It was a stormy night in California. We were a few months in to development and we still hadn’t launched yet.
The fire we had to continue developing our startup was beginning to die. The starting is always easy—two guys extremely excited to bring their vision to life. Once upon a time, we ate, slept, and dreamt our startup as we dedicated hours at a time to bringing it to fruition.
But as we got deeper and deeper in to it, doubt started to come in. Somewhere along the line, discussing usability and marketing strategies turned in to late night philosophical discussion: “Is all of this work really worth it?” “Will there be a reward at the end of this?”
Even worse, we were a non-tech/tech dynamic—meaning my cofounder was doing the bulk of the actual technical development while I was working on “other things”.
“Other things” is my way of saying: I felt useless. I could whip up a design and could dabble with simple HTML and CSS, but was too much of a novice to contribute to the back-end code. And unfortunately, at this point, most of the work that needed to be done heavily relied on the back-end.
The task rested on the shoulders of a talented, yet often drained technical cofounder. On some nights, motivation would be at an all time low because there was no one to pick up the slack with the coding or no one that could provide creative insight with the deeply technical aspects of the startup.
I had to do something. Not only to save the sanity of my technical partner, but also for the survival and growth of the company itself.
Of course, I wouldn’t be able to learn enough programming in this short time frame to contribute directly. So I focused on my strengths. I did a few different things, but this simple move was my personal favorite:
I asked my technical cofounder to set up a simple email opt-in form for people to sign up as beta users for our startup. Whenever anyone submitted their information, an email would be sent to both my tech cofounder and I to alert us of a new sign-up.
Although all we had was a simple coming soon page and a video, I began spreading the message far and wide. We both received our first “You have a new signup (beta user)!” email that day. Hundreds more piled in the next few days.
Signups were my new form of “motivation” currency. Every user that signed up made developing and launching the project more and more urgent. Whereas before we were the only two people excited to launch our startup, now hundreds of other people were excited and waiting for us to launch.
This really boosted our motivation and lifted our spirits even on our worst days of development.
Anytime my cofounder needed a push—I’d bring in loads more signups, and anytime I needed a push, my cofounder rolled out a beautiful new feature in development.
This is just one example. The point is, though: never sit on the sidelines and let your cofounder do all of the work. A startup is so small that if there is one weak link, the entire startup can potentially crumble.
In your startup, everyone’s success is tied together. Your hard work will motivate your fellow cofounders work, so find a way to use your skills and talents to contribute to this success.
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A lot of people have been asking how I found my technical cofounder (I found him online since I didn’t know any prior to meeting him). So I decided to make a few videos to explain the process. They are 100% free and I just hope they help. Enter your email to get the videos:
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