Episode 28 - Boundaries are like Startups (And “Lifestyle Business” is a 4-Letter Word)


Boundaries are like Startups (And “Lifestyle Business” is a 4-Letter Word)

In this episode, CEO and Co-Founder of Precursa, Cynthia Del’Aria, gets down and dirty with dispelling and revealing the myths of the startup world. Many people want you to believe certain things about being a startup founder, but those things are usually only to their own benefit… Not to yours, and not to your company’s. If you want to do this entrepreneur thing, let’s get you set up for real success – not a roller coaster ride on a myth that ends in suffering.

Today on Precursa: The Startup Journey, Cynthia gets down and dirty about what’s what in the startup world. As a company that’s bootstrapping itself to MVP, there’s a lot about this journey that might seem “un-sexy”, and most companies will never tell you about these parts, nor will the media. But we want to uncover what’s real and help you see what options and paths are available to you so that your story can be one of the successful ones.

Cynthia talks about balance and how getting outside money can actually cost you something (and even potentially put you behind), and she reminds our audience that you can usually go much farther than they initially think if you are willing to get creative. She also talks about the “secret formula” to building a successful startup.

Cynthia then dives into the biggest myth about the startup world and how it gets propagated (and by whom). Like Pinocchio, “I want to be a real startup”… This is something we hear all the time, but what does it really mean, how is it potentially impacting you as a founder, and how is it very likely (like 9 out of 10 likely) to kill your business?

Today’s episode is all about challenging the status quo and doing it on behalf of visionary founders everywhere, just like you.

Be sure to like, share, and subscribe to Precursa: The Startup Journey on your favorite podcasting platform and tune in for the next episode! 

Email us with any questions or comments (startup@precursa.com). Check out our website (https://www.precursa.com) for more information on getting your startup rolling.

Straight to you from Denver, Colorado, this is Precursa: The Startup Journey. We share the ins and outs of building a tech startup from inception to launch to revenue and beyond if you’ve ever wondered what building a startup from scratch really looks like you’re in the right place with full transparency and honesty. We reveal it all about Precursa on our ride from idea to exit the wins, the lessons learned and the unexpected twists and turns.

Hello everybody. And welcome back. This is Precursa: The Startup Journey, in today’s episode. <laugh> I wanna talk about how boundaries and startups are the same <laugh> and you know, they’re sort of a punchline, but the reality is that much like building a startup, there’s nothing sexier glamorous about setting boundaries, right? And this is really present on my mind right now because we’re bootstrapping our startup. I think the reason why people don’t typically tell this part of a story about a company, or you don’t get to see it like this is because I’m not gonna say it’s not interesting, but I’m gonna say that it’s not, it’s not sexy you as somebody who’s, you know, I had this great idea for an app or whatever it is like, you don’t want to be going through this journey of it’s gonna take six months or nine months to raise money as an early stage company or whate you know, like, and hearing the same rejections over and over and over again.

Like that’s not fun and it’s not sexy. And it’s not, it’s not the kind of story that you want to hear. So why are we telling it? Well, we’re telling it because it is reality. And while everyone else might set, set you up, if you’re someone who’s like thinking about doing this for the first time, a lot of things that you listen to might set you up for an expectation that makes you give up sooner. And I don’t want that. I want you to be set up for an expectation of, okay, it might take, it’s gonna take longer than I think it might not look the way that I think it probably definitely won’t look the way that I think it’s gonna take more than I think to convince people that I’m the person or that my idea is good or whatever that it is.

And that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with this journey taking longer because you know, and we, we, we talk about this all the time. There’s so many lessons and there’s so many things growing ourselves as founders and growing our ideas and maturing our ideas that happens in this period. And so, although I know that at some, you know, at some point you’re gonna want to hear that we raise money and we will. I mean, we’re not stopping, but in the meantime why this is, you know, I, I want you to actually have a real look into what does this actually look like? What does this really take? And so why I say that boundaries and startups are the same is because this is what the journey looks like as a startup. And it’s not sexy. I mean, someday if Precursa does what we think it will do, they will tell our story and it won’t look like this.

