99% Of Startup Founders Fall Victim To This Mistake

Vasil Nedelchev
2 min readOct 29, 2023

Growling!
Pencils are flying!
Sheets of paper crumpling!

This is when my daughter can’t draw something on the first try.

She could not fathom how the people on YouTube do it, and when she tried it, it didn’t work.

I always tell her my art school story with the 100 sketches.

Before you start working on the big canvas you use sketches to explore all the possibilities. After that pick your best shots and use them for your masterpiece.

But as a tech founder, how do you explore all the possibilities?

You can’t do 100 MVPs.

And even if you can’t this will take years.

Okay, there are other validation methods like doing interviews, prototypes, and pre-sales. But they still take time, resources and other people.

It seems like there is no simple and quick way to explore all the possibilities when you are building a startup.

You have to simply suck it up and take a risk.

This results in 90% of startups failing within their first five years.
Founder with wrecked personal lives and burnout.
Investors with vaporised bank accounts.
Talented employees without jobs.
Yet there is a solution to this.

Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs and founders see it as “not my thing”. Or something they hire for.

That thing is writing articles online.

Don’t scroll away, yet.
Hear me out.

I’m not saying you have to become an influencer or something.
Instead, look at it in this way.

Every article you publish is a “startup sketch”.
You can do 100 of does and do as many as you want a day.
It’s a product you can ship as fast as one hour or less.

Because what’s a product after all?
It’s a packaged piece of value that solves a problem for someone.
And you don’t need to package it in tech to be valuable.
Just make sure it solves a problem.

Instead of hiring developers and a designer to build an MVP for a sales automation app for 6 months.
Instead, write an article about how you’ve automated the sales process of your friend’s agency.
Post it on LinkedIn to see if anyone cares first.
Do they ask questions?
Do they even read it?

How do you sell a product if people are not even interested in the topic?

Try different framings talking about the same problem.
Try addressing different types of customers.
Try using a different language.

Imagine you can validate all your startup ideas.
Test different feature sets.

Without developers, designers and investors.
Just start writing online about your ideas.
You will do better than 99% of entrepreneurs.

#founders #entrepreneurship #startup #venture #innovation

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Vasil Nedelchev

Product Designer. Writing about design beyond your day job. Get all my writing at designsolo.co