Startup Therapy Podcast

Episode #105

Ryan Rutan: Welcome back to the episode of the startup therapy podcast. This is Ryan Rutan joined as ever by my friend and the founder of startups dot com, Wil schroder will, there's a lot of misconceptions about what goes on inside of a startup company, but like as we're building these things, um, you know, I think people have a lot of ideas about, you know, what goes on, what it's like to be the founder, um particularly those early stages right before we've really caught stride. And let's dispel a couple of those today. Let's spend some time talking about what the true currencies that gets spent to build a startup company are. Um as you go back through through history here, as you're thinking about the things that you really gave up right now, the things that people think how this got built right? Like, okay, yeah, I wouldn't raise VC funding. I took out all these loans from these supercool banks who like to give people money with no collateral. I've yet to find in any bank anywhere. But apparently they exist somewhere. What are the true currencies, like what did you actually give up as you were building?

Wil Schroter: You know, I think what's interesting is that most people to your point Ryan from the outside, they see, okay, you know, like you said, they raised money or you know, they put time into it, They put some personal investment and they think that's the cost, right? You know, to your point, that's the currency of what it takes to build a startup. And the truth is long before the startup ever became anything. And certainly long after it becomes something we're burning through so many forms of currency as a founder that in many cases we often never get back and people think it's just money, it's way beyond money. And then I think from a founder standpoint, we have this notion that when we get to a certain point, all of those debts and all those, you know, all that currency we've used will go away. And I think what we'll talk about today is it actually sometimes not only gets worse, but it continues to compound, right? So we're thinking, oh, I'm five years into this. We've raised money. We finally turned the corner and so now things are going to start going really well and I'll be good. And then all of a sudden you're looking around going, damn, this is way worse than it was before. What happened? What happened? I think what would be worth kind of unpacking today are, what are all those currencies? Why do they compound so much? Why does it get worse? Even though it sounds like things are getting better. And ultimately, if we can figure this one out right, I think this would be heroes. What can we actually do about it? Because I'd love to hear that part. If we can figure that part out, that might, I've

Ryan Rutan: actually, I've got a really important thing. I've got to go do just before that before that

Wil Schroter: part. I

Ryan Rutan: think, I think we can get close but like we've we've gone through this a couple of times right? And we've we've talked about these in various ways in past episodes but um you wanna start by just laying out what are what are the three main currencies? And we've kind of narrowed it down to three big categories. But what are those

Wil Schroter: three? Yeah so so T. L. D. R. Kind of things. I think we should talk about today. The first is the most obvious and that's cash but not just cash our cash right? The personal money we put in which is usually not in the form of all this extra dough we had sitting around and we just didn't know how to invest. It's usually what we call det and lots of it in lots of different ways. And I think you know we'll talk through how that that kind of expands the second that we get into is kind of our health and at first we're willing to give it up because it kind of feels free but give it a few years and it doesn't feel very free.

Ryan Rutan: It's like it's like giving away equity right? You give away your health, you give away your equity because at the beginning it feels like it has the lowest value and yet those are the two most expensive currencies.

Wil Schroter: And then you combine the stress of those two and the stress of doing kind of what startups do and then invariably it starts to impact all of your relationships. So I think what we do today, what we could really dig into is how do those things start chipping away? When do they start getting progressively worse and ideally if you and I can be so bold, what can we start to do to kind of chip away at that a little bit and start to curb that? Because I think part of what messed me up and I'm sure you felt the same way and most founders do is we just didn't see it coming. It was death by 1000 paper cuts. It wasn't one moment when all of a sudden everything went dry, it was all these little moments and I think that's also what we can talk about is what are all those little inflection points that at the time don't feel that painful, but collectively really mess us up. You know what I mean? Yeah, I

