As a founder, the biggest secret you can never share with anyone, somewhere between Customers 1 and Scale is … that you won’t make it.
That’s there really no hope.
In the super early days, before any customers, any revenue, there’s no need to pretend. Everyone knows you have no revenue. That’s the plan is to get some. It’s OK. That’s all in the future.
Then the time comes after your first customer, when even though you have some revenues … you will never get there. You’ll never get enough customers to make it, to take off, to get to the next level. Or even just to make payroll.
You can’t tell anyone. Not really.
If they see fear in you, if they see you don’t believe you’ll ever get from $10,000 a year in revenues to $10,000,000 in any sensible amount of time … they’ll all leave. Or at least, stop working as hard. Or at least, stop trying to do the impossible.
You can share that the odds are against you.
You can never share that it’s impossible.
I never did. At least, not to anyone even remotely close to my company or employees.