Startup Therapy Podcast

Episode #85

Ryan Rutan: Welcome back to another episode of the startup therapy podcast. This is Ryan, written from startups dot com joined as ever by my partner and founder of startups dot com, Wil schroder. Well, today we're gonna talk about one of these things that like, I think for a lot of, a lot of people is one of these moments that we hope for that. We aim for that. We think about constantly is we're building our company and that's that point of exit. But today let's focus on what some of the potential downsides in selling our startup are right, we always hear about, you know what people sell for and then we start to imagine what their bank accounts look like and how they go swimming and all that money. But the truth is, there's a lot of other things that are less pleasant than the scrooge Mcduck swan dive moment that most founders go through on selling their startup. Yeah, I

Wil Schroter: agree. And I think the problem with assuming that the other side of the curtain holds so much value is that we start to set ourselves up for this big event in the end and we don't realize what comes with that. The reason that's interesting is because I think when we go through this Ryan, well, we'll start to kind of pull away from it, is that selling the startup, handing this over to someone else actually has a lot of cost to us personally that in many cases, actually in almost every case I can think of founders have a very difficult time getting back this idea that birthing a child and raising a child is wondrous in its own right, letting that child go is not easy, even though for 18 years, like, oh my God, this child's causing me headaches, etcetera, I just want them to get out of the house and then they get out of the house and all you can think about for the rest of your life as you wish you had them back.

Ryan Rutan: That's it. And you know, it's, it's an issue of momentum. In a lot of cases we've developed all of this momentum and we've had to keep up this velocity around our efforts within the business. And it's not very often that I get to quote spaceballs in a business

Wil Schroter: context when

Ryan Rutan: he tells them to stop, right and he says, we can't stop, we gotta slow down first. The problem is in the context of selling the startup, there isn't really very frequently a slowdown period, it's pretty binary, mean you're hustling right up until that close and then sometimes a little bit afterwards, but typically, you know, you go from 100 miles an hour to zero and then you're just sitting there watching the dust of the transaction kind of blow past you and going shit, what do I do now?

Wil Schroter: Yeah, I think filling your time is important in understanding how the company related to you, but I think maybe before we get into all the things that we get stuck on, it's probably worthwhile to start and kind of decouple how a startup, particularly for the founder, founding team etcetera is so geometrically different than a job, right? Because with a startup, it is so incredibly intertwined in our ego and our sense of value, in our external kind of view of the world and how the world views us if I'm working at a job and I quit the job, Yes, there's some ego attached to it, that's some externality attached to it. But I understand mentally that I can go from one job to the next and frankly, if my next job is better, I'm probably just feel fine about my last job

Ryan Rutan: and that's typically the move, right. I mean, most people don't just quit a job and then spend a year or two or three or four wondering what to do next. You know, quite frequently before they quit the first job, they've already got the second one lined up. So there's an immediate maintenance of that momentum. So you don't lose that, you don't have that same feeling of sort of, you know, free fall.

Wil Schroter: I agree with that. And I think part of that too though, is that a job has a sense of something that I can decouple from right. Like I had this job, I no longer have this job, I have this other job, all things are the same, but with our startup, we just don't feel that way when somebody says, hey, you know, I don't like the company you work at Yeah, you take a little bit personally when somebody says, I don't like the company you created, That's 100% personal. I think that's that's the core of this. And I don't think founders really consider this until it's too late. Our startup is so much a part of us that parting with it is not easy. And people say, well the number is big enough, it's easy. It's not true that it makes it easier. Don't get me wrong, right? If you're going to have to part with something, at least you have a check to show for it. But I think what we need to cover in this episode is how much a founder loses and how much we don't consider what our startup is paying us in rewards just by having it.

Ryan Rutan: Sure, yeah, tons of intangibles there. Alright, well let's, let's dig in on it.

Wil Schroter: Well, I think what we should probably talk about because this spans so much is how much our startup is tied to our sense of purpose. We wake up in the morning and we say we want to change the world in this way. There are very few things we can do in life where we feel that insane sense of purpose. You know, Ryan with what we're doing at startups dot com, you and I get up in the morning and we want to help millions of people become great founders or grow their visions, et cetera. And that's an incredible purpose other than family, which, you know, I'm trying to keep out of this discussion other than family. I don't have a single thing that I've ever done that has anywhere near that weight of purpose. Like when you think about how our mission or the mission of a startup for anybody affects them in their purpose, can you think of anything that's commensurate with at that level of purpose?