It won’t look like this at all because they won’t tell you this part, they won’t tell you. Or if they do, it’ll be one sentence somewhere buried in the rest of the overnight success story, right? That for a year we looked for funding and nobody would fund us and blah, blah, like whatever the things are. Right. But it will be a blurb in a story about this amazing thing or whatever so much, like building a startup, which is not glamorous and not sexy and all that kind of jazz boundaries. Aren’t either. This is one of those things that we talk about a lot, mostly in the context of like, oh, boundaries, you know, like oh, saying no, or, oh, I have to have difficult conversations or whatever, but I’m really present to the importance of this right now because of how long it’s taking to fundraise.

And, and because we are having to bootstrap so much more than what we thought, right? So between us as founders and our companies have put in a lot of money and the boundaries come in, when I find myself taking on projects, I probably shouldn’t taking on work that I probably shouldn’t because I’m like, well, that would be another 10 grand I could put into Precursa. The problem is there has to be a balance somewhere. The first place there has to be a balance is my mental health the last month. Well, really, really the, not this last week or two, since I’ve actually been dealing with this conversation. But the, the, the month before that was pretty brutal. I hadn’t had, I didn take a day off for almost eight weeks. And in the end, the amount of money that I actually netted from the work that we did made no difference in our ability to continue funding Precursa.

It just didn’t, it, it didn’t, it didn’t work out that way. And so looking back on and going, wow, I gave up all of my family time, all of my, all of my time with David all my time with our friends dinners and things like that in exchange for nothing, you know, not that there, not that there wasn’t, you know, money in the mix and whatever, but it just, it wasn’t, it was not worth the trade off. So I’m thinking about boundaries because there is a thing that happens where you have to be willing to say, what is valuable to me? How valuable is it? And can I find another way to get something else I want without trading? What is valuable to me said another way. I really want to build this idea. I’m willing to put all my time into it, but I don’t want to put my money in, or I don’t have my money.

I don’t have money to put into it. So that’s something that’s less valuable than my time, but willing to go find it, right? That that’s one form of trade off and using a boundary to do it. Now, I’m not suggesting the problem with that trade off. And, and this is always gonna be the thing you’ll hear from investors. They will relate like their money’s more important than your time. And maybe they’re right. Uh, you know, given money <affirmative>, anybody could make something happen, right? Anybody could hire somebody to replace you or what, whatever it is, but the point being, you have to know where your lines are and you have to know what’s valuable to you and why it’s valuable to you and what you’re willing to trade or give up or negotiate or whatever, or that is in order to protect the things that are valuable.

So I’m thinking about that because my mental health, the other thing I’m thinking about with regard to, you know, these extra projects I took on and thinking that was gonna be extra money and, you know, is I, it actually put us behind in Precursa because while I’m not contributing materially to the underlying code, the underlying code does rely on the UI. And that’s down to me in, in one of my, one of my other guys and those six or seven weeks that I had no time to put into Precursa because I was working on something else means that we don’t actually have very much of a on top of all the good stuff that the guys have been building yet. And that means that, you know, one of the, one of the potential investors we talked to this week, he was like, well, can I get a demo?

Can I see something? And we’re like, not yet. And so there is a cost to everything. So when we’re talking about this, what I, you know, the, the, the conversations that are happening right now in, in, in the founders meetings in Precursa are now related to how long can we bootstrap? You know, every time we’ve had a conversation, Sarah and I about, you know, well, we can probably bootstrap and cover all this stuff until we get to X, X date. And then after that, we’re gonna have to figure out something we’ve had that conversation at least three times this year and every time. So, you know, we, we were thought we had this early funding back in February. We, uh, said, okay, if we can just get ourselves to like, may, will be good. So then may comes around. We realize that this funding wasn’t gonna happen.

