I have spent time with entrepreneurs across the continent these past weeks like never before!
Bonded with them to not only understand what’s going on with their business but with their lives, mental health and financial status.
As I share this list I hope you will reach out to the founders you know, particularly those in developing markets and share some hope and love.
Things entrepreneurs feel but don’t say;
“Support me” – Most times people assume that because a founder is doing well, securing partners, marketing new products or services, that they don’t need anything.
They do… they need you to AMPLIFY their work! It takes a comment, a share, a recommendation and sometimes just a reaction or like.
“I don’t know how to breathe anymore” – Mental challenges come with the founder job description. But because social media has been structured to only post wins, founders will never share that they are not just rethinking their business or choices, but their lives as a whole.
One meme says, “everyone on LinkedIn is getting a new job, everyone on Facebook getting married, everyone on Instagram buying a new home and everyone on Twitter securing funding.”
So everyone is perfect I guess! BUT FOUNDERS.
“Just REPLY!” – This happens all the time where a founder reaches out to partners, investors and collaborators and never get a response!
SHAME ON YOU! It will literally take you 3 seconds to type received I will get back to you or sorry I don’t believe I can help here and wish you all the best going forward.
“Say your not interested, don’t waste my time” – Left, right and center I know founders who have sent 80 paged proposals, showed up for a pitch, come for countless meetings and had things go nowhere.
STOP WASTING THEIR TIME! If you know the partnership, funding or their request won’t pull through please leave them in their peace. That time would be a game changer if they spent it in the business instead of being dragged along by your false promises.
“I need a hug” – Sometimes this is how bad it gets… Next time you see a founder, give them a hug from me.
“You are the reason my family won’t eat tonight” – A product or service is provided and for some reason the client feels the need to drag the payment. Like by somehow taking longer they will get a commission.
PAY FOUNDERS! IF YOU GET A PRODUCT OR SERVICE – PAY ON TIME!!!!
They may not tell you or even look like it but that may be their meal for the day.
“I am human” – Majority of founders/entrepreneurs I have spoken to, are likely the CEO or Managing Director of their business. So everyone acts like they are some big shot. In reality, they are just like you. They don’t know everything but have chosen a harder path… the path to build from
Scratch. Doesn’t mean they are stronger, just that they are risking more. They have a lot more to at stake.
FOUNDERS ARE PEOPLE TOO. Please don’t forget that.
“I don’t feel celebrated” – Saw this in a book the other day, people will throw baby showers, wedding showers, all the damn showers…but where are the business showers?
Where is the celebration when the business launches, when they secure a big partner, when they rebrand the product?
Where is it?
Is that to say these milestones don’t deserve to be celebrated?
NO! Society just numbed entrepreneurs to winning so what happens is that even when they do win, they don’t realize it and act like all is normal.
If they face the biggest failures, their wins should be celebrated just as much because the price paid was so high!
“I’m not okay” – Functioning depression is very common for founders. They will get things done, be on the move but at the end of the day… they may not be okay.
When was the last time you called an entrepreneur and asked, “how are you? How are you really?”
“I can’t do this anymore” – Founders likely think this several times a week or day depending on what’s going on.
So if you are proud of them for something, please tell them! Please tell them that they make a difference in this world or their product has made your life easier. You thinking it and never telling them may make a difference in whether they close down or not.
“I need to get a job” – A founder may need to get a job to stay afloat financially. Support them. Don’t see it as them selling out, they need to earn to form a buffer before coming back to the business. IT IS OKAY! Dear founder … IT IS OKAY.
“Don’t string me along” – Dear investor, if you are not interested SAY SOMETHING, don’t make a founder go for endless pitches and send a crazy amount of documents.
These are just a few statements from founders, the reality is I can keep going.
It is sad! Sad that those who have chosen the path least travelled are the ones going through earths version of hell and back daily, while everyone fails to see them burn.
Be kind, reach out to founders you know, be humane and remember they are taking steps and leaps, but they are also bleeding… it’s hard.