Founder's Depression, The Cost of Being an Entrepreneur

Founder’s Depression, The Cost of Being an Entrepreneur

Matt Watson and Matt DeCoursey started the Startup Hustle podcast with a mission, to be honest, open and transparent about the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur.

In Episode 74, the Matts discussed the true cost of being an entrepreneur. They dived in on the not-so-glamorous side of entrepreneurship — the anxiety and depression that come along in building your own business.

This topic stemmed from a 2010 survey done on 242 entrepreneurs which revealed that a whopping 49% of them experienced some mental health condition, with 30% of those surveyed said they felt depressed. They shared their thoughts on this podcast as a public service announcement to prepare their listeners about the good and bad sides of being an entrepreneur before they bite the bullet and work on their dream business.

Factors that Cause Startup Founders to Feel Depressed

The Matts discussed some factors that could trigger entrepreneurs to feel depressed at some point in the startup phase. Here are some of them:

  • Financial Aspects
    • The feeling of going broke
    • Burning money on your business
    • Realizing that your idea wasn’t great as you thought
  • Mental Aspects
    • Being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Entrepreneurial Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
    • Having anxiety
  • Social and Legislative Aspects
    • Disagreements with your business partners
    • Ending up with a lawsuit and wasting precious time waiting for the court’s decision
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Tips on How to Overcome the Down Moments as a Startup Entrepreneur

The podcast hosts shared their tips and tricks on snapping out of the “down” moments.

  • Matt Watson suggested for entrepreneurs to “keep plugging away”, to keep going, no matter what happens next.
  • Matt DeCoursey also shared a quote from Dave McKowski that says, “Activity breeds sales.” This means that you need to get up and “just do something.”
  • One of the ways you can lessen your anxiety or depression is to find and work with the right people around you. Hire the best people that can do the things that you’re not good at, or don’t want to do.

The Harsh Realities of Building a Startup

The dynamic duo gave their insights into the stark realities and other business challenges involved with building a startup.

  • Most startups are going to fail. This is one of the biggest reasons why many entrepreneurs are depressed.
  • Matt DeCoursey speculated that after two years in business, the risk of failure is at 80-90%. For franchises, the rate of failure could be a single digit number since franchises already have a proven business model and come with an owner’s manual.
  • Reaching the 5-year mark can be extremely difficult.
  • If you’re getting ready to start a business, prepare for some sleepless nights.
  • You will feel an instant regret after walking away from a business deal that could have allowed you more income and an upgrade in lifestyle
  • Change is hard. Sometimes, you have to admit that you’re the problem.
  • For entrepreneurs with some ideas for a software business, understand that there’s so much to learn and discover about the complexity, timing, and everything involved in building a software product.

Other Notes:

  • If you need help in accelerating your startup for maximum growth and profitability, then we suggest you reach our startup experts at Full Scale – Matt DeCoursey and Matt Watson themselves. Contact us to get your free consultation today.
  • Scroll down to get the full transcript of this episode.

Listen to Episode 74 of the Startup Hustle Podcast – Founder’s Depression

Here is the transcript from Episode 74 of the Startup Hustle Podcast – Founder’s Depression

