Let's All Work On The Last Startup We'll Ever Do

“How would we think about our startups if we knew this was the last startup we would ever do? Would we be so rushed? Would we still think killing ourselves to "get to an end game" was justified? What if this was the end game? How much stress would that alleviate?"

March 9th, 2020   |    By: Wil Schroter    |    Tags: Strategy

8 years ago I decided that whatever startup I was going to launch would be the last startup I ever did.

I made this decision after launching 8 startups and realizing that creating a company as a "means to an end" was a shitty way for me to live.

I found myself in this constant cycle of being wildly preoccupied by "the next thing." Raising money for my startup was a means to a quicker exit. Killing myself meant I could finish this chapter faster, more successfully.

I had endless justifications for compromising my life because I could always "make it up later."

But what if there was no "later"?

This time around I decided to change it up.

I asked myself, "What if I picked what I wanted to do for the rest of my life NOW?" So instead of making my startup some means to a great next goal, just do the stuff that I want to do forever, now.

For me, that was helping Founders.

I honestly didn't know what that would mean as far as a business, and Startups.com is the result of that exploration. The reason I got here is because I just picked what I wanted to do for the rest of my life (as if I were retired) and pursued that.

When you take "what's next" off the table, the stress goes with it

The moment I knew that this was all I was going to do for the rest of my life, my stress level plummeted.

I knew that whatever we had to accomplish (like helping teach the world to become Founders) we'd have decades to figure it out. That's not the same as taking decades to get stuff done. If you know that you're going to be doing something forever, you put a hell of a lot more thought and attention into how you do it.

Incidentally, my motivation has actually gone up. Because now I know what I'm working on is my final body of work. If I don't do my best work right now there's no chance to make it up later. So my motivation to do my best work has hit its peak.

And it's incredible.

Let's brag about our last startup

There's something powerful about focusing on longevity versus just growth.

Think about it — do you want to buy products from companies that are putting all of their focus into this product for the rest of their lives or ones that are trying to hit their customer acquisition costs by any means necessary?

I think a long term "final" focus not only builds better companies and products — it builds better Founders.

In Case You Missed It

Focus On What You Don’t Want To Do. What happens when instead of worrying about the things we want to do, we focus on the things we never, ever want to do again? How can that start to take huge steps in reducing our overall stress?

Build Your Startup Around Your Passion. Not every passion pays well. However, instead of starting with, "what will make the most money?" and hoping we like it, let’s start with what we’re most passionate about and figure out how to do that profitably.

Is Doing Non-Startup Stuff Good For My Startup? (podcast). What if we knew that time away from our startup was the key to actually making it grow faster?

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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