How Do I Get People to Take Me Seriously?

"I feel as though every time I walk into a room people are judging me before a single word even comes out of my mouth. What can I do to get people to take me more seriously as a Founder?"

November 11th, 2019   |    By: Wil Schroter

Getting taken seriously as a Founder is real work.

It's not some entitlement that's handed to us when we've achieved some career milestone. No matter who we are, we all have to fight for our ability to get taken seriously.

Why do I need to work so hard, shouldn't people reserve judgment?

That would be fantastic, but the world just doesn't work that way. Especially among Founders whose credibility is tested on so many fronts — from acquiring customers, to pitching investors to hiring staff.

Our ability to establish our credibility early and often is critical to our success from the moment we found the company.

How can I change the way I present myself in a room?

Believe it or not, body language sends huge signals.

A well-presented Founder will talk more slowly and deliberately, hold eye contact with everyone in the room, even square up their body with whom they are speaking.

Conversely, a very junior or anxious Founder will talk faster, often look down at the floor or away, and have more of a crumpled posture or folded arms.

Individually, you wouldn't think the signals matter — but collectively they are two completely different people presenting.

What should I say to show I know what I'm talking about?

As Founders, we often have a single area of expertise that leads us to become a Founder in the first place.

If we're a chef and we're developing an app for in-home food prep, we should lean heavily on how much we know about food prep, even if we don't know a lot about app development or fundraising.

We often "forget" to establish our credibility by leaving a lot of our credibility left unsaid.

We're better off saying "I've been preparing meals for 9 years, in that time I've plated over 2,500 meals for thousands of customers including these major corporate clients (rattle off names!)."

In Case You Missed It

How Do I Get People to Take me Seriously? (podcast). Join Wil and Ryan as they take a deep dive into why it takes so much work to be taken seriously as a new Founder and what we can do to thumb the scales in our favor.

What Are the Most Important Skills a New Founder Needs? Most Founders have a "certain set of skills" that apply to one aspect of their startup. Unfortunately, we sorta need to be a jack of all trades because we're often the only person doing all the work! But what are the most important?

Forming New Habits and Learning New Skills. Entrepreneur and Marketing Jedi Sujan Patel discusses how to adapt, learn new habits, and teach yourself things you never thought you would spend time learning – let alone trying to master — as you’re building your startup.

About the Author

Wil Schroter

Wil Schroter is the Founder + CEO @ Startups.com, a startup platform that includes BizplanClarity, Fundable, Launchrock, and Zirtual.  He started his first company at age 19 which grew to over $700 million in billings within 5 years (despite his involvement).  After that he launched 8 more companies, the last 3 venture backed, to refine his learning of what not to do.  He's a seasoned expert at starting companies and a total amateur at everything else.

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