Ryan Rutan: Not really. I mean, and I think the interesting thing here is that the greater that purposes the larger that benefit is when you're in the startup, but it also builds a bigger debt that you pay when you sell it, right? So I e the stronger that purposes the stronger that driving force, you know that pole to get, because I don't feel forced out of bed in the morning, I feel pulled out of bed in the morning, I'm ready to be drawn into what we're working on, getting people set up for success and just running with it, right? And so the more of that you do, like it's a drug you want more of that. I want that feeling. I love it, knowing what we're doing and watching it build and watching the outcomes that we're helping to drive is fantastic, right? And it really builds you up and it gives you a ton of energy, it lets you clear the hurdles, it lets you smash through the emotional, physical mental barriers. But you are building a mountain there, right? And when you suddenly come off the other side of that, it doesn't slope down like it does on the way up,

Wil Schroter: right? Right.

Ryan Rutan: It's the old hockey stick chart, right? Notice everyone knows what the end of that hockey stick chart looks like. It's just a sheer cliff. That's what we end up falling off. Alright, so on one hand, it's such an absolute benefit and joy to have that level of purpose within the company that you're building. But it is setting you up for a harder fall on the other side. That's something that we just don't consider and to some degree you can't because it's not like if we were halfway through this thing would be like and you know what, we should probably not enjoy this as much, we should probably like dial the purpose down a little bit, feel a little bit less excited about this so that we're not setting ourselves up for a bigger fall at the end. You can't do that

Wil Schroter: well, I think it's a couple of things here and I like some things you touched on the big thing is not everybody has a purpose, right? So in other words, for a lot of us, you know, maybe we have a business that we like the business and it's okay, maybe we hate the business for that matter. And so this concept of losing our sense of purpose just isn't that important to us, but I don't think I would isolate it as just, I don't love the mission. So I don't have purpose. Purpose isn't just about having that big kind of sexy vision purpose is also about just being responsible for creating something that generates money that employs people that provides a service that takes qualities that we have as an entrepreneur and puts them to the test. That is purpose. An analogy I would use here is any professional athlete that professional athletes given their skills etcetera, had a job, whatever sport that might be, that allowed them to have purpose. They got up in the morning, they trained, they constantly thought of the victory, the win the competition, etcetera. And their purpose existed the moment that purpose was taken from them. You know, they aged out on the sport or you know, however, that they're no longer able to do what they do. It creates this massive vacuum that many of them are never able to replicate. You realize after a while that it wasn't just about, oh my God, I don't miss the hard workouts or the suicide drills or everything else that I had to do. I miss the purpose. I miss getting up in the morning and saying I have this to conquer, especially in founders. It brings out this driving spirit that almost nothing can replicate. And I think that's a pretty important aspect of our personalities that'll get taken from us,

Ryan Rutan: you know, that analogy made me so happy. Well, because it made me think that today Alabama is probably feeling nearly as sad as Ohio

Wil Schroter: state somehow. I doubt it good for them, but but same issue though, right? I mean at which point we lose our purpose and my concern is that for founders, when we think about the exit, all we're thinking about is you know, dollar figures or in a lot of cases, all this stuff that gets off my shoulders totally valid. I mean that totally makes sense, but I don't think we take proper stock of how important our concentration of purpose actually is and that really concerns me. So I'll give you an example when I sold my first company, it was a web design company, I had a sense of purpose because at the time this is going way back into the 90s, we were building the future, I mean actually quite literally building the future, the stuff we were building was the future of the infrastructure of the Internet. And it was so exciting now at some point, the excitement of the mission. The excitement of the purpose honestly got distilled because it got replaced with just mundane shit, like having to deal with clients all day and having to deal with employee issues and things like that. And I remember after a while this transformation went from, I'm so excited to create to, I'm so tired of managing and I think when that transition hit, which is typically where a lot of folks are by this point, when that transition hit, I thought to myself, I just want to get out of managing. I'm sure there will be more purpose on the other side of this. Now, in my case I went on to start a whole bunch of other companies, but had I not to this day, I would have never been able to refill that level of purpose and frankly I already know this would have been miserable as hell.