Speaker 1: Are you a business owner looking for real advice and input? You’re in the right place. From concept, to launch, to growth, funding and beyond, welcome to Startup Hustle, with your hosts, one once sold a business for $150,000 million, the other, the author of Million Dollar Bedroom. Here are your hosts of Startup Hustle, Matt DeCoursey and Matt Watson.  
Matt DeCoursey: And we’re back. Another episode of Startup Hustle. Matt DeCoursey here with the esteemed Matt Watson. Hi Matt.  
Matt Watson: How’s it going, man?  
Matt DeCoursey: I’m didn’t pretty good. Are you doing all right, man? You seem a little down.  
Matt Watson: I feel like I’m on a roller coaster, man.  
Matt DeCoursey: That’s because you’re an entrepreneur.  
Matt Watson: I know. I was doing some forecasting yesterday, and I feel like we can triple revenue next year, but I’m not sure how the hell I’m going to do it. I’m going to need some help, and it’s really stressing me out.  
Matt DeCoursey: I think you have-  
Matt Watson: Do you know how to do forecasting?  
Matt DeCoursey: Yes, I do, actually. And I’ve also realized that it’s 100% inaccurate, so I would be more than happy to help you with your inaccurate forecasting if you want me to model that out for you.  
Matt Watson: Can we drink beer at the same time?  
Matt DeCoursey: Yep, tears and beers, baby. That’s kind of what I want to talk about today because you seem a little down, but a little up at the same time. And I think that that’s just the cost of being an entrepreneur.  
Matt Watson: It’s every day, up and down. I’ve got to take my uppers and downers every day.  
Matt DeCoursey: But you really don’t.  
Matt Watson: No?  
Matt DeCoursey: No. Do you?  
Matt Watson: Yeah.  
Matt DeCoursey: I don’t know if you do. Maybe. Well, anyway, today’s topic is the true cost of entrepreneurism. And I’ve experienced a lot of that. I’m sure you have as well. I know you’ve actually talked about it. Actually, I heard you on a different podcast talking about it at one point. But I think when we started the show, we had the mission of being honest and open and transparent about the ups and downs. Right?  
Matt Watson: Yeah. And it’s a daily roller coaster.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah. With that, the idea for the topic of today’s show came from a Facebook post that I made, that had a link to an article someone else had shared with me. And I was just really, I want to say impressed, but I don’t know if that’s the right word, with the kind of responses that I got. But the article itself was a few years old, but it talked about really the ups and downs and the depression, anxiety, and all the different stuff that can come with being an entrepreneur. You experience some of that?  
Matt Watson: Absolutely.  
Matt DeCoursey: Okay. Well, we can talk about it. But I think we can go ahead. I did a little research because you know most of my day involves-  
Matt Watson: Researching the web.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yes. Well, because all for the greater good of the Startup Hustle Podcast. Right. So anyway, I found some information. In 2010, a survey was done. And it covered 242 entrepreneurs, and a whopping 49% of them reported having some kind of mental health condition.  
Matt Watson: I don’t think that’s true.  
Matt DeCoursey: You think it’s higher?  
Matt Watson: Yeah.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah. I hear you on that one. Here’s the numbers, you’ve got-  
Matt Watson: And you have to be insane to be an entrepreneur anyways.  
Matt DeCoursey: You do. It’s funny because we’ll get into some of that because I have some quotes from some really well known ones that really kind of just say the same thing. Depression was the highest reported condition. And 30% of those surveyed said they felt depressed. And I think it’s pretty easy to feel depressed as an entrepreneur because, like you said, it’s just those ups, those downs. One day it’s like you’re about to take over the world. And the next day, it’s like, oh man.  
Matt Watson: Getting gut punched for something else.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah.  
Matt Watson: Well, I met with one of our customers at Full Scale on Monday. And she’s early stage, but I would say she on the different end of it. She’s not depressed at this point, but she’s overwhelmed. She’s like, “I’ve got to figure out how to do this and this. This is all stressful, and I have to make decisions.” And just aah. Right?  
Matt DeCoursey: Right. And different personality types are going to handle that kind of stuff a lot differently than others.  
Matt Watson: And she’s still real early stage. That’s totally different than the, hey, I’ve got all these employees, and I don’t know how to make payroll, or sales or bad, or whatever the other problems are. It’s always something.  
Matt DeCoursey: I think I told you in the conversation with that same entrepreneur, I actually said something along the lines of, “Well, I want to make sure you’re prepared for what’s about to happen.”  
Matt Watson: This is the easiest part.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yes. Yes, getting ready for it is the easiest part. I think that was, in a way, kind of a public service because if you let people know there’s a lot of ups and downs. Let’s talk about a few of those ups and downs. The first one’s clearly financial.  