We’re like, okay, we can probably figure out a way to get ourselves through July, but come August, we’re gonna need some money. And then by the time August came around, we were like, well, actually we can do this probably through October, November, December, maybe even. So just the other day, we had the same conversation again, where I was like, well, we’re coming up on the end of the year. And I, you know, and, and she was like, okay, well, let’s think let’s get creative. And the reality is we probably can make it through the end of Q1 next year. And here is the thing about this. Here’s why, here’s why this is important. And the thing that I want you to be thinking about, and really, really considering, if you can get creative, see what’s gonna happen Q1, next year, based on our new launch time frame and based on, you know, the very, very clear boundaries I’m setting for myself and for my work and, and how I spend my time. Now, we’ll, we’ll be launched. We think the end end of December, but it could be, it could be like the first week in January, depending on holidays and all that kinda stuff, right.

<laugh> we will have bootstrapped ourselves to MVP and we will then be in a beta period where we will have a few hundred people in the platform using the app, giving us feedback, working through, working through their startup ideas, gathering data. That means we bootstrapped ourselves through MVP and into a beta period and potentially through a beta period. What that means is I’m gonna give away less of my company, because is, if I am the one getting myself financially through the major milestones, my company has more value after that. And therefore I will give away less of it for investors to come on board. So there’s two, there’s, there’s a couple different kind of angles or sides or perspectives here that I think are that I think are really interesting to keep in mind. So one is, think about this from the perspective of an investor, they want reduced risk, but the more you reduce risk, the less equity they get in exchange for their money.

So there is a balance they’re looking for, of reduced risk. The let’s still give me enough risk that you’re willing to give away more of the company, or the valuation is lower, whatever that looks like. Right? So that’s one thing to keep in mind is you want to remove risk, but you also, as, I mean, I would think as an investor, you’d wanna get an early enough that you can get enough value for your investment, that it still makes sense. That means there’s still gonna be risk involved, right? For you as an entrepreneur, the more creative you can get, the more you can bootstrap, the longer you can go without taking money, the more of your company you get to keep. And the more, the more courting you get to do of the investors that you do eventually take on, right? Because it’s one thing.

If you know Uber in its first six months of being a company was probably a pretty tough sell Uber now. Well, it’s on a public exchange. Everybody wants to buy a piece of it, or a lot of people wanna buy a piece of it, right? Even, uh, we could talk about the whole unicorn thing, but, you know, even though it’s not a profitable company and it’s never made a dollar of profit, but whatever the point being, you have more options, the further you get being creative, making stuff happen. And there’s a reason why that’s the case. Okay? It’s not just because, Hey, look, I made these milestones. Now I’m more valuable. It’s actually because every milestone is proof that you can execute and proof that ano proof of another piece of your pitch or your business plan or your performa, whatever it is, proof is what people are looking for.

So the balance here is how much can you, de-risk what you’re doing, how much proof can you build up and keep the value low so that an investor wants to get involved. This is sort of the magic formula for how to get early stage money into a company. So the reality is with, with the way that this technology is, I mean, we’re talking to AI, we’re talking about not really AI, it’s not really AI it’s machine learning, right? We’re, we’re building an algorithm. We’re finding that algorithm, teaching a machine, how to refine the algorithm over time, based on the amount of data that comes in. So it’s, it’s not really AI yet. At some point, there will probably be more AI it’s machine learning. But the thing is you, you have to remember that whenever you’re building something new, particularly, you know, if you’re building something that’s a better mouse trap for a, for a market that already exists or something like that, that this isn’t really the case, but we are, we are challenging a market.

We are saying it’s not nine out of 10 startups that fail, or it’s not only nine out of 10 startups that fail nine out of 10 times, investors are wrong. That’s also what that statistic means. Nine out of 10 times investors are wrong. So we are standing in front of investors saying nine out of 10 times, you’re wrong. We don’t think it should be that way. And technology is really good at crunching data and understanding data to prevent you from making the wrong decision nine outta 10 times. <laugh>, here’s the thing. If it even goes to eight outta 10, because of the work we do, that’s hundreds of millions, even billions of dollars every year back in an investor’s pocket in I pockets. So that’s hard to swallow, like understand for me, this is such an obvious future, right? Like this was my vision. I work with entrepreneurs every day.