Ryan Rutan: think there are two things I think that you're, you're absolutely right. It's it's death by 1000 paper cuts. The other thing and you alluded to this really early on and that's the the point at which there is the chance for correction is usually not where we think it is right that there's this lag between, let's say when the business becomes successful and starts to pull up and pull away and achieve some level of success and when the founder truly begins to feel that and really gets to start to absorb some of that and abate some of their own personal issues, because that's what we're really talking about here. We're talking about what are the personal cost of building the startup for the founders specifically. Right? And so, you know, there there is a delta between that point where the startup starts to do better and is, you know, we're we're now in the black, we're, you know, we're now generating profit and everybody assumes that means that before we got there, all of those things that happened in the past were erased. Here's the tricky part, right? I think if we go back to the three that you listed out, the first one is actually the easiest to deal with the money because at some point you can just pay back the debts

Wil Schroter: theoretically into your

Ryan Rutan: health, right? Theoretically can pay back debts. You accumulated health and relationships are significantly harder to pay down, right? So, I think that when we, when we combine those things, as you said, these, they compound heavily right? There. There's an exponential factor there. The other side of it is that as we we don't see them coming right? And and were were unprepared for this death by 1000 paper cuts and we also get the longevity of it wrong, we we completely misconstrue when and if these things will abate and what we can do to sort of assuage those things.

Wil Schroter: All right. So before we get into this next topic, I just want to let you know what we talk about here is like 1% of the conversation, you know, really, this conversation is going on all day long online at groups dot startups dot com where Ryan and I pretty much talk endlessly with founders about every one of these topics. So if by the end of this discussion, you like the topic and you want to dig into it a little bit more with Ryan and I just had two groups startups dot com and we'll pick it up from there. So from, from the money standpoint, here's here's why the money part, it doesn't really make sense to people until the whole thing plays out. In other words, if you're a first time founder and if you're just starting out and you're listening to this kind of leaning on this part because everyone keeps thinking, oh well I just got involved. Either set aside some money rarely or I kind of have an idea of how much I'm going to spend until we break even and yet you don't because here's how it happens, it happens the way gamblers lose money, you keep thinking the last hand, you bet the last money you put at risk is probably the last money and you win a couple of hands. And so you forget about the last money and then you lose and then you kind of remember, but you keep going back and forth and you oscillate back and forth until like most gamblers you lose all your money and you have to leave, leave the table crying Now what happens for for founders is that we do this over a really long period of time. We do it over years and years and years and years and during that time we have moments of optimism, right? We have these moments where we go, okay now, you know, now things are about to turn and and we win a couple of hands, right? But what happens is every time we lose, every time we chip away from our accounts, every time we sign up for another line of credit and another, you know, $0 down kind of scheme that we used to buy laptops or whatever it is that we do every time we do that we just kind of chip away, we kind of put another shovelful of dirt in our grave of of what is our financial security.

Ryan Rutan: That's more

Wil Schroter: accurate. It is morbid and it's awful and it takes a long time for it to typically stack up to what it is. And it's so painful now during this time, all the people around us, you know, they could be coworkers, investors, they could be friends, family, whatever the problem is, they don't see it happening because it's not like instantly on day one I had to sell my house and all my worldly possessions in order to be able to like cover this debt, right, right. I just keep chipping away at it.

Ryan Rutan: It happens over time. You do end up doing that and then some, right, we're talking about, you know, going beyond selling your worldly possessions, you've actually gone negative, right? You're in debt at this

Wil Schroter: point and it, here's a part that a lot of people don't know if you've just raised some money or if you're looking at folks that have raised some money, you often look at them going, it must be nice being them because they don't have to go into debt because they've raised a bunch of money and the business is paying for all these things, so they don't have to pay for it. Except you might Miss one thing. A lot of these venture funded founders, many of them are still getting paid a salary that is way less than what they would have otherwise been making in the market and by way of that at home are creating a whole bunch of debts that they can't pay that you just don't see. And so it's not unlikely for a startup founder in a series, a company, which is further long obviously than than a seed funded company. Um, they've raised millions at that point to be making a below market salary. Now, it varies, but it wouldn't be totally unusual to be making 100 and $20,000 now. At first you're gonna look at that and say, wait a minute. That's a ton of money. I wish I was making 100 and $20,000. And and and and I get it. Unless prior to making that $120,000 for the last five years, you're making $0