Matt Watson: Absolutely.  
Matt DeCoursey: I mean, I think that the reason the … Well, the feeling of depression I think just comes … I’ve had it. And it’s just either you feel like you’re going to go broke, or you just wasted a whole lot of money. Or maybe you’re just, your idea isn’t as great as you thought it was.  
Matt Watson: To me, I think one of the most common feelings is going to be being a little hopeless about something or another, like not knowing what to do. How are you going to solve some problem, raising capital, finding a customer, finding whatever? Just kind of hopelessness.  
Matt DeCoursey: But with that as well is that feeling of running out of money. Right?  
Matt Watson: Yeah.  
Matt DeCoursey: You’re looking at a burn rate, or money you have. That’s something that’s hard to cure. And I think that another thing too that’s related to the depression is the depression that entrepreneurs feel has a lot to do … For example, you want to go raise money.  
Matt Watson: I’m working on it.  
Matt DeCoursey: Get told no a lot.  
Matt Watson: Absolutely.  
Matt DeCoursey: And it’s almost like … And the thing is, you have to keep in mind is especially with an institutional type investor, it’s their job to get the best deal from you until they’re your partner.  
Matt Watson: Well, it seems like they’re really excited to talk to you because they want to learn more about your industry and what you’re doing just to put it in some database or spreadsheet they have. That seems to be the common element.  
Matt DeCoursey: Interesting.  
Matt Watson: Yeah.  
Matt DeCoursey: Okay. I think that one of the things that is, you’re going to get told no a lot. Now for me personally, I’ve been a salesperson pretty much my whole life. And hearing no is just kind of a part of it.  
Matt Watson: Next.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah, exactly. You have to say that. But it can definitely feel that the ups and … Go with those ups and downs. Okay. ADHD. I got it.  
Matt Watson: That’s for sure.  
Matt DeCoursey: I have legit ADHD. I think most people are over diagnosed. I don’t think that’s a mental health condition. I wouldn’t give mine back. Now I’ve had a talk with a ton of people in life who feel a lot differently. But I feel like that hyperactivity, or it’s like an engine, like I have an extra gear. Now that being said, going unchecked, ADHD can get you into … We’ve always referred to entrepreneurial ADD. That’s getting involved in too many things, or as you like to say, putting too many things in your backpack.  
Matt Watson: I’ve got a family member that has ADHD or something along those lines. And this particular person has a hard time accomplishing anything though.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah. It can be different. And I wouldn’t be … To be honest, it took me a long time in life to kind of get past that. At the same time, the personality style of someone that’s type A, I don’t run into a lot of introverted ADHD people. I mean, the hyperactivity is kind of a type A thing. I think that a lot of people in that personality type are more likely to become entrepreneurs.  
Matt Watson: There’s definitely a certain personality for entrepreneurs. You have to be a little crazy, that’s for sure. We’re all a little crazy.  
Matt DeCoursey: I think it is. That’s going to go back to now: What are the controlling and contributing factors to the ups and downs? Well, a personality profile on me would say that I’m not overly affected or stressed out by risk, like taking a chance. I’m not like a riverboat gambler. But at the same time, I understand that taking chances and some kind of risk is, well, that often leads to reward. But not everyone is able to kind of take that. We run into that a lot with people we talk to before we do business at Full Scale. Sometimes you’ve just got to do it, guys. Don’t overthink it.  
Matt Watson: Some of them don’t want to take risk. They’re like, “Well, I’ll do the startup thing. But I still need to make 200 grand a year because that’s what I made in my cushy corporate job.” And it’s like, “Welcome the the real world. You make zero.”  
Matt DeCoursey: Right. It’s hard to get the best of both worlds, but you’ve got to take that risk. Okay. So then once again, very closely related, 27% of those surveyed reported having anxiety. I feel like that should be 87%.  
Matt Watson: I think they all have anxiety.  
Matt DeCoursey: I think anxiety, for me, is probably-  
Matt Watson: Are some of these entrepreneurs just working a food cart or something? I think maybe they’ve skewed the stats with these people working a food cart that think they’re entrepreneurs.  
Matt DeCoursey: I would have more anxiety if I worked at a food cart than doing what I do now.  
Matt Watson: Think so?  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah. Probably, man. I’m not very good at cooking at all. I don’t like cooking, prepping, or cleaning up. That shit would give me anxiety. I don’t mind doing any of the other stuff we do. Well, do those numbers surprise you?  
Matt Watson: No, not at all.  
