Business Insights From the Founder of Lumanu
What is your #1 piece of advice for startup founders?
“Spend even more time hiring. Hiring was so hard that I did things that were easier first, like focusing on the product. Kicking the can down the road made hiring even harder. Everyone’s life would have been easier if I had focused on hiring earlier, regardless of budget or resource constraints! In any given week, I believe that at least 50% of a founder’s time should be dedicated to hiring activities: improving your employer branding, networking with prospective hires, or interviewing folks. Today’s job market is more competitive than ever, making it critical to proactively get in front of talent.”
What is the best method you've found to avoid burnout as an entrepreneur?
“For me, it’s building a routine right into my calendar that encompasses my personal life commitments. As an entrepreneur, the line between ‘work’ and ‘life’ is blurred – and for me, trying to fight that ends up just causing more stress and guilt. Instead, I’ve learned to roll with the punches. I schedule time with family and friends, workouts, grocery shopping, meals, etc., just like I would with client or investor meetings. When I started treating lunch and the gym as ‘meetings,’ I stopped skipping them in favor of work. Taking care of my mental and physical health has just as much impact on my productivity and Lumanu’s growth as any work or client meeting.”
What is your advice for coming up with a unique startup idea?
“Unpopular opinion: if you find yourself asking this question as a founder, you’re most likely going to fail. The world is filled with ‘unique startup ideas’ that flop – often these are companies with solutions in search of problems. Likewise, “non-unique” startup ideas executed well end up as unicorns. My advice: ask yourself what users do you want to make life better for? What problems do they have today, and what problems do you want to focus on? And then ask yourself why YOU are uniquely positioned to solve this problem? It’s perfectly fine if your startup eventually ends up serving a completely different user segment or solving a different problem – but forcing yourself to ask this question will set you up for more deliberate execution that will either lead you to double down on your initial idea or pivot to a better idea.”