One of the golden rules as a start up is to try and find a co-founder; a team of two is stronger than one, so they say. It shows strength in the idea — that two people have recognised the same problem and are joining forces. It shows more resource — two wallets, two people splitting the work, two sets of skills. I read about it, I was told about it and I believed it. I was so convinced by this that I spent about two months searching for a technical co-founder. I attended events, joined various networking groups and apps and advertised for it.

It’s not to say it can’t happen, but my journey so far is that to find a co-founder, to buy into and get behind your idea, without getting paid, is very, very difficult. Undoubtedly, going solo is a tougher place to start and a solo founder needs to be resilient as all responsibility falls on their shoulders with no one to share the load with at any stage. But, there are advantages of going it alone and, a few ways in which support can be found too.

One of the biggest reasons startups can fall apart is because of co-founder disagreements. We have heard warnings of this from legal eagles, saying that solving legal disputes between co-founders is a large source of business for them. As a solo founder, this is one problem you don’t need to plan for.

It’s true, you might have more resources as a pair but there is also the risk of jumping in too fast and losing money. Starting slow and supplementing an early startup with your current pay check is a good strategy and one that we have employed. We are still making progress, albeit a bit slower but are using the time to double and triple check our assumptions, our customer and the market constantly.

Not having the technical skills was my primary reason for wanting to find a technical co-founder. When I couldn’t find the right person, I focused on getting a tech advisor, getting on a tech accelerator and learning the relevant free tools so that I could at least upskill and do the basics myself. These steps have made a huge difference and have allowed me to get to a place after 4 months whereby I have been able to contract the right technical people at reasonable rates to build my MVP instead of throwing money at an agency, because I have been able to fill in some of the gaps myself and I can talk not all, but some of the lingo when it comes to finding the right contractors for the job.

Having the freedom to make decisions, to change, to pivot as a solo founder is also liberating, especially after a long corporate career having to involve several people for any major decision. There is no one else to blame if things haven’t changed — you are accountable, you are the driving force — more than ever, you can see in the bright light of day the consequences if you hesitate or delay, or simply don’t act.

And the right people can come along, at later points in the journey. By then, it can be quite impressive to tell and explain the journey you’ve been on alone and how you’ve managed. It shows ambition, motivation and it proves you’ve got what it takes; this is something people buy in to and want to be a part of. Thinking about recent propositions for a role I advertised; each person came to me and told me they wanted a long term role with equity in the business. I was flattered, given we are pre-revenue so equity returns are still a risk but I realise now they believed in me, as much as the idea.

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