Matt DeCoursey: Have you experienced all of those things? Because I think you have a little ADD on some days.  
Matt Watson: I think all of them on a weekly basis.  
Matt DeCoursey: Sure. Okay. Well, I mean, for those of you listening, if you’re curious, or you wanted to know, well, there you go. It’s happened to us too. Here’s a quote from Elon Musk, “Running a startup is like chewing glass and staring into the abyss. After a while, you stop staring, but the glass chewing never ends.”  
Matt Watson: That’s deep.  
Matt DeCoursey: I know. I think the real question is: Is the abyss that he’s staring into a computer generated reality? Different topic. Feels kind of weird on that. I think I said early in the show that I feel that being a startup founder is like an onion. The deeper you get into it, the more you cry.  
Matt Watson: Okay.  
Matt DeCoursey: But yeah, I think that’s pretty … I don’t know. I think that’s another thing too, that is probably something we could give some good advice on, is there’s a really fine line between when you should quit and when you’re being a quitter.  
Matt Watson: Yeah. And I almost think it’s not a decision you want to make yourself either. I think it’s something you should rely on some mentors and advisors to help you make that decision.  
Matt DeCoursey: You do a little mentoring, as do I. How often do people listen to what you’re telling them, or seem to?  
Matt Watson: I think quite often. I think so. Not all the time.  
Matt DeCoursey: If I’m going to actively mentor someone, and I’ve got a few people that I work with here and there, obviously they need to make their own decisions. But if you’re seeking the advice of someone that has some more experience, or is maybe a little more objective than you, don’t try to argue as to why your position’s correct. Take the data. Look at it. Make the decision that’s in your best interest. I think trying to argue why everyone else is wrong, and you’re right, is probably going to lead to more anxiety. Do you know who Tim Ferriss is?  
Matt Watson: Sounds familiar.  
Matt DeCoursey: He’s written a lot of books. What was it?  
Matt Watson: I don’t read books.  
Matt DeCoursey: I know you don’t. I wrote a book with you in it, and you still won’t read it. The fact of the matter is this, if you’re driven, or an entrepreneur, a type A personality, or 100 other things, mood swings are part of your genetic hard wiring. It’s a blessing and a curse. I think that describes the way I feel almost to a T. I say I wouldn’t give my ADD back. Well, I mean, there’s a lot of times when I rely on that motor. I mean, if you don’t have the energy to do it, or sometimes the tenacity, honestly, I think it helps in business because, like for me personally, focusing on sales and business development and stuff like that, like I said, having a thick skin, but not being afraid to ask. And now is it a curse? Yeah, because well, you knew me for a while when I was having legitimate insomnia, staying up.  
  I’ve actually gotten that under control. I think that, well, I guess we could share it. You and I both embraced the keto diet recently. I’ve lost 35 pounds. I look like a different person. I kind of feel like a different person. But I realize, being a person who wrote a book about personal, professional and physical, I should probably follow my own advice. And I noticed that when I got myself into shape, and I got some exercise and kind of set some rules and boundaries for myself, I just quit working after a certain time at night. I think you do that too.  
Matt Watson: I try to.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah. You have to sometimes turn it off. And that’s tough to do as well, because if you’re really driven, you don’t want to turn it off. All right. Let’s change the subject a little bit into transitions because you went through a big one. You sold VinSolutions.  
Matt Watson: Yep.  
Matt DeCoursey: Were you depressed after that?  
Matt Watson: I wouldn’t say I was depressed. But it was-  
Matt DeCoursey: Were you displaced?  
Matt Watson: It was kind of like, I don’t know, maybe the best way to describe it is feeling like you got dropped off on a tropical island somewhere, and you have everything you want, but you’re alone.  
Matt DeCoursey: Weird. Can you elaborate?  
Matt Watson: Well, the building of a company, you’ve got your team with you. You’re doing all this cool stuff. It’s real fun. It’s real exciting. And all of a sudden, you kind of get off the ride. And you’re all alone, and you’re like, “What do I do now?”  
Matt DeCoursey: So how long did that last? Until you got into something else?  
Matt Watson: Yeah, a few months.  
Matt DeCoursey: Is that when you started Stackify? Was it that quickly?  
Matt Watson: Yeah.  
Matt DeCoursey: Did you realize that you needed to do that for your own sanity? Or was it just because you got bored?  
Matt Watson: There was no way I was going to stay at home with my wife all day, every day.  
Matt DeCoursey: And if she’s listening, or mine is, I’d probably feel the same way. My wife doesn’t think I could set it down. I tell her. I’m like, “Yeah. My goal would be to do this, this, this, or this.” She’s like, “You’ll never retire.”  
Matt Watson: No. I need something to do.  
