The importance of a supportive partner in the startup journey

by | Jan 2024 | Start a Company

As someone who’s invested in a lot of startups, people often ask me what separates successful founders from unsuccessful ones. Is there a single, defining factor?

If I had to name just one, it might be this:

A life partner who’s willing to back you – probably for a decade – through both thick and thin.


Of course, there are many factors that influence a founder’s chance of success, but determination is without doubt one of the most critical.

And of course it’s difficult – perhaps impossible – to remain determined if you don’t have the support of your loved ones.

After all, it usually takes more than a decade for a startup to “succeed”.

That’s 9+ years of not succeeding.

Dare I say, failing?

(That’s certainly how it feels, more often than not.)


My wife knows this all too well. She’s put up with, and subsidised, my considerably-below-market income for almost as long as I’ve known her – through multiple business ventures – and she’s never complained once (…not about that, at least!).

So when I came across this “flowers” joke (?) in the amazing book, “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horozitz*, it was a good reminder.

As older entrepreneurs (at least those of us without a trust fund), we depend heavily on our partners…

…not only to put up with our stress;

…but also to make the necessary sacrifices;

…to forego the nice things our friends have and do;

…so that we founders have a chance to fulfil our potential.

Often those partners get no recognition.

So thanks to all you partners out there who are backing entrepreneurs.

Thanks most of all to Anna for supporting me on this journey and, to paraphrase the words of Jerry Rice, for doing…

“today what others won’t, so we can live tomorrow the way others can’t.”

Love you.x

 

* If I had to recommend just one book about entrepreneurship, this would be it.

 

P.S. I’ll put a link in the comments to a great little interview that says much the same thing in a really heartfelt way.

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