11 Difficult Facets About Starting a Company


Q: What are the hardest things about starting a company?

A: The uncertainty. “The uncertainty is the hardest part of starting a company, but it is also the best part. While you don’t always know what is around the next corner or when your next paycheck is going to come, that same uncertainty is what opens unexpected doors and provides entrepreneurs with amazing opportunities daily. Starting a company takes guts, but the potential reward is well worth the risk.” Jonathan Long, Market Domination Media

Ignoring the doubters. “No matter what you do, there’s always going to be someone saying it’s the worst idea ever. Mostly, this comes from insecure people who are too scared to get out there and do something themselves. Don’t listen to them. Not everyone is a risk-taker, but you are; so do it. If it doesn’t work, you move on to the next one. Don’t feed into other people’s fear.” Andy Leff, Electricity Labs/Warp Speed Labs

Knowing whether there’s a market. “It’s quite easy to dream up a business idea, but many people fail to consider whether there is a real market of customers who are willing to pay for it. Selling, at the end of the day, is the hardest, because that’s the only thing that matters to creating a successful business when it’s all said and done.” Darrah Brustein, Network Under 40

Focusing. “The exciting thing about starting a company is the seemingly unlimited possibilities of ways to bring your ideas to life. The problem is, ideas tend to lead to more ideas. When you start working on one, you’ll get two more that you want to do. Pretty soon, you’ve forgotten why you started the company in the first place. The key to success is finding that thing you do best and putting everything behind it.” James Simpson, GoldFire Studios

Prioritizing. “There are lots of shiny doohickeys to optimize this, streamline that, and improve some key metric. They seem to land on your lap (or your inbox or phone line) without you even asking. The real challenge is to determine what’s most important and find a low-cost, high-value means to achieve today’s top priorities.” Manpreet Singh, TalkLocal

Everything. “It sounds like a non-answer, but everything that you thought was hard will become easier and vice versa. What you once thought was a no-brainer suddenly doesn’t seem like the best decision. As the company grows, so does the pressure to make all the right decisions; especially in regards to moving on to the next project and balancing the demands of your investors and customers.” Cody McLain, SupportNinja

Hiring great people. “Everyone says that the trick to starting a great company is to hire the right people, but that’s easier said than done. Nobody wants to work for an underfunded, unknown startup, but great things usually start when someone takes that chance.” Christopher Kelly, Convene

Stress on your relationships. “Having no time to give, forgetting important relationship dates, moodiness with the ups and downs at work, and talking about nothing but my company have all done damage to my relationships in the past. Thankfully, my husband is in this with me, so we can talk passionately about the company 24/7; and that constitutes spending time together. However, we both get moody when things don’t go as planned. Be prepared to apologize and be patient, especially when you’re under stress.” Wei-Shin Lai, M.D., AcousticSheep LLC

Growing your business idea. “The ability to create a concept, nurture it and watch it grow in many ways symbolizes the birth of a child. The hardest part of giving birth to an idea is that you sacrifice your personal/social life, as well as your financial stability for something risky. Nevertheless, I find it to be the most exciting and hardest thing I’ve done!” Melanie Roldan, Siga Shoes, LLC

Building momentum. “Newton’s first law of motion states that an object in motion stays in motion. The hardest thing about getting a startup running is starting from a place of no momentum. You need marketing and sales to get customers, referrals and repeat business to move the needle and drive inertia. Once you have progress, scaling your growth becomes easier.” Charles Gaudet, Predictable Profits

Juggling culture and expectations. “The hardest thing when you start a company is when you don’t and can’t necessarily focus on the culture. The whole paradox is that you are starting from scratch and will adapt and pivot many times, yet you have to be very cognizant that the culture you eventually extol will be the kerosene that will fuel and define the extent to which your company will succeed.” Julien Pham, M.D., RubiconMD