The idea for DULO was born on September 1st, 2016. A couple of days later I shared it with a friend who eventually became my co-founder — Julian Samarjiev. Together, we have been building our apparel business for almost 2 years. We spent 1 year in product development and went over 70 dress shirt prototypes before we committed to our final version.
Looking back on the journey so far, I recognize the importance of having a co-founder when starting a business. In the past, I was convinced that I work faster and better alone.
Today, I can confidently say that working with another person closely, day in and day out is far better than going solo. Here are 5 reasons I believe you should work with a co-founder.
Doing something new is always scary and at times the challenges one faces may seem insurmountable. Therefore, it is incredibly important to have someone close that you can rely on to share your thoughts and feelings with.
This person needs to know really well your motivation as well as be candid when giving feedback. This is only possible if the person you talk to is just as equally invested in the venture as you are.
Most entrepreneurs are extremely positive and optimistic people. Their mind is conditioned in a way to always spot opportunities, sometimes so far-fetched that they don’t make sense.
The combination of these two often gets them quickly excited about something they thought of and they immediately jump into thinking how can this be brought to life.
This is a dangerous path when you are running a business and you are the ultimate decision maker. You don’t want to dedicate resources to things that turn into distractions from the main goal.
In our case, my co-founder is equally invested (both financially and emotionally) in the business and is the best person to share those ‘mad’ ideas with before we decide to pursue them. Him playing the devil’s advocate is what gives me confidence in the choices we make because we share the same motivation.
When building a business you are facing many small and big decisions every day. Sometimes when a choice seems too hard to make, when a complex problem stares you in the face, you may get mentally stuck and therefore postpone a decision and the work that comes with it.
This can be scary because it is a huge productivity blocker. You cannot afford that at such an early stage. You have to keep moving. The solution in such situations is to discuss what is on your mind with your co-founder and explore how to best approach the problem. Your co-founder is the only person, other than you, who understands best what is good for the business, they can easily evaluate whether the decision you are about to take ties in closely to the needs of the company.
Once you start a business you will be faced with a tremendous amount of work. If you have to do it all on your own, it will quickly become a difficult challenge.
Work tends to keep on stacking. The more traction you get, the busier you become. More tasks and people will demand your time and attention. When you have a co-founder you can always rely on them to give you a helping hand in a time of need.
In this way, you end up splitting responsibilities and work. As a result, your chances of keeping your sanity and steadiness increase dramatically ;)
Let’s face it. Entrepreneurship is hard. Most probably 95% of the time you will be facing work that is unappealing and boring. You will not be jumping with excitement to start doing it. Procrastination will creep in and you will opt for anything else, but doing the work.
When you work alone, this is very likely to happen. However, if you work with a co-founder you will always have to think about them when you decide to slack off. Ask yourself “would I be happy if I am doing all the work and my business partner is binge-watching House of Cards all day?”
Having a co-founder will keep you accountable for the effort you have to invest in building the business. It is a shared responsibility of both of you and one will always make sure to keep the other in check.
All the 5 reasons mentioned here are lessons I’ve learned through experience over the past 1.5+ years of building DULO. Before you start a business you only have the experience of others and hypothesis about what it takes to build a lasting company.
In reality, you never know until you start doing it. Once you are in the thick of it, you will quickly realize how much work you need to do. Doing it alone is unsustainable (and definitely less fun) than if you decided to share the journey with a co-founder. I know for certain that DULO would not have been where it is today if I didn’t have a co-founder to work with.
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