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  • alectcoughlin

#34: 9 Things I Learned as a Founder

Updated: Aug 17, 2021

Just over a year ago, I started Ludlow. I thought I had a handle on what it was going to be like to start my own company from scratch but I was wrong.

12 or so months in, here's what I've learned.

  1. The Kill Zone

    1. The first 12 months of a bootstrapped business is about getting to the other side.

    2. Can you find clients + create value for them while simultaneously acquiring additional clients + delivering for all of them?

  2. Play Defense + Offense All The Time

    1. Risk mitigation takes on a whole different level of priority.

    2. Can you assess + mitigate risk while simultaneously, can you move past it + go on offense by taking calculated risks?

    3. Eyes wide open.

  3. Business Is Business Unless It's Your Business

    1. There will be many highs + many lows but you need to flatten that stuff out as quickly as possible.

    2. Never forget your "why" for starting the business in the first place.

    3. Be grateful for your wins, take your losses but limit that stuff to 24 hours max + then get back after it.

  4. Create Your Own Luck

    1. As my man Jocko Willink says, "You think things are just going to happen for you? You gotta make them happen for you!!! Go make them happen!"

    2. Persistence, persistence, persistence.

  5. Inch Wide, Mile Deep > Mile Wide, Inch Deep

    1. The deeper + more nuanced your understanding of the critical problems your clients are trying to solve, the more you can help them see around corners.

    2. Circle of competence type stuff.

  6. The "Say No Unless It's A Hell Yes" Rule

    1. Saying "yes" to one thing is saying "no" to everything else.

    2. No meetings about meetings. Ever.

  7. Trust But Verify

    1. Until you get into the weeds and execute with someone, do you really know how they're going to handle the "Mike Tyson Rule" aka "everyone has a plan until they step in the ring + get punched in the face"?

    2. Get to execution + see what kind of results you all can generate.

  8. Journal So You Can Flip The Switch

    1. Daily without too much fidelity, document what you knew, what you did, why you did it and the outcome.

    2. This will enable you to stay focused on execution but also accelerate your meta learning when you step back and look at your business periodically.

    3. Learn how you learn so you can get better.

  9. Fall In Love With The Process

    1. Be grateful for the opportunity to build your business by falling in love with the process, not the outcomes.

    2. Work like an artist, following their inspiration + relentless pursuit of creating.

January 27, 2021 (Tweet Link)

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