A few times a week I look through some of our customer service emails – it’s good way to stay on top of what people are confused about, where questions are coming from, etc. There are a few patterns we see and one of them that’s most concerning are the reasons people give for why they are delaying applying (since we’re a hand-screened network) and looking for a cofounder right now. Here are the top 3 reasons people give and why they are doing themselves a disservice:
1. “I don’t have my prototype ready yet.”
Fairly often people will say, “I’m in the process of redoing my site/app/prototype, so I want to complete it before I approach anyone” or “I’m going to come back once I’ve 100% confirmed my idea in a few weeks.”
I literally want to yell. “A few weeks?” Why would you possible wait a few weeks? Do not wait to start talking to people and seeing if you can work together.
The cofounder process is NOT a quick one. You can see in every one of our featured FounderDating success stories – it takes months even when you are committed. You have to to leave yourself time to be wrong and truly get to know people.
Even more importantly, you shouldn’t be hard selling an idea, so don’t worry about having a prototype ready or perfect. You’re getting to know someone and maybe finishing a prototype together will tell you if it’s the right fit.
2. “I’m not ready to quit my job yet.”
Perfect! At least 6-12 months before you quit your full-time gig and “take the leap”, you should start talking to potential cofounders and working on side projects together. This gives you time to work with multiple people, and to walk away from relationships that aren’t clicking. It also affords the opportunity to learn so much about yourself – styles you like and don’t like, attributes you value and those you can do without. Working with a cofounder is not the same as being coworkers, you need to learn what works (and what doesn’t). Amazing companies often start from side projects, Twitter (TWTR), Instapaper and Craigslist, just to name a few.
Do not quit your job and then start looking. Wrong order.
3. “I don’t have an/THE idea yet.”
There is a 100% chance that even if you do have an idea, it will change in some way, shape or form. Don’t just wait for the idea. When you wait until you’ve settled on an idea and even have a little bit of money committed (often conditional upon having a cofounder) you feel, well, more desperate. You’re much more likely to leap into the arms of the first person that agrees to work with you. Waiting until theat ppint leads to bad decisions and relationships that tend not to work as well. Searching for the right cofounder is a process and it’s vitally important. The idea will come, but probably not from working alone.
Here’s the bottom line: Finding the right cofounder(s) should be a first priority. It’s a process that’s the will form the foundation of your company and it’s never too soon. Don’t over think it, get started on a side project
early now and see where things go