According to Max, these are the skills you should sharpen as a new founder/entrepreneur:
- Hone your public speaking skills and learn to explain complex topics
- Have a strong command of your company’s financial data and information
“For every founder who took out a second mortgage or went without a salary for two years on their way to becoming a huge success, there are 100 founders who did the same thing and their business failed.” Max knows firsthand the sacrifices that come with starting your own business; the grueling process of fundraising, living without a salary, finding your first customer. And not everyone is as lucky as Max. As he puts it, “the reason most people don’t start companies is because it’s really, really hard.” There is no such thing as “wanting to be an entrepreneur,” either you’re doing it, or you’re not. That’s what sets founders apart from everyone else.
Establish the easy stuff first. Who are you banking with? Where is the office? How are you tracking your expenses? Max recommends making the small decisions as easy as possible because the problems only get harder as you scale.
Fear is motivating and having doubts is normal. If you aren’t constantly examining your decisions as a CEO, you’re crazy. Even as a (now) public-company CEO, Max questions certain moves. However, he has never once thought about quitting. In his opinion, you have an ethical and fiduciary responsibility to your investors to step down if you are toying with the idea of quitting.
“The best CEOs are not great at any one specific thing.” As a founder/CEO, you feel a lot of pressure to know all the answers. But, according to Max, you don’t have to. You just have to know when it’s time to hire great people who can help you fill those gaps.
The definition of an entrepreneur. According to Max, being a founder is in your DNA. Or, as he puts it, there’s something wrong with your DNA. This person has grit and an extreme aversion to risk. So when they have an idea, they can’t not do it.