chartered accountant, me Project manager, digital marketer and web designer and of course the founder.

People who declined my offer, I didn't persuade them to not leave. I moved on because I didn't want to pressurize anyone as that may become the negative norm should I hired them as full-time workers in my company eventually. I was looking for people who are naturally motivated even without some kind of external reward.

These are the people I would like to work with, those who see longevity and are not in for a get-rich-quick scheme sort of. 'cause that's essentially a flawed state of mind/assumption here.

You have to build prospects and excitement about your project but don't overdo it to the point it starts to look like an exaggeration.

One of my volunteers is already in as a potential Senior UI/UX designer as she's got experience and love designing a lot. I mean A LOT. She's done with almost 20 screens of our application (iOS and Android) using Figma.

I was so impressed that someone could actually work this much without a penny? Now, she's got a BIG status (more than an employee) on my list of long term coworkers should she keep the vibes up after a successful launch ..because I also understand that launching doesn't mean relaxation or some chill pill. It's a huge work that would just begin.

One way I had kept them connected and motivated is relentless efforts and seriousness on my part too. I mean my initial investments, website, server, VPS, data and all the configuration to put things in place technically speaks for itself. Happily, I have started to reward hardworking volunteers with a free internet data subscription (11 GB to 20GB depending on their device: WIFI dongle or iOS or Android) as I could afford here in Nigeria, a few days ago.

I wish you good luck.

luissanchez · 25d ago

Im happy to hear i am not the only solo founder out there. People definitely look at me like i am crazy.
To be honest, i am having allot of fun with the responsibility but the work definitely becomes overwhelming from time to time.
I believe being a solo founder requires allot of discipline since you are holding yourself accountable for your actions but overall the experience has been better than that of partnering with the wrong person.
One tip to succeed would be that you need to delegate eventually. Outsource or hire someone. There will come a point were you wont be able to keep going doing everything.
Regardless, keep your head up and never settle for a partner.
Best of luck with your project!

sam@novamoney · 28d ago

Being a solo founder is about 10x harder than having co-founder as good and committed as you, but there are many examples of solo successful founders.

However it sounds like you went solo because you didn't meet the right person, so maybe try to look for someone passionate about the problem you want to solve. Finding a co-founder is very similar to dating.

bukunmiadewumi · 28d ago

Thank you for your input on this. Yes, I can't agree more. Finding the "right" co-founder takes effort that may pay off but if we premise it on dating, then I think I am the kind of guy who is very selective at finding the right partner (maybe 1/1000) because I dislike procrastinating the execution of whatever ideas pick my interest.

So I really don't mind doing a lot alone in as much as I have smart supporters, volunteers and coworkers. This has been my culture since school till my MSc. When there is no one dragging me behind, then there seems to be no wiggle room. I mean no slack.

Being a solo founder might be my thing since I am kind of impatient at managing projects I strongly believe in and of course with productive coworkers and supporters. If I do not believe in it, then it would be a different story.

manojranaweera · 29d ago

Join the band. I have had 14 attempts since 2004 (not all tech startups). During this tenure, I worked out that I am best with just executing by myself. Those who joined as co-founders in the past never gave the effort required to be actually called a co-founder.

One of the things I never had access to was ample talent. I'm fixing this for others like me and me through https://skilledup.life. If you can afford £25/$34 a month, that's all you need to build a team to help you move forward. Only available for tech product companies.

Drop me an email if you like to explore manoj.ranaweera@skilledup.life

bukunmiadewumi · 28d ago

I am putting this in my notebook and will consider it once I could afford it. Helpful, thanks.