Ryan Rutan: Absolutely. So, you know, purposes is a huge piece of this and I think it's tied to another concept that you brought up in the past, which is just around being needed. Right? And so a lot of what you touched on in purpose. Right? So your purpose was driving need on the other side of the fence. Right? So your clients needed you, your staff needed you, right? You were putting your building the infrastructure, the internet, your clients, you were putting food on the table roofs over the heads of the people that you worked with and work for you. That's another big piece of this. Right? When all of a sudden you're not that person anymore, when it's no longer tied to you and they've gone on to maybe they'll continue to work for the company, but you're no longer there if it sells, they exited out at the same time and they're dealing with a smaller version of what you are right? Because you know, that's something else to consider. Quite frequently. You've got people on the founding team, early employees. They end up in a similar situation where you know, they may not be entirely wrapped up, but they go through a mini version of this where all of a sudden they've now lost their purpose and their importance. But as it relates to the founder right? This is a huge, huge vacuum when all of a sudden you wake up in the morning and there's nobody waiting for you, right? There's nobody who's like, we need will to show up so you can tell us this or we need Ryan to show up so we can answer that and all of a sudden, all of that importance, all of that that need that existed that was based on you is just in the wind again.

Wil Schroter: Well, you know, I remember distinctly this was earlier in my career, I had gotten to know this ceo his career ceo basically. And in his last job at a public company, he had 50,000 people reporting to him. And then one thing happened after the next and he ended up getting let go and he was essentially in between jobs later on he'd go and find another job. But I remember having lunch with him and he went from this person where 50,000 people were at his beck and call into this person where no one gave a ship what he did. Now everybody's got their different sense of Ego, but can you imagine trying to fill that hole?

Ryan Rutan: It's gargantuan, right? That's like that's that's a scale that, you know, most of us will never never have to understand. And of course, like to some degree, you can you can imagine that there's a bit of a numbing to that, right? That it's like if I've got five people in front of me versus 50,000, like I can only think about that in one context and it's like half of a stadium full of people, right? Like I can't have personal context. And yet when you know those people relying on you, you being important to those people when that goes away, that's a big deal, right? Because then what do you imagine you imagine the empty stadium and man that it's brutal.

Wil Schroter: Well, so here's the other funny thing. I remember around the same time, around the same year, I was at a dinner party and it was somebody that's a little bit older than me at the time and their kids were heading off to college. It was a mom and remember her describing this feeling of feeling empty and feeling not needed. And she was a fairly young mom. And I thought to myself, man, this is exactly the same. We create this world when we wake up in the morning, other people need us. And of course there's times where that certainly becomes a liability, but I think it's really silly for us to kind of write off this idea that feeling needed isn't important. You can write that off easily by simply saying, oh that's your ego at play. I don't think that mom's ego was the issue. I think being needed and feeling important is a fundamental human feeling and I think yes, many of us get it from our jobs, especially if we're founders or Ceos what have you. But beyond that, I don't think needing human connectivity is necessarily a bad thing, but it sure goes away.

Ryan Rutan: It does, it absolutely does. And there's some interesting caveats to this, right that you can still be important in some ways that maybe aren't as fulfilling a friend of mine in the mentor from many, many years ago, still friends. He went through a similar situation where he was the ceo of a massive corporation. He was the ceo of just one of the region's, but even that was like multiple billions of, of dollars in annual business just for the region. And then he actually went to start his own thing in, in a similar space. It was like 15, direct reports doing quite well. And then at some point, you know, he, he transitioned out of that as he got closer to what he was considering like his retirement agent, we've talked about the fallacies of retirement, but he then went to doing these really like really high dollar, really interesting consulting gigs in his retirement and he was actually making as much or more money doing that and they were important things. He was solving big issues for big, big companies, right, like multinational corpse. And I remember distinctly him telling me that like it just doesn't feel the same. Like he specifically used the word need, they don't need me in the way that the staff needed me, they don't need me in the way that our teams needed me. And yet he lost his sense of importance in the entire thing despite the fact that outwardly, you know, all the other objective metrics would have pointed to this was a successful move and that he was making great money and working less and all that, but that he just didn't feel the importance and some of that would tie back to the mission and the purpose that he was no longer doing it for himself. And so I think that was a big part of it, but it was interesting to hear his take on that and how much having that, that sort of direct need being withdrawn impacted him and ultimately led him to just winding that down completely.