I know exactly the places where they stumble and fall. I know exactly the stories of the people who said, no, I’m gonna do it my way and how that worked out and what they miss. Like I see it every day. And there’s a lot of people that see it every day. The problem is we get caught up in hubris. I’m the only one, or, you know, they need to pay me money in order to help them do this, blah, blah, blah, whatever, you know, because we’re consultants and that’s how we make money. But we get caught up in this hubris. Like I know something they don’t, or I can see something that they, don’t the only thing that I can see that other people haven’t seen yet, or don’t want to see, or whatever it is is that it doesn’t take a human to do a lot of this work with people.

This isn’t solving a new problem from the perspective of teaching entrepreneurs, how to do product market fit. The new problem it’s solving is reducing cost and inefficiency by making it always available, making it so that entrepreneurs can do this work in their own time, at their own pace and get the feedback that they would be getting from a coach for 90% of the work, a coach, a consultant, whoever get that feedback right away from a computer right away from technology. So what we’re challenging is the hubris. What we’re challenging is the acceptance that this is the way it is. This is the way it has to be. This is how it’s always been done. Yeah, screw that. I don’t accept that, but it means that I’m flying in the face of and pushing investors up against their own inability you to choose well, to choose wisely.

I’m pushing them up against all the things that turn that are essentially FOMO that have them invest in things that ultimately fail 90% of the time, tell me a job where you can get it wrong, 90% of the time. And you still keep doing it. Maybe whether men, I take that back, maybe weatherman <laugh>, but even they aren’t wrong that often when they’re wrong, they’re usually wrong. Pretty big, cuz some weird something, but 90% like do your job wrong 90% and see how long you keep your job, spend your money wrong, invest your money wrong 90% and see how fast you go broke. So my point is, is this a big problem for, for startup founders? Yes. It’s huge. Is this a big problem for investors? Yes. It’s huge. Is it a big problem for incubators and accelerators and all these programs that are designed, you know, ostensibly designed for say they’re designed for early stage startups and stakeholders.

Yes, of course. It’s huge. The number of the amount of wasted resources and time and money and mentorship and strategic, like it makes me nauseous and it’s preventable, but what we’re actually pushing up against is the hubris it’s the hubris of my way is better. I know how to pick good companies. It’s just huberous and pretending like we’re gonna continue to do things this way and there, and it isn’t going to come crashing down on our heads. How many more people would be willing to invest in early stage companies if they knew their was real process and, and real thought behind how these companies were being designed and how they were being built. That’s more resources available. Every time I hear the statistic about all the money that’s sitting on the sidelines with nowhere to go and nowhere to be invested at any given point in, you know, our economic cycles.

I think, you know, all those people would be more willing to invest in startups. If they knew that those startups were doing the right things that were gonna lead them to be good companies, which leads me into the whole conversation about good companies. I think I’ve used the metaphor before, but if I haven’t the way that VCs and you know, a lot of these angel investors who are looking to invest in startups, the way they think about it is they’re gonna build an entire team of home run hitters. That’s what they’re looking to do. They forget the base hitters. They forget the guys who can, they just, they want a team full of home, run hitters. Here’s the problem. Home run hitters have crappy averages. They just have crappy averages. And if you don’t have the bases loaded before a home run, hitter gets up to do his thing.

You get one hit. Now here, here’s the difference. If you have a team that’s well rounded and you have guys that can get on base every time that can get a base hit every time and you’re consistently loading the deck, you get more runs. And when you do have the right scenario for your home run hitter and he does get a hit, it brings in all that much more at one time. But the home run hitters don’t win games. They might, I take that back. They might win a game. They don’t, they don’t get you to the point where that that hit is going to win a game. Everybody else on the team does that. So the term lifestyle business makes me want to kill someone. <laugh> not to be violent, but wherever this term came from, it sounds so pejorative to me, the only way that this term really applies to anyone, anything called a startup is if you have MIS termed your startup, we’re not talking about I’m gonna, you know, do some crafty stuff and put it on Etsy.

