Having a StartUp Co-Founder is Hard

Starting a startup is hard, but having a co-founder can be even harder. Here's why, and how you both can navigate it.

Starting a startup is hard, but having a co-founder can be even harder. That is why there are some critical considerations that you need to make early on.

First and foremost, make sure that your co-founder’s interests and expertise align with yours, but also ensure that there are areas where they can take the lead, while you focus on others. You should also determine who will be the CEO, who will be quoted in the press release, on the podcasts, etc. These roles should be clear to avoid confusion and disputes later on.

Disagreements and arguments are a natural part of any relationship, but as co-founders, it is crucial to resolve conflicts and come to an agreement quickly. I suggest creating a plan for how you will resolve disagreements, so there are no misunderstandings or hard feelings when disagreements arise.

An essential topic that many startup co-founders overlook is the exit plan. It’s crucial to have an exit plan in place in case one of the co-founders decides to leave the company. This will ensure that the remaining co-founder is not left with all the equity and work.

Other topics to discuss include the vesting period for each co-founder, who will handle which responsibilities, and how you will divide profits. These conversations are hard, but they are necessary to ensure that you and your co-founder are on the same page.

One great example of a co-founder relationship that has stood the test of time is that of Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the co-founders of Google. They shared a common vision for the company and were able to navigate the challenges that came their way. As Larry Page once said, “We have a very open relationship, a very honest relationship, and I think that’s what makes it work.”

Starting a company is challenging, and having a co-founder can make it even more so. However, by having these hard conversations early on and setting clear expectations, you can create a solid foundation for a successful partnership.

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