Ryan Rutan: $0 and racking up debt. Yeah,

Wil Schroter: Exactly. And at the same time you live in L. A. San Francisco New York, a place where $120,000 doesn't take you very far. And often to compound this more, you're often at a stage in your life, we're may be further along, we're trying to do big things. Maybe you're trying to get married, maybe you're trying to buy a house, maybe you're trying to have kids and you realize you actually can't, unlike other people who quit their job for a better paying job, you're kind of stuck with this one. And all of these things, you know, add up to this, this debt that no one sees.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, so circling back, you know, there's death by 1000 cuts, right? You've, you've now, you know, you've accumulated all these tiny little micro debts, maybe not micro, some are big, maybe you've taken out a home equity line of credit or something like that where you know, you've taken on big chunks at a time. But at some point that's a finite resource that that runs out and it doesn't necessarily mean that the company has everything it needs to sustain itself either, right, Hopefully, right, that's the hope that we use these very consumable rocket boosters to get this thing off the ground and then it achieves escape velocity and we can cruise for a little while, hopefully pick up some steam and then eventually get to that point where we circle back around and take care of some of that debt. But often that doesn't happen or doesn't happen as soon as we hope or think it will. And you know, we're we're facing things like bankruptcy. Right? Right. And and this is where it gets really serious and again, like the company can actually look like it's doing well enough from the outside. And yet the founder may be facing very, very serious personal financial consequences on the inside. Right? Again, that view from the outside, the view from the inside, so very, very different in most cases, right? It's like the view from the balcony versus you know, being on the, on the dance floor. So I think that it's it's important to recognize that and then this is actually a great, a great segue into into the next piece of that, which is that as you start to face these real financial circumstances. Right? So now I'm now stuck, right, because it's to your point, I can't just switch jobs or said differently if I do, I'm still bringing all this debt with me, all of the accumulated debt is coming right along with me, right? Because it was all personal, again, like I look forward to meeting this bank that will give you know, un collateralized money, the startup companies, you know, they can call me whenever they, whenever they listen this episode, that'll be great. So, I think this is a great segue into how this starts to impact things like founder health, right? Because at the point at which it's funny, but this can actually exacerbate this, right? So now the company pulls up, right? And I start to see the company doing better. A couple of things happen. One I start to really look at what has the impact been to me, right? And I finally maybe have even just like a little bit of time and space to do that. You know, if we're profitable now, we're trying to make a little bit of money as a company, maybe there's some more team members, it's not just me anymore, you know, people are taking care of things that I used to take care of and all of a sudden I can take a minute to reflect right, which sounds like a good thing and ultimately it is, and yet sometimes we look at that reflection, it's like, holy hell, what have I done to myself, right? Like I have dug myself into into this financial hole and then it starts to take an impact on our health, right? So let's, let's talk about that for a minute. Well, like, do you remember that point in, in your early career, at which you looked back at that mountain of debt surging behind you and what was the impact that it had on you? Like physically, mentally, emotionally, your, your well being?

Wil Schroter: Ryan? It made me so healthy. I slept so well at night. I felt so good. I was high fiving people all the time. I was so happy to be bankrupted at so many levels. My health just kept improving. I've never been more fit. Six pack abs just pop out.

Ryan Rutan: Fantastic. Good. Well, let's talk about how you did that because I remember it to um, I remember a little bit differently. Like, that was not my experience

Wil Schroter: to the hospital.

Ryan Rutan: I looked at the swelling.

