“I believe being a solo founder is more difficult to succeed then build a company with partners… [because] there are so many things to do at a startup.” said Co-founder.
“[You’re] the one make the decisions more quickly because you know all the things, you’ve experienced on it. You can draft quickly and come out with a very specific plan. A co-founder disagreement can kill a startup.” said Solo Startup Founder
“The creator of PlentyOfFish, Markus Frind and Sara Blakely who startup Spanx alone are the best solo founders i would respect.”
Markus created the website as an exercise to improve his ASP.NET skills in 2003, and it grew quickly.
He ran the company independently until 2007, when he began hiring employees. It’s estimated revenue in 2008 was $10 million.
Going Solo vs Co-founding
If you posses all the necessary knowledge to create a new product by yourself, after sometime you can build a great company and hire co-founder, marketing, sales and technical staff to help you growth your business.
In other words, if you can take up all the roles and task then you probably no need a co-founder. Co-founders is to help you add more skills and more alternative to growth your business. Starting a company can be super hard if you don’t have skills and passion to start. Also, if you want to growth your business quickly in the fast-moving markets, you need more resources.
Co-founder can be fired anytime because you’re just another top level employee with company share. Co-founder is just a name, if you can’t contribute to company growth, you’re more likely to be replaced. The best example is Groupon founder, Andrew Mason has been sacked, he told staff: “You are doing amazing things at Groupon, and you deserve the outside world to give you a second chance. I’m getting in the way of that.”
Read Mason’s memo in full:
People of Groupon,
After four and a half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding – I was fired today. If you’re wondering why… you haven’t been paying attention. From controversial metrics in our S1 to our material weakness to two quarters of missing our own expectations and a stock price that’s hovering around one quarter of our listing price, the events of the last year and a half speak for themselves. As CEO, I am accountable.
You are doing amazing things at Groupon, and you deserve the outside world to give you a second chance. I’m getting in the way of that. A fresh CEO earns you that chance. The board is aligned behind the strategy we’ve shared over the last few months, and I’ve never seen you working together more effectively as a global company – it’s time to give Groupon a relief valve from the public noise.
For those who are concerned about me, please don’t be – I love Groupon, and I’m terribly proud of what we’ve created. I’m OK with having failed at this part of the journey. If Groupon was Battletoads, it would be like I made it all the way to the Terra Tubes without dying on my first ever play through. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to take the company this far with all of you. I’ll now take some time to decompress (FYI I’m looking for a good fat camp to lose my Groupon 40, if anyone has a suggestion), and then maybe I’ll figure out how to channel this experience into something productive.
If there’s one piece of wisdom that this simple pilgrim would like to impart upon you: have the courage to start with the customer. My biggest regrets are the moments that I let a lack of data override my intuition on what’s best for our customers. This leadership change gives you some breathing room to break bad habits and deliver sustainable customer happiness – don’t waste the opportunity!
I will miss you terribly.
That was the case for Babylist CEO, Natalie Gordon, who recently graduated from 500 Startups. She created a baby registry online that helps new parents discover and share information about the supplies they need to care for their newborns. Babylist generates revenue when it refers sales to retailers. Gordon said “I got in because I had already build a product that had a significant number of users who were very engaged with it already, and because as a software developer, I din’t need a technical co-founder.”
People will think “common sense.” If you not able to do it, you can find someone to help you. Correct? But this is not the case, if you have the skills you want for certain task you no need others. A very good quote “I KEEP QUIET, I DON’T SAY MUCH I WATCH AND LEARN.” Things can be learn, work can be done as long as we put effort on it.
However if you are in a slow paced industry, where time to market doesn’t matter that much, and you have the necessary skill set, founding a company alone can work out for you. But chances are if you are in a faster industry like technology, co-founders can help you build your product and grow your business in a timely manner.
Comparison between Solo and Co-founders
Co-founders: Many things suggested by co-founders can kill the projects, there are a lot of arguments between founders.
Solo: You make the decision your own.
Co-founders: Equity and compensation (like allowance, bonus and reward) discussions are difficult to deal with.
Solo: If you not satisfy working with company, then you are better off doing it your own.
Co-founders: Some people work better when they are in teams. Sharing ideas could be helpful enough even if the co-founder skills side is very little. People are more likely to be motivated when doing work together.
Solo: You need to plan, design, and work for everything. Solo founder need determination, courage, passion, self-discipline, self-awareness, self-motivated, and etc
Co-founders: You’re sacrifice your time, selling your knowledge and skill-set and effort to the company. You will gain experience working for companies.
Solo: Your work is absolutely contribute to your own company, you will learn a lot, you gain more experiences, own pocket money and no need to share with others.
Co-founders: You can be fired any time.
Solo: Time and effort needed. Startup a company yourself is an emotional roller-coaster. Example when start developing a project, at first it doesn’t earn much money, but after sometime it will grow then you can hire first employee, then second employee, then another.
Co-founders: Can be very successful however it contribute a lot of money to employees. A lot of man power is needed.
Solo: One man show is just like what you learn today will become knowledge, what you work today will add more revenue.
Co-founders: Need office. Every month company have to spend a lot of money including salaries and wages, rent, postage, research, travel, utilities, taxes, etc.
Solo: Can work anywhere as long as you have a smartphone or tablet computer.
Co-founders: Wasting few hours a day to prepare, dress up yourself, taking transport etc. They waste time at work for a few hours a day.
Solo: Free and easy. You can work at home, work while at travel or meeting people. Work only few hours or the whole day as you like.
Co-founders: Basic salary. They call salary a secure income. “My dream is become a company CEO or Manager. That’s make sense for me to have less work in company while getting more salary and bonuses.”
Solo: I must do it myself, this is my project, my company and I learn it if I wanted something I don’t know. I explore more, do more work than working with ex-company. This is my passion through my life, I design the way I like to work. This is my style and not Gangnam Style (people like it too much because it is too common.)
Co-founders: I work for easy job, get easy salary and spend like a boss.
Solo: Gain tons of experience included competitor, mistake, obstacle, etc.
Co-founders: Meet the same faces everyday. Most of the people have their own working style, that’s why always conflict with others.
Solo: I’m doing the work I like. I don’t like routine task, I never sell my time to finish the task with others I conflict with.
Co-founders: I’m the CEO of the company. I’m a boss (Employee need a salary. Are you getting salary every month?). I manage and plan for the projects only but never do the other stuff, that is not my task! Salary works.. LOL
Solo: I was an employee too. Everyone can be a startup founder. Now I motivate myself everyday and do everything not just talking. I keep looking for bright future!
My conclusion is courage, determination, self-awareness, etc can help you move forward. Keep walking!