Most new entrepreneurs are focused intently on the challenges of being a founder. And for good reason--issues tend to spring up overnight. Your startup won't last long if you aren't constantly looking out for problems.
I certainly didn't think much about the benefits of being a founder during the early stages of my company. There was too much going on, too many difficult decisions to be made. Staying vigilant was more important than reflecting on the strides we were making.
However, I'm much more thankful and appreciative of what this role has given me now that we've scaled and I can look back on several years of experience.
In fact, there are plenty of great perks to being a founder--and reflecting on them can help you keep a sense of perspective and positivity.
Here are the biggest benefits I've noticed:
1. You're in control of your own destiny.
This aspect of a founder's life is both amazing and incredibly challenging.
You're the one making the final decisions and setting the strategy. When things go right, you see your vision come to life. It's really powerful to see the tremendous growth that's occurred, and you feel a sense of ownership over that.
Of course, when you make the wrong decisions, you have to own those as well.
The difficult part about controlling your destiny is that it never gets easier. You can (and should) learn from past decisions, but the context is always different. The choices become more complex as your company grows, and each one has a different impact on your team.
It may not get easier, but the longer you stick with it, the more hindsight you have. And reflecting on where you've been and how far you've come is one of the most rewarding parts of the position.
2. You get to be a role model.
No one really starts their company imagining they'll be someone who others learn from and look to. But as you grow and find success in your own business, this dynamic will evolve.
It's really interesting to watch within your own team--seeing people develop, grow, and learn during their time at the company. It feels very personal and real because you've hired everyone who works for you. If they came on in the early days, you probably interviewed them yourself.
Without a doubt, I've grown and learned a tremendous amount as a founder. But it's amazing to see people on the team who've also stepped up and come so far in their personal development. I've had people come up to me at different times--even people leaving the company--and tell me how much they've learned.
Being a role model isn't just limited to within your company. Once you get into the public eye, you'll begin to meet people at speaking engagements and events who tell you about how your work and your company has inspired them.
Don't take those moments for granted. They're the product of the work you and your team have done and a testament to your accomplishments.
3. You establish so many relationships and build an incredible network.
When my co-founder Dave and I first started ThirdLove, I only knew two other founders. Now, the majority of my network is composed of founders and entrepreneurs.
A strong network is so valuable because it provides you with a variety of people you can go to for advice about a specific question. For instance, when debating which agency to work with for a brand campaign, my co-founder Dave and I asked a fellow CEO for his honest opinion about one of the agencies. Having those relationships helps you make better decisions and gives you access to information that can positively impact your bottom line.
But it's not just other founders who suddenly become a part of your network. Our culture celebrates startups and entrepreneurial success, so you're able to connect with many people you normally wouldn't have access to.
For example, I had the opportunity to meet with the CMO of JPMorgan Chase recently. This is someone who has thousands of people reporting to her--but she also happens to be a customer of ours--so we sat down together and had a great conversation.
The more successful your company, the more opportunities will present themselves. I'd encourage you to make the most of them, but also to take time to reflect on the road that brought you to that point.
Chances are, you experienced true struggles and great triumphs you didn't even recognize while they were happening. Luckily, hindsight is one of the perks.