Great discussion on whether or not it is necessary to have a cofounder over on Hacker News today. It inspired me to share my story of why I think having a founder would have sunk my business long ago.
I have self financed and built my business, CoalitionTechnologies.com, to a team of 52 full time employees over the last six years. The business has been profitable every month since it was founded.
Wouldn’t a cofounder have helped me when my motivation waned? Could I be even further with someone else’s insights?
My personality is such that if I am working on something with someone else, and they aren’t putting as much effort in as me, I scale back my effort to match theirs. Generally, that wasnt too inspirational to them and they would slack even more. I have started a few failed businesses with cofounder and they all suffered from this effect.
Each entrepreneur needs to go through his own hard knocks to really learn the important t lessons of a business. It’s one thing to say contracts are important, and quite another to lose thousands of dollars because you didn’t properly protect yourself.
Most importantly, an entrepreneur needs a vision that they can ferociously believe in. If your vision is half yours, half someone else’s it is pretty tough to put in 12 hours a day for years on end.
I realized early on that whether my business thrived or even survived was entirely up to me and the persistence I could put in. The businesses with cofounders I have had all failed because I secretly hoped the other guy would do the hard work. Unfortunately for our business, why would he? Further, neither of us were as excited about the vision because it wasn’t fully our own.
I know some very successful businesses have had cofounders and it must work for other people. For me, I’d rather retain full control of my vision.