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22 founders share one thing to know before starting a business


  • Starting a company comes with all sorts of struggles. You have to find that perfect idea, get funding, and hit the ground running.
  • But beyond those known challenges, there can be surprises along the way. Here, 22 founders share their unexpected experiences — and what they wish they had known.
  • Many stressed the loneliness of being an entrepreneur — something that they didn’t expect — and how it can feel constantly uncomfortable to not know what’s coming next.
  • “Your first clients will lay the foundation of your business, message, and portfolio, so it’s worth passing up less-than-ideal opportunities to wait for the ones that match your target,” said Catalyst founder Sara Dahan.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

It’s no secret that starting a company is hard work: finding the one idea that inspires you enough to work on it full time, securing the funds you need to get started (or bootstrapping your way to profit), and signing your first clients or partners. 

But most people who’ve ever even thought about entrepreneurship know about those hurdles. 

It’s the unexpected hardships that tend to affect founders the most. After all, most people don’t tend to talk about things like the loneliness, the tough decisions, and the constant fear of the unknown that come with running your own shop — which makes it even tougher when you do experience them.

These seasoned founders are ready to share the surprising side effects that have accompanied their entrepreneur journeys. Here are their stories: the unforeseen lessons they learned, the advice they want you to know, and the inspiration that, although tough, starting a business can ultimately be the best decision you make.


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