And I make, you know, 20 or 30 grand a year on it. That’s not a startup that might be a lifestyle business of that extra money that’s coming in is giving you something to do with your time and your a hobby. And it gives you some extra spending money for vacations or something, right? That might be a lifestyle business, a startup making several million dollars a year. That’s not a lifestyle business, any business making several million dollars a year. It’s not a lifestyle business. And I feel like VCs use this as a way of diminishing, putting down founders and business owners who actually value creating value in the market and making a profit. Why is it that to be, I’m gonna put on quotes, real startup, be a real startup.

You have to lose money. And the reason they say that is because, well, if you’re not losing money, you’re not growing fast enough. Actually I know plenty of people who own companies who are growing very fast and doing it, making money, they aren’t continuing to borrow money to grow their company. And what they have to do in order to get to that place is they actually have to be right about how they grow their companies. See investors. I love you. I, I work with so many investors who are really good people and they try really, really hard and they really do wanna help. You’re making the problem worse. You are putting money into places, pushing people to grow at a pace that they cannot sustain because they haven’t done the legwork. They don’t have the right systems and processes in place. They don’t have the right people in place.

They have plenty of leads that they have, that they can’t close, that they aren’t able to close, that they have a crappy close rate on. And you’re like, well, then let’s get more leads so that we can get more business. No, take a step back and say, why is it that out of all of these great leads that we got that are perfect for what we do, we’re closing 5%. If you close 50%, you wouldn’t have to get one new lead in the door and you’d meet all of your marks. So investors are make this worse because they’re like 10 X return in five years, 10 X return in five years, 10 X return in five years. Okay. Well, if the company is already five years old, by the time you’re telling them that you have a good shot at that. But if you’re trying to come in and invest like coming into Precursa Q1 next year, when we’re in our beta and say 10 X return in five years, I’m gonna tell you you’re crazy.

E and I’m gonna tell you the wrong kind of investor for us, because we want this to be big. And we want it to make a difference for people. And we are shifting an entire way of thinking in an, an entire industry. That’s not a 10 X return in five years. It’s a hundred X return in two, 10 years or 12 years or 15, but it’s not 10 X and five years. That’s a flash in the pan. That’s a Ponzi scheme. Uber is a big Ponzi scheme. They keep getting money from other investors so that previous investors are getting money out so that the company can keep, I’m gonna put gun quotes growing, but there’s no profit behind that. And the thing is, Uber knows that that’s true. Their whole model was built on that. We would have self-driving cars by now, and they wouldn’t have to pay the labor of the drivers, shocking that hasn’t come to fruition.

And so they still lose money. That’s a long time to be taking money from investors to keep losing money. And yet everybody thinks somehow that everybody wants to be the Uber of whatever it is that they’re doing. So the term lifestyle business drives me crazy because they have apply it to any business that makes a profit or that isn’t growing at a level that they think they should be growing. You can make a profit and grow conservatively for a year or two in order to learn more about how to grow fast, how to get big. And that doesn’t have to be the kiss of death for your company. What will be the kiss of death for a company is growing too fast, too soon, taking too much money and not knowing what to do with it and wasting it and burning through it. Raising money at an early valuation that you then can’t meet later when you need more money.

So you end up in a down round that will kill your company. So I’m saying all this, because revenue is important. Breakeven is important. Profit is important. Startups need to learn this lesson. We need to learn this lesson. And as long as we keep portraying all of, all of the success stories that are one in a thousand, you guys, I mean seriously, so incredibly rare. That’s why they’re interesting stories because they’re rare. I want, I wanna contrast that with Sarah Blakely, Sarah Blakely started out selling pan hose in a storefront 20 years ago, over 20 years, she got ideas for products based on the things that women would come in and ask her about. She worked on developing new fabrics and, and got patents on different things that she built that met a market demand. And she just sold a majority stake in her company to Blackstone over a billion dollars.