Wil Schroter: Um, so, you know, by the way, I just want to mention if what we're talking about today sounds like the kind of discussion you wish you were having more often, you actually can, you know, we're online all day everyday working through exactly these types of topics with founders, just like you. So any question you would have or maybe some problem you just want to work through. We're here and we love this stuff and we're easy to find, you know, head over to groups dot startups dot com and let's just start talking, you know, this whole thing, this whole journey is stressful as hell. But we have this this vision that once again, once we turn that corner, that it will be less stressful. I'll give you a great example. We're not funded right now. So it's burning up my savings. If we could just to get a check in, then I'd be good. Right? I've never met a founder who after receiving a bunch of money was like, health keeps getting better and better, right? There's nothing about raising money that makes your health any better. Because all you did is you carried over the same debts you had before and now you have a debt to a whole bunch of other people, your employees, your investors, and all these other people. And trust me, while I understand putting the money in the bank is better than not putting the money in the bank. And by all means, if you can get it, get it. What I'm saying is it's not as simple as people think, you know, what's on the other side of that isn't exactly what founders think it is. And so a couple of weeks ago, we were having a founder get together founder group. And these were founders who have done really, really well. And they were raising massive rounds, uh, you know, the rounds of hundreds of millions of dollars. And when you looked around the room, nobody was particularly healthy. Right in my mind, you two, by the time you get to that point, you've been at this game for a very long time, right? And startup years, right? Very long time and what it took, what it took to to withstand your own health issues long enough to even get to that round. It was brutal. But at no point was anyone like you know, time to kick back and just see where this goes, right? You raise hundreds of millions of dollars, you are as stressed as you've ever been. I'll give an example, give an example Early on when I was in the agency business, I always thought that if we could get to like $1 million dollars of revenue that things would finally settle down, like I could stop hustling and working nonstop hours etcetera. And I was talking to a friend of ours, right, some of you and I both know a couple of days ago and he was talking about kind of hitting revenue milestones and when do things kind of settle in and I was like they'd never do and said what do you mean? And how I was like listen every time you get to another revenue milestone right? Or funding milestone etcetera, the stakes just go up all that stuff that was stressing you out just gets multiplied because now you have more mouths to feed you have more expectations to meet. You have it's harder and harder to fix if things go wrong At one point saying the agency we had $10 million dollars a month of payroll, I don't have a rich uncle, I could call to say, hey uncle Trump, can you, can you can help me out with this with this $10 million dollars month problem.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah.

Wil Schroter: Like it should be so much more stressful because you're so you're so much more detached from how you can even control the outcome of this, which by the way, leads to your lack of health and leads to all of these other issues. It actually accelerates all this sh it you were expecting to fix and Ryan, I don't think anybody sees that coming. You know what I mean? I I

Ryan Rutan: know they don't write, I think there's, there's a number of things that happened, right? We can talk about all the dynamics of fundraising. But I think at its core like let's just go through the kind of example we've given, which is that you started with some kind of personal debt. Now you've taken on on external funding. Oftentimes the company has no or very low burn rate up until the point at which they take on funding because they can't right there. They can't accept the burn rate if you don't know where that there's no pool of money to pull from. And you're kind of like just piecing things together, like you said using credit cards and and you know, zero money down for for equipment or you know, working out deals with software vendors or whatever it is that you're doing robbing peter to pay paul. Um, so at that point where you take on funding all of a sudden you've got this burn rate and therefore a runway, right? This now has a definite stop point, right? If you don't make changes, if something in the business doesn't accelerate, if you don't pull up from revenue, hit that milestone, it stops, Right. Right. And, and so I think now you've got this pressure from behind this huge mountain of debt and that's swelling up behind you. And then you're staring at the end of a runway in front of you. This is where the founder pressure just gets exponential, Right? And now there's, there's really truly no escaping. At this point, you've cut off your avenues for escape and you have a finite time frame in which to do this. And or raise more funds, which I know everybody throws out as well. You know, you just go raise more money. Sure. If it was that simple, that's what everyone would do. And yet there's an entire graveyard full of startup ideas. Um, that ended after, you know, seed series A series B um, and just weren't able to make that lift off. So I think nobody sees this coming and they willingly step into it thinking that it's going to solve that first problem, right? I'm gonna raise money. It's going to erase these other issues. It doesn't erase them. And as we've said in a lot of cases, it actually exacerbates them. And I think this is the real trap that founders need to be aware of in terms of their own personal finances and their own personal well being, which again, nice segue. Right? As your health starts to deteriorate and your money's all gone. Are you fun to hang out with at that point,

