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Adii Pienaar

Now working on Receiptful. Co-Founder & ex-CEO of WooThemes. Author of Brandiing. New Dad. Ex-Rockstar.

I Don't Know

Building a business is a journey of learning.<...>

Today I'm more convinced of this than ever before.

I sometimes find myself almost hiding behind the bravado of making new mistakes, when in actual fact, I'd like to think that my experience as an entrepreneur that has built a successful business before, has equipped me to make fewer mistakes. Sometimes I even find myself thinking "I know this stuff!".

This is obviously perpuated and confirmed whenever someone (willingly) asks me for advice. They wouldn't be asking me if I didn't know my shit, right?

Wrong.

The last couple of months I've been working on Receiptful and I've faced so many questions to which I just didn't have any answers:

  • How much of my own money should I invest in this? Should I bootstrap / self-fund or should I try my hand at fundraising?
  • When should I hire my own team? Should I continue outsourcing the development of the product?
  • What should our revenue model be? Freemium SaaS or SaaS with a free trial? How does that relate to the various pricing tiers? Should we require credit card details on signup?

And that list goes on & on into a never-ending spiral of uncertainty and unknowns.

I'm a proud problem-solver though and I'd like to believe that I can figure things out. What this generally means is that I can find quality (written) resources with data and experiences that relates to the question I'm trying to solve. Or I can jump onto Clarity and get expert help. Both of these are complimented by a rigourous, internal discuss with my team.

The challenge is however that neither of those are much more than a firm prompt in a specific direction. Ultimately no one's advice or experience will ever be 100% tailored to my situation, which means that ultimate responsibility (to make a decision) is firmly my own.

And therein lies a challenge in its own right; not even on my most self-confident or arrogant days could I ever pretend to know the best answer.

I do however know an answer and I do ultimately make a decision in whatever direction. I do so knowing that it might not be a perfect or the best decision, but it's a decision nonetheless.

And that's exactly why building a business is a journey of learning; it's okay to make any decision that can is only moderately good (heck - most decisions early on in a business' life isn't fatal). From there, it's all about learning and improving as go; the initial decision(s) is only a starting point.

Being an entrepreneur isn't about knowing things, but learning them by actually doing things.

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