And the thing about Sarah Blakely is she didn’t take one dime of investment money. Previous to that, she owned her entire company. She built a unicorn and she owned it. It took her 20 years, but she did it. See, it is possible. That’s not a lifestyle business. That’s a cat cow, which the reality is that’s what investors really want. They want money. They wanna make money on their money. You as a founder, probably want to make money and a lot of it. But how do you do that? If your focus isn’t solving problems for real people and doing it in a way that you both win. See, I actually argue Uber isn’t winning. I don’t know if people who are using Uber feel like they’re winning. I mean, I, you know, I’ve, I’ve used it quite a bit as well, particularly for, in a city where, you know, having a car doesn’t make sense for us, but I, I don’t necessarily feel like I’m winning or not winning.

It’s like there was always a taxi stand at the airport, you know, you know, I, so I don’t know if people who are, who are using using it regularly, feel like they’re winning or not, but Uber’s not winning. They have all these users, they, they have their two-sided marketplace and it’s, it’s running, but it’s not making money. It’s losing money. They are subsidizing rider and drivers. That’s not winning in a company. That’s not what investors are looking for. What investors are looking for is a return on their money. They’re looking for something that is cash pop, or that creates money, but we’ve gotten so hung up on the home run hitter. We’ve gotten so hung up on creating the unicorn. We’ve gotten so hung up on this whole concept of go big or go home. And almost none of the business market anywhere in the world is made up of this.

So I’m, I’m kind of ranting, but I’m doing it because I want you to start to question all the crap that you hear come out of the mouths of people who are trying to tell you what it takes to build a successful startup. I want you questioning the assumptions, the expectations of all of the people you hear that set themselves up as experts in this field. Now you could let me in with that, but I think I’m one of the only people who will tell you this, what we’ve been talking about today. I know I’m one of the only people who will call Uber a failure, a failure that keeps going. So it’s the modern day Ponzi scheme. That’s what these startups are. They’re modern day Ponzi schemes. This is not the way to be a founder. This is not the way to build a company that makes a lasting impact and changes lives and changes the world.

You’re not gonna do it with a 10 X return in five years. It takes more than that. So what I’m to you, dear friends, fellow entrepreneurs, don’t be that, be willing to find the thing that you are willing to go the distance for, be the kind of entrepreneur who doesn’t buy into the hype, be the kind of entrepreneur who is more interested in solving real people’s problems in a me away. And you will, you will win. And maybe nobody will talk about you in the media because you, you know, or maybe they will, maybe you’ll be like Sarah Blakely. You know, the more that, the more that we’ve started looking at, here’s the problem when you’re on the outside or when you’re, this is the problem with mastery of something. So the, there there’s a common, you know, sort of a common quote of it takes 10,000 hours of doing anything to, to become a master at it.

Here’s the problem. When you become a master, you realize all of the places where there’s holes, where things don’t actually work the way they look like they do from the outside. And remember I’ve been building companies, I’ve been building startups, I’ve been building consultancies. I’ve been, I’ve been doing this work for over 25 years. And I guess I’m just to the point where I’m sick of the propagation of myth, I’m sick of the propagation of the lie about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. What I’m sick of is a lot of entrepreneurs. Most of you, if you really were listening to your gut, you’d make different decisions, but you don’t because you’ve got investors who are pushing you to do what they want you to do and try and try, have their own ideas about what’s the right thing. And how do they get what they want out of it. They’re not thinking about you really. They’re thinking about how you can get them a return.

I’m generalizing investors. And I do realize that I know that not all of you are like this, but I’m, I’m go. I’m saying there’s stereotypes inside of the startup community. And I am sick of the propagation of these stereotypes as if they are the truth, because they’re myths. It takes something credible to get to 10 million in revenue every year. Something incredibly, incredibly called that very, very few people relatively speaking actually have, but you definitely won’t get there. If you aren’t listening to your gut, your intuition, however, how you know, however you think about that. And in my experience, the myths and the lies that are propagated in the start community are gut squashes. They’re intuition, ques ques <laugh>, there’s a word in there. I don’t know what it is. I’m just really sick of the propagation of all of it, because what it creates is unreal environments. It creates cultures inside of company is where people don’t wanna stay there. They’re not there for very long, or they wear themselves out thinking I’m wearing myself out because this is gonna turn into something. When really the wearing themselves out is the thing that’s going to kill it so that they’ll get nothing in exchange for wearing themselves out. And this, my, my journey as unsexy as it is, as, as much as you might say, God, I, I hope that’s not my journey.