Wil Schroter: will you've got two things where this thing is starting to get worse. You know, as we were talking about about our health as it connects to to our startups and we'll talk about our relationships in our health. But as it relates to our health specifically, are startups are kind of, they only have one effect on our health. They make it worse. They actually don't make it better. For example, if the startup is going really pour it tears apart your health and if it's going really well, it tears apart your health in neither case does it go the other direction and you're like, you wake up one morning shredded just because your startup is doing so well right? Like your health gets pulled on in either direction. And so I think once again, we're paying this massive debt that no one sees least of all us, By the way, we don't, we don't, we don't calculate it, but I think if I had to compare the three, the relationships are the ones that are the most painful because the other two, I feel like it's on me. It's affecting me, right? And and like, you know, this was my journey, so to speak, and I was willing to take it on. But when it starts affecting other people. Yeah. And I start to see those relationships tear. I'm just not okay with that, you know, and and it's it's not just what people think, people think it's your spouse or something like that. Sure. Absolutely. And you know, we can kind of dig into that. But it's a lot of stuff. It's the folks that you work with, right? As tensions rise, you know, as things start to get more and more intense. And again, by the way, this goes both ways, I've seen tensions rise right before companies ready to go I. P. O. And I've seen tensions rise before, they're about to go bankrupt, right? Different tensions, et cetera. But it puts so much pressure on relationships. And here's the messed up thing. If your employee number 1000, right? And there's some intensity about how the company is doing. You might bring some of that home, right? People do who some of your friendships, etcetera. Maybe some of your co worker relationships are strained. But again, this is what we talked about in some some previous episodes, but the founders, their relationships are with everyone, every employee, every investor, every customer, right? So the nuclear effect of how we're paying for this thing spreads across so many people. It's this massive mushroom cloud and look Ryan you and I get along great, we're great friends. And if something happened, we've got a lot in the bank and we can resolve it, right? But what if you had to fight that battle 28 more times today, how long would that last for you? Right? Like at what point would you be like funk this? You know what I mean?

Ryan Rutan: Right? Yeah. Well again, think about the energy that you actually have and the resolve that you have at the time that that starts to happen, right? Because at that point you've been running this race for so long and you've accumulated that personal debt. You've worn your health down and now you're being asked to do the 28 round fight, right? It sounds exactly like it is, it's, it's brutal, right? You don't have the energy for it. You don't have the fortitude, you don't have the mental well being to appropriately navigate those things. You don't have the Eq at that point, like all these stats just start to plummet, right? You become a less and less capable leader, right? In times where it's most required of you, right? And, and again, like it's the personal relationships, it's the investor relationships, it's people in your personal life. It's all around you, right? And there's, there's really at that point, there's no escape. I think this is the other thing again, just like in terms of the we we sort of created this triangle of doom here from these, these three different aspects of the founder debt at the personal level and it really does start to to box you in. I know I just said it was a triangle and then I described a box. But let's say it's a triangular,

Wil Schroter: we're

Ryan Rutan: not trapped in a triangular box. Yeah. Too much geometry. See what I said. You know, my my cognitive abilities have dropped. It's because I've been a founder

Wil Schroter: for this is what happens.

