For me, both times, it was to find my co-founder.
In my first start-up, arguable I invented the idea of the company, but my co-founder invented the technology. It was really all her. Step 1 was seeing if we wanted to do this crazy idea together.
The second time, my first co-founder and I started working together before the idea came together. This time, it was his idea. In fact, we worked on several ideas before picking EchoSign.
In either case, I did two things that added real value:
- I made the decision, pre-validation, the idea would work. Someone has to have the conviction at Day 0 it really will work, is worth all the pain and effort just to get to the first customer, the first $5 in revenue.
- I made sure I had a great co-founder. I never had any interest in starting without one.
If you have both, you can find a way.