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 with “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.