The Solopreneur Dilemma: Why you need a Co-Founder

It’s better to own 50% of a million dollar company than 100% of a zero dollar company.

Surely you’ve heard something along these lines. Yet still, this is something that continues to haunt founders who have a hard time reconciling why they need a “co-conspirator”, as Peter Thiel would say.

Accountability Partner

You need a co-founder because your work ethic is only as strong as your perception of such, which inevitably changes over time. How much can you truly hold yourself accountable during the lifeline of the Startup?

It’s easy to cut yourself slack when things get hard, a co-founder will keep you in check. She will be that person who asks you why X deliverable was not uploaded the day you had committed, and even though you might have a perfectly rationalized excuse, you’re still accountable to her.

She will be the one who pushes you to be a better version of yourself and holding you up to your own potential. Having an extra layer of accountability along can be the determining factor in your Startup’s success in the early days.

Squaring Output / Task Distribution

You are not perfect. I am not perfect. I do, however, have very acute strengths in some areas and I need to hone in on them without sacrificing the overall responsibilities of the startup. I need to deep-dive into the areas I’m passionate about and know that the world will not burn in my absence.

You need a co-founder because although you think you’re invincible, you’re not. Especially in your early days, an extra set of everything will effectively square your output. Not double, square.

You see, in startups, everything you do has a compounding effect, your contribution stacks on top of your co-founder’s and multiples. That particular task which you dread, she can accomplish in a fraction of the time, which in turn allows you to move faster than you ever could alone.

It doesn’t stop there, think about the importance of beating your competitors to market. Is satisfying your ego more important than building a successful product?

Friend Who Relates

You need a co-founder because startups are hard, life is hard, and it will only get harder. (PS. If this line demoralized you, you might be better off not starting a startup). However, if you’re one of the courageous few who enjoys staring at the challenge head-on, having a co-founder will become your lifeline.

It’s especially hard when you attempt to explain things to friends who simply can’t relate, they try to be helpful, but ultimately they are outsiders and don’t really understand your challenges.

When you get turned down 62 times by investors and the whole world thinks you’re mentally unstable and irrationally pursuing an idea, your co-founder will be there with you.

Thus, does starting a company as a Solopreneur really make sense? Perhaps in some cases, however, I argue that the vast majority of us can infinitely benefit from having a co-founder. I argue that in most of these cases not having a co-founder can set you up for failure from day 1.

Just look at the data, how many of Y Combinator’s funded companies are founded by Solopreneurs?

When the odds are already stacked against you, maximizing your chances of success is critical. In other words, you need a co-founder.