Matt DeCoursey: I don’t know if … I mean, I feel like I could retire. I don’t know. I like doing business.  
Matt Watson: If I go back to the old VinSolutions over a long period of time, the early days for us weren’t really that stressful. It was just getting the product going. And that part wasn’t too bad. We thought we got a big partnership, and we were on a real high there because we thought we were going to be millionaires or something.  
Matt DeCoursey: And that kind of fell through.  
Matt Watson: It went nowhere, yeah. So we just kept plugging away. One of the hardest parts along the way was getting into a fight with one of my business partners, and that kind of ended up in a lawsuit and a bunch of problems. That was some of the darkest days of sitting around every day. And you’re like, “Oh, shit. We’ve got this big rain cloud over our head of this lawsuit and problems with a business partner and whatever.”  
Matt DeCoursey: Were you stressed because you thought that it was going to implode?  
Matt Watson: It was a massive distraction. And we had a court injunction against us that prevented us from doing different things. it was crazy. Yeah.  
Matt DeCoursey: How’d you handle that?  
Matt Watson: Just had to wait it out.  
Matt DeCoursey: God, that’s probably the hardest thing for me.  
Matt Watson: It gets tied up in the courts. You just have to wait it out.  
Matt DeCoursey: I hate waiting.  
Matt Watson: But then you get to kind of golden years of the business, the two or three years in the middle where things are doing really good. We’re growing like crazy. We’re kicking butt. We’re taking names. And then, yeah, there’s some stress in trying to make it all work and solve all the issues and customer issues and whatever. But all in all, it’s positive. They’re all positive problems. But then eventually when you sell it, you kind of feel like you stop off of the roller coaster, and you’re like, “What do I do now?”  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah. I think it’s interesting. I’ve talked with you a lot about that. And we’ve talked with that about some on the show. And it’s, here comes … All right. A lot of us, when we talk about our business, or our startup, or whatever we’re doing, we’re like, “Oh, yeah. It’ll be great if we can sell it and exit.” It sounds like a bittersweet celebration.  
Matt Watson: I’d rather build something and maybe keep it that’s super profitable. I think all the people that want to sell shit don’t build things that actually make money, maybe.  
Matt DeCoursey: Do startups make money?  
Matt Watson: They should.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah. I agree.  
Matt Watson: All the ones that are trying to hurry up and exit are the ones that don’t make any money.  
Matt DeCoursey: What did you hear this week, that Stackify is growing too fast?  
Matt Watson: Yeah. I had a VC tell me that.  
Matt DeCoursey: That’s weird.  
Matt Watson: Yeah. You guys are growing too fast.  
Matt DeCoursey: I’d really like to have that person on the podcast and find out exactly where that comes from. How do you grow too fast?  
Matt Watson: We grew 80% year over year, I guess that’s too fast.  
Matt DeCoursey: But why is that a … That would’ve been a concern.  
Matt Watson: They said 25% to 40% was normal.  
Matt DeCoursey: Well, that’s exactly why you should-  
Matt Watson: It’s still pretty fast.  
Matt DeCoursey: That’s exactly why you should be in the target range. Do you have any tips or tricks for snapping yourself out of the down moments, or anything like that?  
Matt Watson: Besides beer?  
Matt DeCoursey: Do you even drink beer?  
Matt Watson: Or meds.  
Matt DeCoursey: Meds. I take meds, man. I take ADD meds every day. I have for, man, almost my whole life.  
Matt Watson: I think you just have to keep plugging away. No matter what happens, you just got to keep going.  
Matt DeCoursey: I definitely have these momentum swings, and I’m sure that you see them occasionally. For me, I try to recognize the times when I feel like I’m … Well, you’ll hear me. I’ll say, “I’m on a heater.” And if I have that going, for me, someone with ADD, I really value the moments and times and segments in which I feel really focused. And I can’t always control when those occur, like what time of day. Sometimes it can go on for days or weeks. And then sometimes I’m kind of struggling and clawing to find it. I think as I’ve gotten older, I turn 43 this year, so as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to identify it a lot, and just kind of honestly kick my own ass. Like you said, just kind of like, you’ve got to get up and go do stuff.  
Matt Watson: I think the hardest part is not knowing what to do.  
Matt DeCoursey: Right.  
Matt Watson: What do I do today? I don’t even know where to start. That’s one of the hardest feelings.  
Matt DeCoursey: I would love that problem right now. But that’s back to that overwhelmed feeling because if you have such a giant list, it’s like where you can start, at least you’re going to say something like, or just do it. Just do something. I used to work with this guy, Dave McKowski, who used to say, “Activity breeds sales.” And it’s the same kind of … With that, you’re saying, “Call people. Do something. Do outreach. Talk to … Some kind of activity.” But I think that goes well when it comes to being productive. If you’re just sitting there going, “What do I need to do?” Then you’re definitely not going to get things in motion. Now there’s a couple facts about anxiety. Anxiety occurs in most people because there is something, there is an unresolved something. It could be … Do you ever wake up at 3:00 in the morning and you’re just awake until 8:00?  
