🤔💭 Question for all the founders... what's the one thing you wish you knew before starting a business?

Hey elphas,Question for all the founders, what do you wish you had known before starting your business?I spent a bit of time reflecting on all of the things I've experienced (both good and bad 😅) since starting my business and it would be great to know what everyone else has learned as well!Looking back, I wish I had known:- How to look for the right technical partners / support when you don't have a technical background (found an amazing developer eventually, but had my fair share of hiccups along the way).
@JenYi @vivienne @ClaireSiegel come to mind but there's m many more founders here! Also please check out our featured office hour and feel free to ask @itsamelia about her own experiences!
Def. MVP CHALLENGE: I read a few books but still ended up with an MVP that I had to make leaner and leaner. I lost some time as a result. FUNDRAISING: Fundraising is nuts. I've decided to take more time and bootstrap than dive into hardcore fundraising. I'm developing a start-up where investor feedback from male investors (which is most) is typically negative. It was really hitting my morale. TECH PARTNER: I'm also struggling to find a technical partner or co-founder. I'd love to learn more about how you found yours @JadeP. ENTREPRENEURIAL ISOLATION: I learned this is an oft-used phrase. About halfway through my journey, I started to feel really lonely and isolated. I LOVE teamwork; I think ideas built out with multiple sets of feedback make for a much stronger experience and output than lone-wolf processes. I ended up joining Female Founder School which has been helping me with community support of like-minded, ambitious, and brilliant women. Those have been my greatest challenges. Ideation, research, user flow creation, etc. are processes and workflows that were NOT difficult so it's definitely been helpful to feel good at some of these while learning others. I definitely feel like I'm going to school. Heh.
Thank you for sharing your lessons! Can I ask, what are you building that makes most male investors give you negative feedback? Genuinely curious.
No problem. I'm developing a platform to support employees dealing with workplace mistreatment. It's a huge problem that is, today, mainly tackled from a B2B perspective, i.e. tons of agencies sell executive coaching, leadership workshops, and internal assessments to companies in order to improve workplace cultures.There are a very few offering third-party employee-solution services however, my research shows that about 50% of employees don't engage or don't engage honestly b/c of perception that you can't trust a tool your company paid for (and, according to employment law attorneys I've interviewed, it's true in many cases, particularly big tech). So I'm taking a "bottoms-up" approach and focusing on how to support workers. I believe this will ultimately have a positive upside for companies as well (or negative PR, potentially) but workers are my focus. My first three male investors gave me comments like, "Why would you build something like this? Who would use it? Is it really that big of a problem?" It was wild b/c the first female investor I spoke to said, "I wish you'd spent less time talking about the problem and more time presenting your solution. I think it's really clear this is a big problem space." I'd gotten so used to having to explain this to male investors, I didn't stop to consider shifting my presentation for someone that was a little more like me. It's pretty amazing the differences in response from not just investors but people in general based on factors like gender, race, wealth, etc. Now that I'm telling you this, I'm realizing it would have been useful to document this journey in detail and write about it. Ultimately, I've learned to be much sharper about who I present to...that said, I've actually stopped, and have decided to continue bootstrapping. This will take me longer, esp b/c it's hard to find a tech development solution but I think I'll be more effective helping workers taking the tortoise approach rather than tying myself to VC funds. Hope this clarified it...thanks for asking.
What a brilliant idea!!! KEEP GOING @JenYi!
Thanks so much for sharing, Jennifer! Those are all super helpful. Isolation is a big one when you're a team of one - I'm also finding that working from home is having a similar impact.Looking for more digital spaces to speak to people and share ideas as a solution