Wil Schroter: You know, I thought about this a lot in my last few months leading up to the acquisition of the company when we got acquired, I was basically on my way out, you know, I was kind of wrapping up my duties and I was on my way out. I distinctly remember being in a meeting and we had hired another ceo to replace me. We actually tried a few times, but that's a whole other podcast and I'm sitting there. It occurs to me at that moment, mind you, I was probably 27th time, so I'm still learning a lot in my career. It occurred to me at that moment though, that whatever I was about to say didn't matter. Whatever decisions I had whatever feelings I had didn't matter right because they weren't going to be part of the decision criteria going forward ever again. Or certainly in the meeting that I was sitting in right there and it really fucked with me because I didn't understand how I was ever going to be important. Again, I might have more cash in the bank, but I wasn't at that time thinking I wasn't going to be important. Again, my feelings weren't going to matter my decisions, my opinions, everything about me wasn't going to have the weight that it used to. And by way of that, I felt horrible. You know, it wasn't an awesome feeling that people talk about, it must have been great, you're thinking about exiting and that's all I thought was what's on the other side of it, There's cash to be had, there's freedom, there's all these things that we fantasize about, but what I was feeling wasn't any of those things

Ryan Rutan: I want to dig in on that horrible feeling and it's that feeling of never being able to return to that point, which it's very counterintuitive, right? Because you got there once. So the odds of you being able to do it again are greater than they were the first time you set out to do it, you at least have some objective evidence that says, hey, I can do this. I think because I'm going back to a similar point in time and very, very similar feelings of just like this floating free and and not knowing what to do with myself and and feeling a ton of self doubt and self loathing around the decision. And I think that a big part of that is when you enter into it the first time you're experiencing all of the struggle of actually getting there incrementally, you're not looking back at anything and saying, here's the body of work, it took me to get here, right? So, you're moving forward. You know, you and I talked about it in terms of running into the abyss, There's actually a bit of freedom in running into the abyss. You don't know what it's gonna cost you in total. And so you're willing to keep spending it in my case, in the aftermath of the sale and in the vacuum that it left me in, I started to think about, Well I could do that again, but holy sh it this time, I know exactly how much work, how much emotion, how much stress I'm going to go through to get there and I couldn't think about it incrementally. I thought about it in terms of the total balance of the debt that it would take me to get back there and I was like, damn, I don't know if I can do that again, I don't know if I want to do that again, I feel like I should and I'm not even sure what was telling me that I feel like I should do that and I certainly have gone on to do it again. But in that moment there there was this sense that like it's too much to try again. I don't know that I'm going to be capable again now that I know what all the risks pitfalls and potential challenges are. I'm not sure I want to do that again. And I think that left me feeling really bad because I'd lost my importance and I wasn't sure that I could or wanted to regain it. I desperately kind of wanted it, but I also knew what it was gonna take to get there. And I think that was a big piece of it that there was this sense that I was I was being a bit of a coward about. It was like, okay, I know what I have to go to to get this back again. I want it back, I don't know if I've got it in me to do it now that passed and I eventually got there. But the other thing that's, that is very distinct out of that same period of time. Thinking about how important this concept of importance was a full year after I had sold the company and I was traveling internationally and by all outward measures, having a good time and doing interesting stuff. And yet when people would ask me, what do you do, You know, who are you? You know the kind of when I would meet somebody new. I was always referencing back to that point in time that it ended a full year ago in which I was important and I was running my own company right? And I wasn't, I wasn't selling up the point of the sail like, oh yeah, I built this thing and I sold it. I was talking about the context of the company and what I was doing within it a full year after it was gone and I couldn't let it go because that was the last time I truly felt important.

Wil Schroter: You know, there's something brutally gutting about the title that starts with X or former right now, here's the irony. We're all essentially trying to get to that title only to realize once we have it how incredibly painful it is. So now we're talking about the externality of it. We're not talking about how it relates within the company. We're talking about outside the company. There was something amazing about being the Ceo of Blue Diesel our web agency. There was something looking terrible about being the Ex Ceo of Blue Diesel. Right? I mean externally because at the time I had a whole network of people that were in my universe that were relevant to that business, you know, think clients and partners and you know what have you and nothing says I don't matter like walking into a room as the ex important person from where you used to matter. And again, I'll go back to the example I gave of that high powered executive. That Ceo that I knew with 50,000 people being the ex Ceo of major company does have a little bit of cash because you're really talking about it being attached to a major company and it implies all that value that the company provides through you. However, it also implies that you probably don't matter there anymore. So

Ryan Rutan: Right.