Matt Watson: Very rarely, every once in a while. And the last time it happened was because I was thinking so hard about trying to solve some computer programing problem.  
Matt DeCoursey: And that’s a perfect example. At that point, laying in your bed and just staring at the ceiling is not your best option.  
Matt Watson: Yeah. It was like, “I have to figure this out.”  
Matt DeCoursey: Did you get up and do it?  
Matt Watson: I did.  
Matt DeCoursey: And did your anxiety go away? Or did it lessen?  
Matt Watson: I don’t remember.  
Matt DeCoursey: I bet it’s because it did.  
Matt Watson: Feels like with software, there’s always the next problem.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah. But that exists with a lot of things. And I always tell people I feel like the businesses that I’ve been involved in speak to me, like I’m not schizophrenic, at least I don’t admit it.  
Matt Watson: What is Full Scale saying to you now?  
Matt DeCoursey: That it’s growing so fast that I better wrap my arms around it. I mean, we haven’t been doing a whole lot of podcasts lately, and that’s really the reason why.  
Matt Watson: No. And we’re going to be traveling around the world for the next three weeks.  
Matt DeCoursey: I know. Are we going to talk about that already?  
Matt Watson: Maybe.  
Matt DeCoursey: Well, first off, I just hired our 136th employee in Cebu.  
Matt Watson: That’s crazy.  
Matt DeCoursey: I know. We had 12 on March fifth.  
Matt Watson: That’s really crazy.  
Matt DeCoursey: 12. Honestly, we could probably have more. Full Scale hasn’t produced a lot of anxiety. The anxiety that that business and its rapid growth have produced are more so related to operations.  
Matt Watson: Dealing with employees and getting them to do what we want them to do.  
Matt DeCoursey: And getting the right-  
Matt Watson: Results.  
Matt DeCoursey: Procedures and people in place, like we just hired a COO, CFO, Darrell Blackburn.  
Matt Watson: Yeah.  
Matt DeCoursey: We can admit that publicly now.  
Matt Watson: He’s a rockstar.  
Matt DeCoursey: He is. He’s doing … Well, Darrell worked with me. He was the intern. And he’s in Million Dollar Bedroom. And he came in and did some podcasts. That was a lot of fun. Yeah. Thank God for people that want to do all the things that we don’t want to do. Do you want to talk about anxiety? Where would you be without the supporting cast?  
Matt Watson: Absolutely.  
Matt DeCoursey: Oh, my God. And maybe that’s another great set of advice when it comes to lessening your anxiety, your depression, is try to get the right people around you.  
Matt Watson: Yeah. You’ve absolutely got to hire the people around you to do the things that you’re not good at, or don’t want to do.  
Matt DeCoursey: Or that are low value compared to what you can do.  
Matt Watson: Right.  
Matt DeCoursey: We determined at Full Scale earlier this year that probably it was more valuable for me to act in a sales and business development capacity than it was to work as an admin.  
Matt Watson: Sure.  
Matt DeCoursey: And I don’t even like doing that stuff anyway. So it was stressing me out, it was sucking up all my time. That’s probably why I actually sleep at night now. I don’t have to do any of that.  
Matt Watson: You get to sell stuff and ring the bell.  
Matt DeCoursey: I like selling stuff. I don’t have a bell though. We should get a cash register sound. That’d be cool. If we had one on the podcast, we would just completely annoy our-  
Matt Watson: You’ve got your sound effects board over there. You’ve got to figure it out.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah. But it doesn’t really work like that, Matt. I think it just does echoes.  
Matt Watson: Oh, geez.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah. I know.  
Matt Watson: Don’t get carried away here.  
Matt DeCoursey: I know. Okay. Here’s the stark reality of startups. Most are going to fail.  
Matt Watson: They are.  
Matt DeCoursey: That’s probably a big reason for feeling depressed.  
Matt Watson: Is it like 80% or 90% of them? What is the number?  
Matt DeCoursey: Is there really an accurate reporting mechanism for that? And then what is a startup? Because apparently, Uber’s a freaking startup, which I don’t understand.  
Matt Watson: Yeah. about that.  
Matt DeCoursey: How can you still be a startup when you’re going public?  
Matt Watson: One way to look at it is like: What’s the survival rate of a business that makes it to being in business for five years?  
Matt DeCoursey: They say after two years, it’s something like 80%, 90% flop. Now if it’s a franchise, that’s a very small single digit number, and that’s because franchises come with an owner’s manual. They’re already a proven business model.  