My journey. I am this transparent because I’m tired of the myths. I’m tired of the lies. I’m tired of watching entrepreneurs burn out. I’m tired of watching entrepreneurs, dreams get killed or die, slow withering on the vine, or they don’t try it all because they buy into, if somebody, you know, you should be able to take an idea to somebody and sell it to them for a few million bucks. That’s crap. It’s crap. Nobody buys ideas. You know what? They buy execution. What does it take for you to execute? So <affirmative>, I’m harsh today. I’m brash today. This is because I care. You know what? I’m blaming, I’m blaming investors. And I’m only blaming you right now, investors, because you’re the one with the power in the situation. If you said this needs to be different and you took a step back would be, but you don’t because you have FOMO or because you, you know, you don’t wanna be that guy.

If you are that guy, if you’re the guy who’s out there, who’s an investor right now. And you’re listening to what I’m saying, and you’re going, I totally agree with you, Cynthia. This is the problem you should call me because Precursa’s gonna solve this problem. And I want you, you know, and it could sound self-serving right. I’m an authority in this field. I’ve been doing this for 25 years. Hell, there’s been times where I’ve contributed to this. Not probably in the last 10, but certainly before that, I bought into a lot of this stuff, but I don’t buy in anymore. I don’t wanna be part of the club. I wanna be part of a different club. The club, everyone wins because right now what’s happening is founders are, are draining themselves. They’re burning themselves out. Investors may or may not be winning. And when they win big that one outta 10, maybe it’s probably closer to one outta 15 right now, they act like that makes up for everything. The, but the other 14, those are destroyed lives. Those are destroyed companies. Those are problems that aren’t getting solved. That’s a huge cost. And why do we give why, why, why it’s not required.

It’s just not required. So I’m brash, I’m loud. I’m and it’s not about Precursa. This startup. This podcast is about our startup because this is how we’re engaging with this journey. This isn’t about Precursa. This is about every entrepreneur. Whoever had a vision, whoever had a dream who actually inside of them had the capability of making that happen right up hill. They started buying into all the things that they heard from investors and all the things they heard from an incubator and accelerator, all the things that they heard from someone else who was quote an authority in the startup world. And they stopped listening to themselves. They stopped following their vision. They stopped. They turned off their brain. Not going to be you dear listener. I don’t wanna be part of the club. And I don’t want you part of that club, either. That club has all the lows and very few highs, and it’s always extreme.

I want you to build something meaningful, something lasting, and I’m not talking about a lifestyle business. I’m talking about a startup. I’m talking about, you can be like Sarah Blakely, if you are willing to do the work. And if you don’t buy in, she did in buy in. Why are you bought in, what do you think buying in solves for you? And is it really solving it? Or is it the cause of burnout and stress and fear and worry? You know, if you, if you’ve listened for any length of time, you know, we have struggles. There’s plenty of nights where I don’t sleep. There. There are very real challenges to doing this thing. But the minute you add in trying to live up to the hype, the myths, the lies of quote unquote, what it means to be a startup.

You magnify that you amplify that, and it’s no longer about you and your vision and building something that fits that vision. It’s now about you gotta propagate the myth. That’s what you’ve bought into. And you know what? That means nine outta 10, you will fail. And it will be devastating. I know very few founders who have ended up in that statistic, who haven’t had personal loss, who haven’t had a lot of stress come with it, who haven’t ended up with less money than they did before they started all because they bought in don’t, don’t buy the club membership. This is why boundaries are important. And this is why boundaries in building startups. The thing they have in common is neither of them are glamorous. Neither of them are sexy. Neither of them are things that were like excited to get up and do every day.