Wil Schroter: Right. No one's called Calling Ex Ceo is to get into that old company. And so externally kind of that cash that you had with being the person, you know the founder the Ceo the C level executive, whatever it was that attached you to that organization. Being the ex important title is really painful. Now now again people do it all the time, they make it work. You know, it's not the end of the world, but I don't want to overlook that that title change that, that implication that comes with that change that it has no impact and it will have a lot of impact the moment you start to talk to people under this new context and you realize they don't care anymore. It's

Ryan Rutan: painful. Well and those are the people that even have some context for what that means, right? They start to care less. But then take that fully externally, right? Take that to just somebody you meet on the street, right? Somebody who doesn't know the company or doesn't know the context of that or is it a founder who doesn't understand what it took and what it actually means to have achieved that essentially you just sound unemployed to the uninitiated, right? Like at that point you're just like, oh, so you just don't do anything now. And that's absolutely not the truth. But that's the way it looks once you get outside of like that community of founders or the people who had context for the companies that you built, whether their clients or former employees or whatever. It drops off really fast. They're like, you know, Oh yeah, well I, I started this company um, and then, and then I sold it oh, a year ago. Oh right. All of a sudden the tone of voice changes like yes, sort of. I mean I beat myself up every day to the point of nausea. But uh yeah, I'm essentially a listless bum now,

Wil Schroter: you know I remember specifically in my last year when I was running blue Diesel around christmas time back when people really gifted like crazy especially in the enterprise space. My office at work looked like I just won a game show, right? I had gift baskets from freaking everywhere, right? You know all partners clients, all these different people and it was it was wonderful, right? But I would just get all this stuff. But the next year, around the same time christmas comes around I get nothing. I don't get so much as a card right? It was just such a physical reflection of the change of how being where I was at that time was so important. So these all these external forces and kind of how they showered me with gifts and how the moment I turned that off. Not a single gift. Right. No one, no one cared who I was anymore. And it wasn't that I was such a need of more gift basket, it was that it was such a physical contrast to what had changed. It wasn't an implied contrast. It wasn't like I think my friends are treating me differently either have a room full of gifts back kids alright, don't it became pretty obvious and a bit of a metaphor for how much of my life had changed, which I think you just can't overlook.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, that's really funny because I actually I have a have a similar story and it was around my birthday? Um you know, and the the year prior when I was still, you know, running the company had one of the best birthday parties ever. And it was with all of the staff. Like we just had a crazy, great fun time, relatively saying there was a bit of craziness the following year, post sale of the company, I celebrated myself and there were three other people with me who I had known for about 2.5 weeks at a Sushi River joint in Taipei Taiwan, right? So around like people that didn't even speak the same language as I get another country. The contrast of those two nights and and the distinct feeling that like, man, I wish all of my friends and I'm air quoting there because most of them were actually also friends. It was a business, we started in university and so a lot of them were just like college friends, we became friends were at an age where like my ability to separate like the people that I was working with and and my friends were, it was difficult because I only spent time with that one group of people because I was completely wound up in it, but how much I wished that they had been there and realizing that that was this unforeseen cost of having sold the company about at that point was like six months earlier. So it was very, very similar experience and like how stark it was to be sitting there on my birthday looking at these three people like, why am I here? What have I done wrong? I thought that's what I was supposed to do is supposed to sell, sell the company to travel the world and have a great time. And yet this is what it actually looks like. This is not in the

Wil Schroter: brochure. So let's take a step back from there. Even if this wasn't an issue, the importance wasn't an issue. And you're like, well, you know, I kind of hated this company anyway, or I just didn't like any of those idiots anyway, I just want to be working with them. The one thing you can't change Is you still have to fill 16 hours every day.