Ryan Rutan: So you end up in the situation where you've got as little capability to deal with these things, right? You you're out of that, that personal debt. You can tap, right? And that's why we wouldn't raise money has gone as far as we can with with what we can pull out of the bank and beyond financially. We've now taken on the money and we've created that stress. We've got that runway in front of us now and now we're trying to deal with personal relationships and work relationships and investor relationships and vendor relationships and all of these things just chipping away at us while simultaneously trapping us into the situation where we have to deal with them because they're really is you've got no avenues for escape at this point. You have to deal with these things head on and you're in your least capable state.

Wil Schroter: You know, the interesting about their relationships and someone with a little bit of your health, they actually respond back right. Like in other words, they force you to deal with them in many cases where I've dealt with it in the past was at first, it was, it was very nonchalant in other words. I said, hey, I can't meet up with you this weekend, you know, gotta work all weekend type thing. And so, and so I kind of fell behind on some of my personal relationships, you know, with friends and such, but they were okay with it. They had other stuff going on and you know, they knew I had to work, not the end of the world, but a couple of days became a couple of weeks, couple weeks became a couple of months and a couple of months became a couple of years and I and I stood back and I said, I don't even know this person anymore, right? It's not them, they never canceled a single time that was on me. And that was just, you know, friendships, which I don't want to say are disposable by any means, but sometimes they don't have the same magnitude as some of my closer relationships, right? You know, family and what have you, you see this all the time with founders with kids, we're at one point they're sitting across from their kids finding out who they are, right? And you see this, you know, back in the day with executives that traveled all the time, right? And all of a sudden your kids grow up and you know, you're getting photos of, of how they're growing up like, you know, you're a stranger in their own lives. It happens all the time and that's not, you know, explicit to founders. But my point here is all those relationships collectively start getting chipped away up and it's, it's not until someone raises their hand and says, hey, this isn't ok, right? I mean often if you're married, you have a spouse, let's say, or you know someone, your life relationship where they're raising their hands saying, I can't do this anymore. You know, all these debts you're willing to pay. I wasn't willing to pay, right? You signed up for that without me, right. That was what we talked about, that, that kind of phantom contract that existed for you but doesn't exist for me and we signed those everywhere. Yeah, yeah, yeah. With everyone. And I think what happens is invariably some of those relationships again, ultimately the big ones like, you know, marriages and such start to come to a head and from the outside, let's say the company is doing really well and from the outside people are saying, wow, that looks great as we're recording this, Bill Gates just announced that he's getting divorced from Melinda Gates right. Bill Melinda Gates Foundation have 1600 employees from the outside. It's doing all these amazing things from the inside Bill Melinda not doing so well, right, You know, so, and he's one of the richest people in the world and has been since like forever from the outside. It always looks like things are okay. But from the inside they're paying this debt as founders in so many different ways that, you know, most people can't even can't even conceive of and I don't think they see it. That's the thing. Yeah.

Ryan Rutan: They don't even the founders typically don't see it right to your point until somebody else points it out to us. We often don't notice because again to the founder, their allowable micro transactions, right? I'm stealing a little time from here. Why? Well, we, we went through this hierarchy, right? We've, we've burned through our ability to pay for this out of personal cash. We've we've now, you know, burnt up our health. The last thing we have is like just throwing more time at it. Right? So we're just, we're stealing from each of these resource pools that we have and they're just micro transactions. Again, 1000 paper cuts, right? We just continue to borrow and borrow and borrow without really realizing how much this is stacked up. Now the financial debt. Again, it's the easiest to track because it's quantifiable, right? I owe this much money to these many people now depending on how, well you understand things like compounding interest rates and how close you're tracking that, that too can get out of hand and in unexpected ways, right? Like debts get called right? And and we're not always prepared for those, but we're more prepared for those at least technically than we are for the, the ones around our personal health and our relationships, right? When those debts get called do and there's no note there. Right? So there's not a, there's not a maturity date on your health or, or or your marriage, right? So when those notes get called, do their due immediately and, and they're often under duress and surprise, right? Like when we threw you in the back of the car to take you to the hospital, we weren't expecting that wasn't like, okay, remember Elliot on Wednesday, we're going to toss well into the back of the car and take him to the hospital because his heart's not working. Like it's supposed to don't forget that this is an important meeting, right? We didn't know that was coming. Um, we had to deal with it. Right? You had traded too much of your health and luckily you hadn't eroded your relationships enough of this where we're like bucket

Wil Schroter: that had been a bad time to find out. Things were going well between us.