But boundaries are require for building a startup and your very first boundary you should set is am I willing to be part of the myth? Am I willing to be part of the statistic? Or am I ready to say, screw that? There’s another way. There’s a better way. And I’m gonna find it because that’s the truth. Very few companies get past the 10 million mark in revenue. No companies that I’m aware of are, you know, unicorns or whatever, without that, without that kind of mark and the companies that are really successful that are truly successful, they just don’t get built as fast as you think they do. So here’s my challenge to you every week. I say, you know, if you wanna argue with me, if you think I’m wrong, if you want, you know, send me an email, like let’s, let’s start a dialogue. Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to send me an email. Tell me about an overnight success story.

One. That’s totally true. Cuz I’m gonna start debunking. These. There is a way that this world is painted. That creates unrealistic expectations. That creates immense amounts of pressure and it’s not necessary. And I’m going to prove it, not just through, through Precursa, but you send me the name of a company that you think was an overnight success. I’ll debunk it. So my challenge to you, and then I also want you to tell me, are you buying the membership card or are you bucking the system? And why? Because I’m just, I’m not willing to be part of this club and I don’t want you to be there. I want you to be successful. I want you to, I want you in 10 years to say, wow, that, I mean, like I had this vision and I have, I have hit that vision and has been beyond my wildest dreams with the level of impact and the level of success.

And I’m sorry, a nine outta 10 failure rate, a nine outta 10, we were wrong rate. Doesn’t get that job done. And it’s not what I’m up for. So that’s my rant for today. That’s my rant. <laugh> we are bootstrapping to MVP. Uh, we do have some more conversations coming up with some, some investors who are, who are people who know us and are friends with us and you know, are, are part of our lives. And I’m interested to see, you know, what can we bring in that will help us get a little bit further, you know, pass what, so we know we can bootstrap right now, but this thing’s gonna happen. And the only reason that investors aren’t getting involved right now is because of the hubris. So this was kind of a, I mean, it’ll go out as a reg as a regular Friday morning episode, but this was kind of a bonus episode because I really feel like, I mean, we’ve got guests lined up, you know, through the end of the year right now.

But I wanted to, I wanted to tell you this, I wanted to talk about this because I have been experiencing it recently more, like I said, you know, taking on work, trying to figure out ways to, but there’s a sacrifice to all of that. And because I’m really just tired of the power dynamic that investors feel like they have. And it’s not because they’re bad people it’s cuz they’re focused on the wrong thing because they also are buying into the myth. They’re also looking for the home run hitter. So friends, Bella entrepreneurs as always, if you want to send me an email with an overnight, that’s true. If you want to argue, if you wanna come on and talk about your experience. If you are an entrepreneur or the spouse of an entrepreneur, or if you’re an investor, I’ll bring you on the show. Let’s duke it out.

Let’s talk about it. Let’s AR let’s, let’s actually have a debate where you prove to me why your way is better. I’m all ears. I’m all ears. But in 25 years, no one’s ever proven it to me in the statistics have only gotten worse. So any of that stuff or anything else, you have a question. There’s something you’d like to hear me talk about whatever it is. Send me an email startup@precursa.com. So startup@precursa.com. As always happy entrepreneuring. And I will see y’all next time.

Thank you for listening to this episode of Precursa: The Startup Journey. If you have an idea for a start it up and you want to explore the proven process of turning your idea into a viable business, check us out precursa.com. Make sure to subscribe to this podcast wherever you listen to podcasts, so you never miss an episode. Until next time…

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Cynthia Del'Aria

Cynthia Del'Aria is a serial entrepreneur and tech startup ninja, specializing in product-market fit and idea validation and helping new entrepreneurs reserve their time and money for the idea with the best shot at success. With two successful exits before 30, an active high-profit-margin SaaS in the commercial airline space, and two additional startups in the works, she knows what it takes to traverse the entrepreneur journey, the highs, and the challenges of turning a vision into a successful, viable business.

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  • Denver, Colorado

  • startup@precursa.com

Copyright © 2021 Precursa  |  All Rights Reserved  |  Site Created by Natalie Jark

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