Ryan Rutan: There's still 24 hours in the day. Even when you don't have that company,

Wil Schroter: Here's what's a friend of mine who owned a pretty big retail business. I'll never forget this at a cocktail party maybe 15 years ago, we're having some discussion. And he said something that just always stuck to me and he said, If we didn't have our businesses, what the hell would we do with 16 hours every day? And he was being a little bit sarcastic, but not really. And so I tried to think through that and I said, okay, well that's kind of a good point. Like actually what would I do? And here's where that thinking breaks down because every time I ask somebody, they immediately say, oh, I know what I do, I do insert favorite hobby, I do insert travel, I do insert whatever. And I'm like, of course you would right? What would you do? Like it was your job and not job, like your chain to it job. Like it's something you actually give a sh it about for 16 hours every single day. Ask a retired person and they'll tell you exactly what this challenge looks like. Ask a person who tries to retire way too young. 30, 40 50, et cetera. And they'll definitely tell you about this problem. It is so hard to fill 16 hours every day. And the only people I know that think they can do it are the ones that haven't actually thought it through.

Ryan Rutan: Right. Right. It's just it's just purely theoretical for them. It's interesting because I think that were you to ask them while they're still running the company. Like what would you wake up and do tomorrow? Like if you didn't have to do this right. I guess what did you wake up thinking about this morning? Was it something other than the company? And the answer is almost always no. Unless there's some like crucial or critical family related event or something going on in the world. It's typically the company, but we take it for granted that if we take that away that whatever was in the number 2345 or six slot is suddenly going to become that thing that we do with all of our time, right? You and I have talked about this in the context of some of our other hobbies, right? Like woodworking for you, fishing, jujitsu, soccer for me to take your pick. There is absolutely no sense in my mind that if tomorrow we sold the company that I would wake up and simply go fishing all day for the foreseeable future,

Wil Schroter: well maybe you would for a week, a month, a year tops.

Ryan Rutan: How many freezers can I fit in my

Wil Schroter: garage? But I think here's the big difference, right? There's a geometric difference between here's things I enjoy doing and I would like to have more time to do and here's me having enough stuff with purpose to do Every day for the rest of my life. You know, for 16 hours and again, maybe you go and do something else afterwards. But there is a reason every single founder that's so hard working that can get to an exit one goes nearly insane afterward because they don't know what to do with their time. And number two always starts to start up again. Did you ever wonder why that was is it because they didn't make enough money? No, is because they had no hobbies. No, it's because there's no way to fill a day with any purpose. If not doing our jobs, it's damn near impossible.

Ryan Rutan: What's the confluence of those two things, right? It's the purpose and it's the importance that comes along with it, right? I might find, you know, spending time in nature communing with nature very purposeful. But am I going to be important because of that? Right? Is am I feeling any need beyond my own at that point? You know, how does that feel right as social creatures? We also need to be important to be part of somebody else's thing, right? To fill their needs, not just our own. And I think that we completely write that off when we start to think about what we would do if we just had all the time in the world. We always just think about how we would use it for ourselves. But that's not fair because I do know a lot of people who have sold companies that have gone on to do like all sorts of amazing volunteer work and It's still not 16 hours a day worth of stuff. So, and I would say that even, you know, starting some of these charity organizations or throwing themselves into that is damn near a proxy for starting another company. They're trying to find a way that ties purpose importance and will require significant effort and and probably some degree of uncertainty, right? I think we need all of those things, particularly as founders. I think that if we don't have those four components in our lives that we find ourselves adrift.

Wil Schroter: You know, one of the things, I distinctly remember early my career, a friend of mine who's in his about mid thirties at the time had sold his company for enough that he'd never have to work again. And he had a handful of Children that were kind of like almost in the early teenage years remember him specifically saying going into it, this is going to be wonderful because obviously this, the job was incredibly taxing. I lost a lot of time with them as kids. I'm gonna get to make it up now. They're a little bit older and in theory that makes sense. And so a year goes by and we get together again. And he says to me, that didn't quite work out how I thought it would. I said, what do you mean? He said, well, here's what actually happened. My kids really missed me not being there at all. There's an empty chair at dinner every night. They missed that key events. They missed that. It turned out They needed me exactly two hours more per week and no more. The moment I said, I'm available for 30, they said, go get a job right. In other words, this concept that I was missing from the family did not equate to, I need to invest 50 hours toward that solution. You needed five or whatever the number was and what we blow up every single time is we try to take the things we don't have, whether it's vacation time or time with a hobby time with family, et cetera. And we equate that to I must need every work hour that I would have otherwise used to apply towards that. You just need more of those hours. It's highly unlikely you need all of them. And when that becomes the case, you still have to fill that vacuum which, which incidentally maybe you could have been doing with the startup that you would have otherwise sold. Maybe you could just spend less hours in the startup and more time with family and there's more than one ways to get to this. It's really interesting to see how it rarely plays out that way. You know what I mean?