Ryan Rutan: Uh, will keeps calling for some reason. It says something about dying at roadside. Yeah,

Wil Schroter: that's his problem.

Ryan Rutan: Well,

Wil Schroter: I'll tell you what I think, You know, we talked about the top of the episode. We were talking about how, you know, at some point we have to do something about it, right? You know? Like what do we actually do about it whenever I talk to founders and you know, we talked about how things are going. We dig deeply into kind of what's actually going on and kind of pull back the curtain a bit. When I talked to founders, I often asked them, are you doing better than before you started this thing? Right? It, it takes them a while to think about that because no one ever asked that question. So are your relationships better than when you started this thing? Almost almost How could they be? But let's, you know, let's stick with that.

Ryan Rutan: If you asked me that at this point, Well, I would just be like, you smug bastard. You know the answer to that question?

Wil Schroter: Well, I just met my kids, but are your finances better, which sometimes they are, is your health better? I've rarely met a founder that's either doing poorly or well, that's actually in great shape. And so what it is is you call all those bets at once, right? And you say if you had to be objective right now and you had to look at those three categories, are you better off than when you started? And invariably the answer is almost always no. Right? If by the way, if you're one of the few founders who said yes to all of these, please contact us because we want to sign up for your plan. Whatever that plan is, we would love to know about it. But look, as we go here, we're making all those bets. So I think Ryan the first step. You know, as we talked through is the first step I think is just recognizing that there's a debt to be had. That this thing has been built on your back and and at some point if you don't start paying that debt back in a lot of ways, it kind of wasn't worth it. What are your thoughts?

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think again, recognizing that it has to be repaid, is that first step right? That there are these debts accumulating again, the financial one fairly obvious. Um, you tend not to forget about a quarter million dollars plus in personal debt. If you did again call us, we'd like

Wil Schroter: to know your secret.

Ryan Rutan: I'd like to not wake up thinking about those kind of things anymore. So yeah, I think that that the, the recognition is that first step and then actually having a plan to do something about it, right? And this is one of those things where it's not really talked about, right? It's not planned for right again because these deaths being called do isn't really a thing until they're at that critical point where like someone's like, I can't do this with you anymore. I'm out or you know, your, your health declines to the point where you have to take action, you know, medical intervention is necessary. And so I think that one of the ways that we can be helpful in this conversation just by saying, hey, check in with yourselves, right, make sure that you're actually aware of how much of this health that right? Depending on where you are in the journey, how, how many of these things have you accrued into what level? Right? And then what can you start to do to reduce some of that debt? What are the little actions and steps that you can take to start to make sure that you're not getting over your toes on any of these debt categories, Right? Because in most cases, look, we can talk about, you know what, what's actually necessary to build a startup. But oftentimes I think these debts are accrued a without knowledge and be without need, right? There are a lot of times where we're spending and we just don't need to or the return on the investment in health or time and often money isn't worth the debt that was accumulated. But again, because they're so small and they're these micro transactions, we don't feel that at the time. Right? And so I hope that in some ways for founders who are already, you know, digging themselves deeply into this debt that we're talking to you at a point at which you can do something about it right to where you can say, you know what I hear you? Um, I understand and I'm going to pay some attention to this. I'm gonna try and do something about it for those founders who are just getting started and you're, you're thinking about getting started and you're really, really early on in your exploration of what it is to be a founder. This is what it looks like. This is what it looks like. And so what I would urge you to do is to be aware of this as you enter it, right? And really think about and be mindful and aware of of what these trade offs are and what you're actually doing to your point. If it doesn't pay you back at some point, why are you doing this right? If you don't have a plan for when those debts get resolved, what are you doing? Right? Why are you doing this to yourself? And so let's, let's dig into that a little bit like what, what are some of the things that we can do as founders at the various stages across all three of these categories? Will that, that can make this a bit easier or at least a little less hazardous?

