Community Building June 2, 2020

What were the biggest challenges when first starting your business?

Chris @blunicorn

I'd love to hear what people consider to be the biggest problems right at the outset of their projects? So not necessarily 'finding users', but more like 'finding an idea' or 'searching for a cofounder' etc.

I've asked around a bit and heard some answers that resonated with me, such as:

  • Staying lean and focused on your goal (and launch!).
  • Finding ways to pay for the first things your business needs, e.g. operating costs for infrastructure, perhaps some early ad-spend. This bit is obviously dear to my heart, and why we're starting HackerStash.
  • Creating time to work effectively on your projects alongside day jobs, family life etc. I've often struggled with this, particularly in prioritising my mental health at times!
  • Finding technical co-founders that share your vision and passion for a particular project. (Thanks @hazmeister and @lemonjs 😘)
  • Concerns around setting up banking and business incorporation etc for an untested idea (because you're left with financial liabilities and accountancy fees regardless of whether it succeeds).

Those are just a few of the pain points people shared with me, but I thought it would be nice to hear from fellow indiehackers - do these resonate with you? Are there other big issues you've struggled with?

My plan is to do some research on the stand-out topics and write some blog posts to share with the community afterwards! 😊

  1. 3

    All of the items aren't too difficult (at least for me) except FINDING A COFOUNDER.

    This is the toughest thing because of a few reasons:

    1. Finding someone that can commit full-time for only equity has something like a 0.0001% chance. None of the sites I've used (AngelList, CofoundersLab, etc.) have been too good at having these people either.
    2. Getting someone qualified to do the job. Maybe you want a previous startup founder but that startup founder is either rich or working on another idea already.
    3. Matching that vision like you mentioned. If you have the idea, you probably have a plan for how things should work and grow. Finding someone that believes in the mission as deeply as you is also tough.

    In my last startup, I caved and ended up paying my CTO a salary which ended up screwing up my finances. I feel that many people get desperate and want to just find anyone to the point they end up choosing the wrong person. So many things here to go into but don't want to write an essay.

    1. 2

      Maybe you should write an essay! Sounds like a load of experiences and lessons learned that could be really valuable for others 😊

      Have you ever tried Indiehackers in the Cofounders group? I've met people in there in the past, we actually decided not to collaborate, but there was plenty of talented people who shared a similar mindset.

      I do think the 'qualified for the job' is quite hard to get right. I tend to look at what are the mutually beneficial skills, like what am I lacking and what do they have to offer etc. I learned that the hard way by working on projects at times either alone, or with people, where we didn't naturally have opportunities to spread the variety and volume of work between us.

      The vision part is so key though, you really can't drag someone along who doesn't feel just as invested in the outcomes as you.

      Anyway...where's this essay at? 😜