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Entrepreneur Office Hours - Issue #163
Scammers are entrepreneurs, too
I love scammers. Or rather, I appreciate their skillset because being a successful scammer requires a very sophisticated understanding of consumer psychology and the customer buying process.
For example, the classic “Nigerian Prince” email scam everyone loves to joke about. “Who falls for that???” I often hear people asking.
“The right people,” I always explain. “The worst thing that can happen to someone trying to pull a scam is that they waste lots of time only to have the scam fall apart at the last minute. Because of that, they intentionally only want to target people who are most susceptible to the scam… i.e. people who would ‘fall for that’ original email.”
I bring this up because not all scams are as obvious as the Nigerian Prince scam, and we all get caught in the net of a scammer from time to time. It even happened to me recently, and, aside from being out a few bucks, I also learned a valuable lesson about entrepreneurship and customer acquisition. Naturally, I had to share it with all of you, which is what you’ll find in the articles below.
Every entrepreneur should understand the consumer purchasing process as well as scammers.
One of the biggest threats to your startup isn’t unique to entrepreneurship. It’s so common, in fact, that Shakespeare told us about it hundreds of years ago.
Office Hours Q&A
I have one question that I have not seen ANYWHERE - how does a bootstrap hold a dev team together when each guy has overhead (kids, mortgages, student loans, 40+ hour jobs, etc) that absolutely will not let them concentrate w/out a paycheck. The passion project falls apart under the stress & it really sucks.
THX & Happy Holidays,
As you can tell, Anthony sent me this question a while ago, and I’ve been slow to answer because it’s a difficult problem and I wanted to see if I could come up with a viable solution. However, I eventually realized I was struggling with the question because I was being influenced by the way the question was asked. Specifically, the question implies struggling to keep a team together without being able to pay them is a problem. I’d argue not being able to pay the early team is a critical filter for identifying good co-founders and partners.
To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with having overhead. I’ve got plenty. And, as a functional, rational adult, I know I can get a job that pays me the money I need to cover my overhead in exchange for my services. That’s why people have jobs.
In other words, not everyone can commit the kind of time and resources necessary for executing a startup, and this lack of resources is one of the most important filters for identifying great startup co-founders. Simply put, great startup founders always find a way to navigate difficult challenges. If the people you’re trying to launch a company with can’t figure out how to cover their overhead while working without a salary alongside you, how are they going to be able to navigate any of the hundreds of other really difficult situations you all are going to encounter on your startup journey?
It sounds like the people you’re trying to partner with aren’t co-founder material. Maybe they’re talent you hire later, when you can afford to pay them a salary, but they’re not your co-founders.
Remind yourself that right now,, when you’re in the early stages of bootstrapping, you don’t need to hire talent. You need to find co-founders. If you’ve found co-founders worth working with, they’ll find a way to work without getting paid by the startup for as long as it takes.
Got startup questions of your own? Reply to this email with whatever you want to know, and I’ll do my best to answer!