And sometimes, one of these additions to your management team can take on so much of the burden, she becomes like an after-the-fact co-founder.
2. Get to cash-flow positive. At EchoSign, we hit cash flow positive around $6m in ARR. One could argue if it was the “right” play or not — by staying that way, arguably, we underinvested in the business. But. It way de-stressed my life, to not have to worry about raising money ever again.
At least having the option here, at least being “cash flow break never”, can dramatically de-stress things.
3. Don’t look to your family to help you deal with stress, after the early days. This will lead to more stress. This may sound counterintuitive, but it isn’t. Your family can only deal with so much. You can lean on them a lot in the first 6 months. Share all your fears, your worries, your stress. But after that, share what’s happening. But. Let them off the hook on the Stress. Don’t burden them with your near death experiences, the terrible lows, after the initial starting up period. They won’t be able to handle it forever — no one can — and if you try to use them to help you, it will create a negative feedback loop. The lows are just too low. Your co-founders, and the best of your management team, can share this with you. But after you get things going … don’t bring it home.
The stress will never end. The key is distributing a bit of the ownership, and migrating stress to things you can control (product, customer success) from things you often can’t (timing of venture capital).