4 Things I’m Screwing up as a Founder


I don’t usually bitch, and this is not going to be a pity party.

But, it kind of is. Hear me out.

I figure, we all have things we know we need to improve upon as founders. Part of actually, well, improving is to acknowledge those things. Write them down. Put it out there & make it public.

What gets measured get’s managed, right?

So, here are the 4 things that I’m screwing up right now as a founder at Startuplister. These 4 things are affecting our business, and I need to improve upon them.

Pass the tissues, please. Here we go:

Screwup #1 — I’m afraid to ask for feedback from my customers

When I launched Startuplister, I was afraid to hear what my customers actually thought of the business. That’s like a waiter serving a meal and then sprinting away.

I need to be in dialogue with my customers. In need to hear their voice and their complains just as much as their compliments.

One method I’m trying now is to send out Net Promotor Score (NPS) interviews. I’m using a tool called AskNicely. It automates NPS for me.

So far, it’s been hard to get the detractor emails and amazing to get the promoter emails. It’s a work in progress, and I need to be OK with asking for feedback.

AskNicely report

Screwup #2 — I’m not writing

One of the reasons I’m writing this post is so that I can stop screwing up so much on screwup #2. Content marketing can be an excellent marketing channel for startups. It’s also a great way to build a narrative for your company.

My last article brought in 19k views and a ton of traffic to my site. Best of all, the traffic was fairly high converting. Evidence enough that I need to be focused more on writing high quality content.

Stats from my last article.

Screwup #3 — I’m too distracted by sales tools

Salesforce, BaseCRM, Toutapp, Yesware, AutopilotHQ, AgileCRM, Contactually, SalesBeach, Streak, Nimble, QuickMail, PeristIQ, Drip. What do these have in common?

I spent the last week setting up accounts on ALL of them. No joke. I’ve spent far too much time trying to find the exact stack of tools for my new outbound sales processes.

They are all amazing tools, but only when you need them.

The thing is, I don’t even HAVE A SALES PROCESS yet! So, I don’t need an advanced tool set.

Startup sales tools are sexy and fun, but they don’t do the work

When I launched Startuplister, I had a web form that went into a spreadsheet. It was almost too simple. But it worked. Product Hunt started out as an email list. My sales process can and should start out as a spreadsheet.

Screwup #4 — I’m spending too much time writing code

For the past 2 months, I completely rebuilt Startuplister on top of a WooCommerce. I did this primarily so that I can have a much better foundation for building a recurring revenue model (more on that later) and the ability to add more products. It was super fun to build.

I’ve finally re-launched the new platform, but i’m still stuck in tweak mode (no, i’m not stuck twerking).

Stuck twerking errr tweaking

It’s addicting to write code, build new features, tweak shit ad nauseam.

But, as a single founder if i’m building 100% of the time, that means that i’m marketing 0% of the time (how’s that for math?). Inbound and outbound marketing take some effort to get going, and effort to maintain. They’re pendulums. If I stop marketing, I lose the inertia. I need to be splitting my time 50/50 between product and marketing.


What are you screwing up?

Writing down the things i’m getting wrong every month has helped keep me honest, and transparent with the business.

It’s so easy to ignore the things we are screwing up. Doing so can stall growth.

I never thought i’d say this, but I’d love to hear what you are screwing up! What are 4 things on your screwup list, right now?


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