Interviewed by Josh Anthony @joshantho originally posted on the River City Labs blog.
1. What is one thing you have learned from the River City Labs Accelerator that you could share with the rest of the#startupQLD ecosystem?
You can do more than you think, sooner than you think. This is something I already knew in theory. But within the accelerator having that practiced has been pretty crazy. The practice outweighs the theory, you can do more and sooner. Having someone, or many, keeping you accountability to specific targets, really helps you achieve them. The targets do need be achievable but a stretch.
2. What are some tips for making it work as a solo founder?
There are a few things which I keep in front of mind to help me overcome the solo founder setbacks. When applying these make sure you have a good support network. Family, friends, advisors and customers who will tell you the truth. Just because you are a solo founder does not mean you are alone or isolated.
Firstly, W.I.N. (What’s Important Now). There is no time to be wasted on things that don’t matter now. This does need to be balanced with immediate impact and longer vision. Even investments that will be a benefit in the future, at some point, become the most important thing to do now. You need a clear vision of where you are heading and where you are. There are rewards now and there are investments that are important now. Constantly ask yourself, is this the most important thing I could be doing now?
Secondly, F.O.C.U.S. (Follow One Course Until Success). You can be spread so thin that you work yourself over many area’s and you have 70% progress on 10 things. If you’re in that situation you actually have 0% progress on a W.I.N. Working these two principles together make sure you F.O.C.U.S on a W.I.N. so you complete tasks that make a difference.
Thirdly, Don’t Let Perfect Get In The Way Of Good. This one is hard to balance. What is good? That is something you need to work out on every task. Keeping an eye on the Pareto 80/20 rule helps greatly for this when diminishing returns kicks in. You need to be clear on the returns you’re expecting. If you are measuring the wrong thing you might be putting out bad things, rather than good. However remember, “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you have launched too late”, Reid Hoffman, Founder LinkedIn.
There are benefits for being a solo founder though. Being just one, I have consistency, flexibility and can be decisive quickly. However if you want to make a big impact you can’t do it on your own. You need to be building systems that you will be able to delegate control to as you grow your team. This is required to scale otherwise your one-man-show won’t be showing for long.
Matthew Rowan is the founder of Process PA, a simple, quick, compliant way of running of your P&C, P&F or association. Matthew is a founder in Class #1 of the River City Labs Accelerator.