Mastering the Startup Mindset: The Unseen Challenges of Being a Founder

10 Minute Read


Starting a new business is not just an act, but a mindset. It’s a journey filled with adrenaline-charged highs, along with deep, introspective periods where you question if you’re on the right path. Life as a startup founder can be exciting and inspiring, but assumptions may lead you to overlook the reality and challenges that come with this role.

The Starry-Eyed Vision vs Reality

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, about 582 million people globally are trying to kick-start their ventures, making up nearly 20% of the working-age population. Yet, reality bites. The very characteristics that push individuals towards entrepreneurship – enthusiasm, ambition, confidence – can become roadblocks in the face of hard truths. Startup Genome reports 11 percent of startups fail because they lose focus, while 13 percent fail due to disharmony among team members and investors.

As 'Peter Drucker', once said, 'The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.' This belief can push founders so passionately that they may accidentally overlook integral components for success, resulting in unexpected hurdles and setbacks.

Facing the Financial Hurdles

Not surprisingly, securing finances and managing funds efficiently are among the biggest hurdles for startups. The Startup Outlook Report 2020 found that 43% of startups felt their biggest challenge was a lack of capital, while stats by Statista claim that 29 percent of startups exhaust their funds and cease to operate. However, grit and perseverance guide entrepreneurs to work against the odds and find creative ways to systemize their money management skills.

'You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.', these words from 'Richard Branson', stumble upon the harsh truth, that missteps are inevitable, especially when dealing with finances. It is more about how you learn from these blunders that will set the stage for success or failure.

Understanding the Market

Alongside financial management, another commonly misunderstood component is understanding market demand. A staggering 42 percent of startups fail because of a misalignment between the products/services they offer and what the market wants. In an era where customer preferences change faster than a chameleon changes its colors, keeping up with market trends to provide the right solutions becomes crucial for survival.

Great entrepreneurs like 'Jeff Bezos', have boldly embraced this uncertainty and attributed their success largely because of it. Bezos once said, 'I knew that if I failed I wouldn't regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.' It suggests that the ability to iterate, adapt, and reinvent is an essential part of an entrepreneur’s toolkit in comprehending market demand and driving innovation.

'Entrepreneurship is neither a science nor an art. It is a practice.' - Peter Drucker


Whether you're just at the ideation stage or on the road expanding your startup, the entrepreneurial journey will inevitably come with a lot of unforeseen challenges. Prepare yourself not only to navigate around these circumstances but realise that these impediments are excellent teachings for business growth and personal development. Always remember, entrepreneurship isn’t just about dreaming; it's about doing, repeating, learning, and growing. It isn't easy, but as stated by Paul Graham, co-founder of Y Combinator, 'It's hard to do a really good job on anything you don't think about in the shower.'

Adam Arbolino
Adam Arbolino

Mixo Co-founder

AI aficionado, growth hacking hotshot, and startup savant turning 'aha' moments in the bath into growth ideas for startups.

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