Matt Watson: Getting to that five year mark is really difficult.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah. I think it is too. If you’re getting ready to start a business, you’re going to have a lot of sleepless nights. There’s no way around that. And if you don’t, you’re … Actually, you know what, if someone came in and asked me to invest in their business, I think when they do that I’m going to start asking them, “How well do you sleep at night?” And if they say, “Poorly,” then I might write a check. If they say that they sleep well, then I don’t have the right person.  
Matt Watson: They sleep like a baby, it’s the wrong person.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah. I think maybe we could almost come up with an investment checklist based on that.  
Matt Watson: All right.  
Matt DeCoursey: I think some other things too that, some of the timing, I think if you … My mentality … All right. This is the hardest part for me. I think you shared some of your stuff with Vin. The end of 2016, I walked away from a business that was doing a lot of business. It was making a lot of money. I wasn’t happy at all, at all. And I made a conscious … In order to … I had to make a change because I knew I could do more, and I wanted to do more, and I wanted to involve myself with just different stuff. And that required a lot of balls.  
  And then later, a lot of money to get through it. I didn’t make any money in 2017. I literally had to, in many ways, reinvent myself, which is a process. If you’re trying to do that on a really high and major level, there’s a lot that goes into it. And it doesn’t happen overnight, it really doesn’t. You start looking at, for me, I had a, well, I don’t know what we would call a lot of money, but it was enough that I didn’t want to see it all go away.  
Matt Watson: Right. Yep.  
Matt DeCoursey: And here you are, you’re flapping your wings and you’re flying closer and closer and closer to the sun, and it’s getting warmer. And you’re like, “God, I really shouldn’t be flying this close to the sun,” so you fly even closer, maybe even directly into it, I’m not sure. Ask me again in a year because I went out of one business, literally December. I’ll never forget the date, December 15th, 2016. It’s when we walked away from our ticket business. And it had produced a lot of income and lifestyle. I feel like it was probably more stressful to do that than it was when we started it because we didn’t have anything to lose. There was nothing to lose. Do you ever want to be the guy that had a million dollars?  
Matt Watson: Not really.  
Matt DeCoursey: That’s a shitty designation to be in. I think that was probably the thing that I kind of fear. Now at the same time, while I was going through a lot of that, I had to also keep buying stock in myself. I know that I’m good at making money. Now where is that? Well, when you and I became business partners, we thought it was maybe something a little different than what it became. But I knew that I would get it figured out. The question is: Do you get that figured out before the wax on your wings melts, and you plummet to the Earth? Because that is really what it felt like. I think I flew directly through the sun.  
Matt Watson: You have wax on your wings?  
Matt DeCoursey: Well, that’s the old story of Icarus, who, it’s a Greek story, he took bird wings and wax and made wings. And he flew around and it was really awesome. And then he flew too close to the sun.  
Matt Watson: I don’t think I’m old enough to know this.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah. I’m not either, Matt. I’m not either. Although, we talk about statues. I have been telling you with my new fitness routine that I’m busy sculpting my guns. My wife doesn’t seem to find that entertaining. I keep offering her tickets to the gun show as well, and she doesn’t want to go. I don’t get it. But no, I think just in general, change is hard. And in Balance Me, my book, I literally say that on the second page. You have to sometimes admit that you’re the problem. I don’t think that was the case with my changes, but then I say change is hard. And that’s why most people fail at it.  
Matt Watson: Well, being an entrepreneur is hard. Creating any kind of software product is hard.  
Matt DeCoursey: Any kind of business is hard.  
Matt Watson: For the entrepreneurs out there that have some idea that related to software, they’ll all of a sudden thrust themselves into a software business, there’s so much to learn around just the complexity and timing and everything else to building a software product that they’re in for a rude awakening.  
Matt DeCoursey: And why is that?  
Matt Watson: Because it’s hard.  
Matt DeCoursey: And there’s a lot of stuff out there already, too.  
Matt Watson: Yeah. It’s really hard.  
Matt DeCoursey: And getting people to adopt it, it’s just expensive. Life is getting expensive. How does anybody afford to operate in California?  
Matt Watson: They hire people in the Philippines.  
Matt DeCoursey: Oh, yeah. That’s right. We have some clients that are from California that really enjoy the cost structure.  
Matt Watson: Yeah, because you can’t afford to pay 200 grand a year for software developer in Silicon Valley.  
Matt DeCoursey: Well, that can help ease the financial concern, is I always say you can sell more, or spend less, or do both. Speaking of which, it’s pretty likely that the next podcast we publish is … Well, we’re in Kansas City right now. How’s the weather outside, Matt?  
