Why are Founders often so lonely? It's a combination of things.
First, unlike most other jobs, Founders often don't have a lot of relatable peers in their close-knit group. Most people can sit at lunch and complain about their jobs and get a bunch of nods.
Us Founders often explain what we're going through and get the "thousand-yard stare" from someone wondering how to get out of the conversation.
The first thing they do is to find other Founders to meet up with.
The one amazing thing about Founders, by the way, is that they immediately tend to connect with and appreciate other Founders.
Every Founder understands what it means to be staring into the abyss daily, and how those feelings are so hard to wrestle with. Just sitting across from a single Founder over dinner and laying everything out on the table can be incredibly satisfying.
Have you ever heard the phrase "it's lonely at the top"?
The basis for that is that as you and your position progress, you actually wind up with fewer and fewer direct peers, which creates this feeling of loneliness or in some ways, just disconnection from folks who aren't naturally doing what you're doing.
The best way to work against this is to develop relationships — particularly within your company — that have nothing to do with work. It's a bit challenging because at the end of the day you're still writing people's paychecks.
But in order to have a peer relationship, you have to be a peer at something that's not work.
Why Am I So Lonely? (podcast). You got the TL;DR, now check out our podcastified take on the topic of Founder loneliness and join Wil and Ryan as they discuss what we can do to minimize the negative impacts it has on our lives, families, and startups.
How I Harness My Insane Startup Anxiety. A startup is a torrent of anxiety. We’re likely doing things we’ve never done before with products that have never existed before. So let’s just start off by admitting we’re all freaked out and we all need to figure this shit out.
I’m Burnt Out. What Do I Do? When we hit a point of burnout and ignore it, the problem only gets much worse. So let's take a look at what Founders do to deal with burnout head on.
Wil Schroter is the Founder + CEO @ Startups.com, a startup platform that includes Bizplan, Clarity, 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.