There's a woman entrepreneur out there who I admire greatly. She has a fantastic concept that is up and working now and is only getting better as a result of the work she puts in each day. The truth is that we--her early adopters--are benefitting the most. We get to take advantage of a high-value, low-cost resource now and, in some ways, this comes at her expense. Amidst the excitement of getting her business off the ground, I suspect she's struggling a bit--money challenges, self-doubt, and burn-out are all common among start-up CEOs.
So, this is an open letter of encouragement to all of the entrepreneurs out there that are serving early clients now.
Dear Start-up CEO,
From your status updates and video chats, I know you've recently made leaps forward for us--your early customers. At the same time, I know times have been tough. On behalf of all of us early customers, I wanted to say thank you. I don't know exactly where this business will land in the future but you should know that my life and work is better today because of what you've created.
I hope you keep going for some selfish reasons. My business has benefitted from what you're selling. I've connected with others like myself and that make me feel less alone as a solopreneur.
I also hope you keep going for yourself. You have a great idea and are clearly ready and able to put the hard work into making that a reality. You're doing it with kindness, excellence, grace, and grit.
Most of all, I hope you keep going for all of your future customers out there who have yet to discover you. When they do, they'll be hooked like I am.
Money is tight and time is limited. Please don't sacrifice any of your personal dreams in the process but continue to stay strong and find a way to reach investors and more community members.
- I believe in (like you do, I think) that we can and should share our gifts with the world and not be shy about asking for fair compensation in return.
- I believe that there are millions of alternate paths around the 9-to-5 corporate jobs we've been sold on in the past.
- I believe that flexibility is the key to professional happiness and being your own boss optimizes this.
- I believe that we all work better together and any platform that taps into that power will be unstoppable.
- I believe that great things are still great even if it's hard for other people to see it early on. It doesn't mean you have to change a thing. Instead, it's about finding more people who believe what you believe.
So thank you. Thank you for doing that you're doing and for all of the work you're putting in now for us--your early adopters.
Too many entrepreneurs give up when their first sales fail to make the numbers they expected. They back off or consider folding when the alternative is to pour everything you have into delighting those first few. With luck and work, these are the future evangelists for your product and service. Ignoring them or serving them begrudgingly because there aren't more of them is a wasted opportunity. You know this and have continued to invest in us early few as if we were a million strong. The personal attention is absolutely divine--though I know it won't and can't last as you grow. That's ok because I'm going to be so proud to say, "I knew her when..." I'm looking at you, KB!