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Founders Diary: At First and Second Anniversary Milemarker

People who started failed a lot - but they never come back to tell their story. (It is like dead people never coming back to tell the living what the afterworld is like :-) There are a lot of encouragement and happiness for the solopreneurs, a lot of wondering and curiosity for the wannapreneurs. But real entrepreneurs take a product and try to sell in a real world ... this is what their dairy note looks like on the First and Second anniversary of their start.

First year mile marker diary

Dear Dairy,

We finally navigated all the road blocks and now we have a factory built product! No one has mentioned they want to buy it yet and I still don't know the face of my real customer. The guessing game is still on, but I am happy!

Second year mile market diary

After running for two years, I wished they had told me the following:

  1. If you have one product and makes money for your living, you can never have enough to break into a second product.

  2. The competitor for the first product is already eating your market share now.

  3. VCs don't need me to succeed, I need them to succeed. But they are not eager to help, no matter how good my cause is. VCs and angles want me to "already make money" before they give money.

  4. Making a profit is hardest thing. Making a quality thing takes nothing but money. The profit depend on price and price depending on YOUR COMPETITORs' price.

  5. Give people what I think they ABSOLUTELY NEED is easy, but they only seem to WANT what they WANT - which is the dirt cheap knockoff off me!

It seems my partner is not so good. But I will find it out next year.

For your profit making scheme, I have at least FOUR enemies:

  1. There are people willing to lose money for ten years just to make my life miserable;

  2. There are people making fake products and hide their trails so well customers keep going for them!

  3. My suppliers keep raising price and anything that looks any good will break the bank. If you ordered 1000 units and cost you a fortune, the supplier is not happy because it is only 10 minutes of mass production machine time he can charge.

  4. My customers are actually my enemy - they don't thank me for what I did for them (they already thanked with their purchase, I guess) and they keep asking for the impossible.

  5. There are already people (younger version of myself two years ago) making BETTER VERSIONS of what I am making. I am getting OUT INNOVATED.

Everyone who tells that startup is hard becomes rather unpopular. Hence very few people tell. To avoid a wrong startup, you must fail once.

A disclaimer: This is based on first person true account. Some people may experience startup euphoria faster or earlier, but I am sure my experience is typical. It discusses what the "real world" is like when a "good idea" and "good offer" hit the road and trying to gain traction. Thank you for subscribing. Visit or for my consulting business.

Writer biography: see link of Chang Liu

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