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, No, for sure. And I think that it comes back to this fallacy that the reason that we spend all of our time on our startup or our business is because that's where our livelihood comes from completely writing off all these other intangibles of the purpose of you know, building something that's never existed of, of putting food on the table for the people of solving real issues and real challenges for the clients that you serve. You know, I think we think, well I spent most of my time here because I have to because it's what puts food on my table to it's what's going to provide for my family for me for my community, the reality is, Yeah, that's that's true, but that's not the only reason, right? It's all those other intangibles that keep you locked into that in a good way, by being able to live out that purpose, being able to be important and to fill needs for, for other people, we write that off almost completely. And I think that's where it's really easy to miss that, right? It almost basically like an accounting area, like, yeah, you don't actually need that much time to do all these other things and we somehow fool ourselves into thinking if livelihood has now taken off the table, all of these other things will now sweep in and fill up all that time that I was spending before just to keep the lights on and keep food on the table. That's not why we were doing this, because let's be honest, there are a hell of, a lot easier ways to do that than being a founder, right? If all you wanted was money and a roof over your heads. There are far easier ways to achieve that. Well, before we put a bow on this thing, I want to pose a hypothetical here. And we touched on a little, I touched on a little saying that, you know, if suddenly tomorrow startups dot com was sold, that you wouldn't just see me floating around in a kayak hauling trout after trout, but I don't want to just ask the question, like, you know, what would you do? I have a more specific question, I want to know, how do you feel like it would be different at this point, knowing what we know having been through this, would you prepare differently? Do you think you would face the same challenges or would you essentially be better at being and exited founder this time around? You still think you face that big void? The self doubt, the lack of importance, or would you be able to better manage that this time?

Wil Schroter: The way I look at it is now that I know what's on the other side of the curtain, that curtain holds no more magic to me anymore. So in other words, when I think about selling startups, I don't fantasize about how my life would somehow be better. If anything, I fear how it would actually get a bit worse now, that doesn't mean we wouldn't sell it, we don't hate money, but that's not exactly the point here, when I look at my own path, I see a lot of downside. I don't have something in this world more important from a career or job standpoint, then helping millions of founders launch this is what I was born to do. And so it's not like I couldn't do anything else to solve that mission, I could absolutely, I'm sure I'd find out what that is, but I don't pretend that what we have here, the platform, we have to help people and kind of, the extent that we can help people is easily replicated or by any means insignificant to me personally. So I look at it and I say man if we sold this thing tomorrow, I wouldn't be able to work with the people that I get to work with. And the thing is I guess what I actually really like the people I get to work with, so that so that would be a real problem for me. If we sold this thing, I wouldn't necessarily get the same kind of access I due to a million plus founders that I have now, that would be a real problem for me. And so I actually look at selling this as creating a massive hole in my life, but guess what? That's also why I appreciate it and I think I want to touch on this for just a second. If you look at everything we're saying, we're not just saying, oh if you sell here are all the bad things that are gonna happen to you, it's not saying it's actually saying with what you have with what are startups provide to us, they provide some wonderful, wonderful benefits that in many cases we can't replicate with a sale or said differently, I woke up today thinking about how much value and how much contribution this company makes to me personally versus thinking about how much better my life would be if I didn't have it and I think at its core, that's where the focus should be. That's

Ryan Rutan: a wrap for this episode of the startup therapy podcast. This is Ryan Rutan on behalf of my partner Wil Schroder and all the startups dot com family thanking you for joining us and we hope you'll continue to join us. Be sure to subscribe, rate and comment on itunes or wherever you love to listen to startup therapy. You can find all of our episodes at startups dot com slash podcast. If you're looking for more amazing resources to launch or grow your startup, be sure to head to startups dot com and check out startups unlimited. It's everything we have to offer from our online university to our amazing community of experts and founders and even all the tools we've built like biz plan, fungible and launch rock. It's everything a founder needs visit startups dot com slash begin that startups dot com slash b E G I N. You'll thank me later.

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