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How to trust my skills and take the leap of starting a start-up

JenYi's profile thumbnail
Holey smokes, you're really NOT that bad. You are, in many ways, a unicorn. Founders without technical backgrounds often find that one of their biggest challenges is finding a technical co-founder who is compatible in personality and motivations. That's often a tough challenge. Technical founders usually have an easier time b/c a) it tends to be easier to find marketing / operations / etc type of co-founders or consultants, and investors tend to have more confidence knowing the product will be developed. For example, I'm struggling right now b/c, as a solo founder, I get feedback from investors that my work is impressive but "without a CTO, I need to demonstrate I can launch a product" before they are willing to cut me a check. I'm fortunate that, for now, I've found two talented developers (UX designer and an engineer) who are willing to partner with me to begin development cycles but I will eventually need to find a CTO. Contrast this with a friend of mine who, as a solo founder and CTO, raised millions for his start-up. The confidence level that he would develop a product was very high. You, on the other hand, if you wanted (and have already demonstrated), could build something *tomorrow*, and could work with consultants (marketing consultants are less expensive than engineering consultants) to launch it. (I make it sound *that* easy - of course it's not...I'm just trying to illustrate that a start-up future weighs in your favor vs not). Another alternative is to join a founder school such as Female Founder School or Founder Group. I belong to both, and I would say, for you, that starting with Female Founder School might be an excellent choice. First, you can join their General Population Slack for free. Second, about once a quarter they offer a three-day start-up bootcamp (last one was free). Third, they usually also offer the first month free if you want to go the membership route. If you do the membership route, I've loved it b/c they have a great start-up handbook for the truly beginner that is easy to follow. They also offer valuable courses. (Membership is $50/month). It's a place, like Elpha, you could potentially find a co-founder.Finally, Galaxy of Stars.org offers a free handbook as well and doesn't require a membership. However, there really isn't anyone to answer questions where FFS has a great community of women to answer your questions. The founders themselves are really great at making sure no one's questions go unanswered. And also this...https://hbr.org/2021/02/stop-telling-women-they-have-imposter-syndrome?registration=successWhile I definitely believe we are capable at self-sabotage, I more strongly believe that what we tend to call self-sabotage is often a lack of accountability in the workplace we work in. Please don't automatically think it's "you." Finally, if you do decide to take the plunge and do it full-time, please be sure you've saved enough funds to do this. Going part-time for now is wise if it doesn't mentally / emotionally exhaust you. Have fun!!
Soraia's profile thumbnail
Hi @JenYi, thank you for your words and for letting me know about that couple of alternatives. I'll explore them a bit and see if I can feel more confident 😊Thanks a lot!
HeidiElaineDowding's profile thumbnail
Yay! Do it! The bones of your idea sounds really interesting. Definitely don't let the imposter syndrome sneak in - you'll do awesome! Maybe try and saturate yourself with podcasts etc about how to deal with imposter syndrome, and surround yourself with cool, *supportive* women in leadership roles who can continue to remind you of your value.
Soraia's profile thumbnail
Thank you! Listening to podcasts is a good idea 😊Do you know other platforms similar to Elpha ?
AndraNuta's profile thumbnail
Soraia, congrats on the work you're already doing and on finding something you're passionate about and working on that!! I know imposter syndrome is a real challenge to overcome and that sometimes it's louder than your reasoning. When it comes up and prevents you from making progress on your idea, ask yourself - what can I use, from my previous experience, to overcome this specific challenge? When have I felt this way in the past and overcame it? You also ask - There's so many other ideas I want to work on as well. How can I stay focused?What I would say here is that it's important to understand why you're doing what you're doing, how that connects to your values, why you are choosing to put extra hours into your ideas, and what are you hoping to achieve with that. Then, when the WHY is clear, the question of 'How can I stay focused on achieving my goal' will be much easier to answer, because you'll know why you're working towards it. As a coach, I work a lot with founders on imposter syndrome, implementing better habits and routines, and leadership. If you're interested to have a further chat, let me know!