Wil Schroter: I think you touched that? I think, recognizing that it's real just being able to say, look, here's three categories, what have I paid so far, What am I willing to keep on paying? Right? Because in a lot of cases, you know, it's just because I've, I've got into this much debt doesn't mean I'm willing to go into more or that I can and I think that's too easy because it's binary. I think if we look at our health and we say when was I in the best shape of my life and why am I not there now? And you know, you know, however you look at health, I'm not just talking about physical health, but I mean mental health as well. And if if you're yeah, if you're looking at it and honestly you're you're evaluating and saying, you know, I'm actually not in that good of a place I can guarantee no matter how successful this startup becomes, it doesn't erase all of that. Right? Again, it's not like debt where we can write a check and make it go away. We're going to pay for that in so many different ways. And the one on top of that that you cannot undo our relationships. I've never met a founder who said guess what? I had an amazing exit. Really cool that I never got to meet my kids, right? I mean like it's never happening right? There's there's no version where we'll ever be able to pay that back. So there's there has to be a version as we go through this or we stop and we say this is as much as I'm willing to pay and in fact I've got some debt that I need to pay back, you

Ryan Rutan: know, I think it's it's an interesting point. So the three categories, there's only one and you alluded to this, but there's only one that the business can really help you with and that's the financial debt, right? That's the only one of the resources it can directly give you back. Now through that money. You can buy yourself some time some medicine, some therapy, right? There's a lot of things that money can do to start to to help with some of these other issues, but it can't directly impact, right? It's the other. The other two are directly in the hands of the founder. Well, sorry, only the second of the two is directly in the hands of your health, is directly in your hands, right? You can do something about your health. Of course it requires third party a lot of times. You're gonna need doctors, you're gonna need, you know, people to help with that, but it's relatively under your control, right? You can directly attempt to impact that when we move into the third category, we're talking about relationships. It's not just implied that the third party actually cares, right, that they want the relationship back at that point. If you've eroded it to the point where, you know, it's it's in need of repair. Not up to you to decide Holy on your own to fix that relationship, right? That requires the other person to be open to, to reopening that relationship or repairing that relationship. And so I think in terms of the severity of the of the debts as we move down that line, The repair becomes that much more difficult as we move from finance into health into relationships, there's an inverse in terms of the difficulty in terms of paying them back. Um and I think it's important to be super, super aware of that as we accumulate them, right? Here is the other piece of relatively good news. I guess that's I think that there are also more easily avoided in terms of like as we, as we move along, right? We can choose, we need money for the company, right? But we can choose how much of our health we spend on it and we can choose not to let it negatively impact people around us, right? Those are actually choices, right? Because those are resources that we do directly choose to spend and how So I think it's important again to to be aware of these things and hopefully just by even calling this out, we're helping somebody right now. I really hope that you know, everybody listening today is paying attention to this and saying like, okay, I'm either already doing this and I need to to curb the debt at this point. I need to repay some of it or I'm at such a stage that I haven't really accumulated a ton of this debt and I can keep it from happening at all right. And that is possible, guys. It is

Wil Schroter: alright, So that was fun, but let's actually keep this conversation going. You've heard what we think about this, but you know, Ryan and I would really like to hear what you think and we're online, like all day long, pretty much talking about every startup topic you could think of from fundraising, the customer acquisition to just really have to get all of this crazy startup stuff out of your head. And there's tons of other founders just like you they're weighing in on these topics, you'll get a chance to just hang out and meet some really smart founders were also super, super easy to find. You head over to groups dot startups dot com and let Ryan and I hear what's on your mind, Let's get to know each other a little bit and let's just start having more of these conversations.

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