When Founding a Startup, the Conversation Starts at Home.

The cabal that makes up a startup journey goes far beyond the founding team. You owe it to your loved ones to talk it through.

Haje Jan Kamps
Mar 16 · 4 min read
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Conversations you need to have

Before setting off on a startup journey, it’s important to have a conversation about expectations — make it explicit what you believe will happen in the course of this company. How much personal financial risk will you take on in the process?

  • Salary — When founding a company, it’s likely you’ll take a pay cut — at least for a while. How much of a pay cut and how long for? Can your family still afford your rent, food, insurances, and other life essentials?
  • Work/life balance — what are your expectations for how much you will be working? Will there be space to take time off? How many hours per week are you expecting to be working? How often are you expecting to be in ‘crunch time’?
  • What are the measures of success for this business? Or, put differently; under which circumstances would you throw in the towel, deciding that perhaps the venture you started isn’t destined for success?
  • What’s the plan for when the venture is complete? After an exit or potential failure, does your partner expect you to take a ‘real’ job again? Can you dive right into your next venture? Does your partner potentially want to have a go at founding a company?
  • What if there are changes in your life situation? Say, for example, that you are planning to have children over the next five years — how would that impact your decision to continue running this company?
  • Timelines — What is a rough timeline for each stage of the business? Say you are expecting to raise some angel funding and take next to no wages for the first 18 months; what happens if the next round of funding doesn’t happen as quickly as you hoped? What if the business turns out to be somewhat profitable, but it doesn’t look realistic to raise further money?

Make the decisions together

By being your financial and mental safety net, your support network is making their own set of sacrifices, and it’s important to be cognizant of that. Talking through those risks and rewards with your loved ones is the first step— and it’s important to make the go/no go decision together.


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Haje Jan Kamps

Written by

CEO of Konf, pitch coach for startups, enthusiastic dabbler in photography.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +686K people. Follow to join our community.

Haje Jan Kamps

Written by

CEO of Konf, pitch coach for startups, enthusiastic dabbler in photography.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +686K people. Follow to join our community.

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