Matt Watson: It’s cold. What is it? 30 degrees or something, maybe.  
Matt DeCoursey: In the middle of the day.  
Matt Watson: Yeah. It’s cold.  
Matt DeCoursey: It’s going to get worse. But we’re going to go do some tropical stuff.  
Matt Watson: We’re going to the beach, baby.  
Matt DeCoursey: I know. I can’t wait.  
Matt Watson: We’re going to record a podcast on the beach.  
Matt DeCoursey: I like that. You know what I think is awesome about this trip, we’re having a huge-  
Matt Watson: Oh, come on now.  
Matt DeCoursey: Party.  
Matt Watson: Don’t make fun of me.  
Matt DeCoursey: I’m not.  
Matt Watson: Huge.  
Matt DeCoursey: What?  
Matt Watson: Yeah, huge.  
Matt DeCoursey: I didn’t realize you could pronounce huge. I’m going to actually clip that out for your wife and send it to her because she’s the one that told me. Yeah. We’re having a Christmas party, man, for like-  
Matt Watson: 300 people.  
Matt DeCoursey: Maybe more. Maybe more, now that I’m seeing the booking.  
Matt Watson: And you’re going to be Santa.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah. I agreed to be Santa.  
Matt Watson: Can I be an elf?  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah. Yeah. Do you want to be an elf?  
Matt Watson: Yeah. Why not?  
Matt DeCoursey: I’m looking forward to it. It’ll definitely reduce my anxiety having the party and watching everyone that has helped us be successful over there have a good time. We’ve literally invited entire families at a beach resort for the day. It’ll be a lot of fun. Yeah. That’s, I think, one of the more interesting things about business as it gets bigger. We’re actually talking about multiples. You’re like, “Yeah. Let’s have a Christmas party.” And then they say, “Okay. You realize that we’ll probably have 350 people there.” And you’re like, “Oh, wow. What’s that going to cost?”  
Matt Watson: That’s a lot of people.  
Matt DeCoursey: It’s a lot of money too. But I think it’s going to be fun.  
Matt Watson: Yeah. It will be fun.  
Matt DeCoursey: So I’m looking forward to that.  
Matt Watson: Seeing you in Santa.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah, I know. God, I’m going to have to plan that. Can I tear the sleeves off and cut the pants in half? Because, dude, a full on Santa outfit in a 90 degree day in the sun in the Philippines sounds miserable. Are you going to sit on my lap?  
Matt Watson: No. Hard pass.  
Matt DeCoursey: You said … Isn’t that what elves do?  
Matt Watson: No. I’m not sitting on your lap.  
Matt DeCoursey: Okay. That’s probably a good thing.  
Matt Watson: I will put the kids on your lap if you want. I’ll pick them up and put them on your lap.  
Matt DeCoursey: I don’t know what a true level of commitment because, dude, all right, let’s do the math here. We have 136 employees. And that means if 350 people come, that could be a four hour shift.  
Matt Watson: It’s like you at the mall.  
Matt DeCoursey: Have you seen Bad Santa?  
Matt Watson: Oh, yeah.  
Matt DeCoursey: Because I would probably turn into that. I mean, I probably would. Or the part … What was it, A Christmas Story, where he just finally gets up to Santa and tells him he wants a Red Rider BB Gun, and Santa kicks him down the slide?  
Matt Watson: Oh, we need a slide.  
Matt DeCoursey: If we haven’t ordered it now, let’s not do it.  
Matt Watson: Okay.  
Matt DeCoursey: But no, it’s going to be fun. We’re going to give away some awards, which I don’t think we’ve determined what those are yet. What would some awards be?  
Matt Watson: I don’t know.  
Matt DeCoursey: We were going to give an award to the person that has worked the most hours this year, but give the award to their wife.  
Matt Watson: I love that one.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah. I think that’s a good one. Yeah, I’m looking forward to that. I’m looking forward to once again broadcasting the Startup Hustle from Cebu. I want to maybe do something. Oh, man. Are we going to do the speaking bee?  
Matt Watson: Yeah. Yes.  
Matt DeCoursey: Okay. For those of you listening, I’m going to get smoked.  
Matt Watson: Yes, you will.  
Matt DeCoursey: I mean, it’s not even going to be close. In regards to my travels around the entire planet, I think I want to save that for another one. I think we’ll talk about that a little more. I think that almost warrants its own topic. Well, I feel a lot better talking about all these problems that I’ve had. I feel like it’s really kind of gotten it out of my system, and I can get back to work now. How do you feel about it?  
Matt Watson: I feel great. I’ve still got to go figure out how to triple my business next year and raise the capital. I need to do it.  
Matt DeCoursey: So you’re going to get depressed again?  
Matt Watson: Can I get sometime on your couch? We can talk about this more.  
Matt DeCoursey: Yeah. My rate’s $350 an hour.  
Matt Watson: It’ll help my depression I think a little bit.  
Matt DeCoursey: I’ll tell you what, we’ll get back with everyone about how that worked out.  
Matt Watson: All right.  
Matt DeCoursey: See you.  

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