Are you a Craftsman Founder?
Want to make millions or even billions as a startup founder in 18 months? This post is going to disappoint you greatly. Go watch a cat video. There are no big secrets. There are no shortcuts. The trick is to fall in love with being a founder and dedicate yourself to the craft for 20-30 years. If I haven’t scared you off yet, keep reading.
Every year, a select few startup founders turn into something more. To see this happen is a rare and beautiful thing. These people fall deeply and madly in love with their craft. To them it is not just a career, it is a calling. And their craft is startups.
Most founders get into entrepreneurship for the money. Silicon valley is currently teeming with status obsessed, arrogant, egotistical startup founders just looking to get rich quick. They heard about the $1B sale of Instagram in 18 months. Or a friend who just raised $30M for a stupid idea. They think that they too can build an iPhone app and retire at 23. Full of greed and startup envy, they believe that not only can they do it… they are entitled to build a successful startup. Somehow they believe it is their birth right.
But a Craftsman Founder has different motivations and a different timeline. A Craftsman Founder is driven by a different beat than a Startup Founder. Craftsman Founders are not doing startups out of a love of money, they are doing it out of love of the Craft; they could work for 20 years doing what they do and potentially never see “Fuck You Money” and are perfectly at peace with that as long as they do their best to change the world.
Startup wealth is a natural result of the fact that great rewards come to those who change the world for the better. If you are trying to get rich quick, a startup is about as likely to do that for you as Las Vegas. Can you bet it all on black ten times and make a million bucks? Sure, it happens to some. But the only surefire way to make millions in startups is to tilt at windmills until they fall over. It can take a while, so get comfortable and buckle up.
Startup Founder: I will get rich in a few years.
Craftsman Founder: I will change the world for the better in my lifetime.
Startup Founder: Growth first. Revenue second.
Craftsman Founder: Team first. Product second.
Startup Founder: How can I invest $60k today and make $100k/year forever? (real question on reddit)
Craftsman Founder: How can I build a team of motivated, excited, happy people who do great work and are obsessed with delighting customers?
Startup Founder: Hire slowly (check references on resumes), fire quickly (conserve cash)
Craftsman Founder: Hire slowly (relationships you build last many startups), fire quickly (a bad egg is the fastest way to de-motivate an entire team)
Startup Founder: I’m an entrepreneur.
Craftsman Founder: I’m just a guy obsessed with a vision.
Startup Founder: I need to start a company because I only have so many productive years of my career left and I need money to retire and pay for my kid’s college.
Craftsman Founder: I need to start a company because the idea is so good I can’t not do it.
Startup Founder: Let me tell you about our company’s success…
Craftsman Founder: Let me tell you about our customer’s success…
Startup Founder: I usually work over 80 hours a week, I am a god.
Craftsman Founder: I usually work around 40 hours a week, I am a marathon runner.
Startup Founder: I am terrified all the time, but do a good job hiding it.
Craftsman Founder: I am terrified all the time, I harness the fear and it powers and motivates me.
Who are you? What are you made of? A common startup founder? Or maybe a rare craftsman founder? If you are still not sure, check how many of the 30 common startup founder mistakes you still make.
About the Author
Lucas Carlson is an executive, author and entrepreneur. He helps founders discover opportunities for growth, both for their companies and for themselves. He was the CEO and founder of AppFog, a popular startup acquired in 2013 after signing up over 100,000 developers and raising nearly $10M in venture funding from top angels and VCs.