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New resolution and common mistakes to avoid as a startup co-founder for 2019

The New Year is quickly approaching! You know what that means, countless New Year’s resolutions that you will create and fail to follow through on. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Less than 10% of people ever achieve their New Year’s resolution. So many of us get a jolt of excitement and inspiration of the New Year. New Year, new you.

It’s a clean state where a chance to redefine yourself as a startup co-founder. So you want to do differently this year and 12 months later, you find yourself redefined yourself leaving promises unfulfilled. And then the cycle repeats. Why do New Year’s Resolutions fail? The problem is not you, it’s me.

Don’t let go your startup, let go your ego first.

This is a very crucial thing when building a business. You must let your ego first otherwise it will destroy your business. When you are teaming up with different minds, you need to be able to consume whatever about their opinions. It’s is good to argue on but when ego takes over your mind and conflict of interest, it’s over because of you more on a self-centered person in your leadership.

Ego can give some negative impacts such as co-founders conflict, not able to build a great team and affect your decision making. When coming to a discussion between co-founders, listen to understand instead listen to reply to avoid miss-communication and leads to an argument. Nobody wants to work in poor and toxic startup culture

Besides that, please stop repetitive early celebrations on social media because, in reality, nobody cares about your startup. The real intention of the founder is to feed their ego to show the whole world that he is the best (not as a company or team). Make sure your deliverables are more than your celebration. Business is a marathon, not a sprint.

You can’t chase two rabbits at one time.

When too many goals in your mind, it just won’t work. Small increment improvements are more likely than dramatic shifts to result in the outcome you desire. For me, that’s was simply prioritizing which efforts that more worthy of my time. I’m using 20/80 Pareto principles to be more productive.

I didn’t target to build too many ideas at one time. Focus on one idea and keep pushing forward for more results again and again. Rinse and repeat. Pivot if  If you in the product-market fit phase, make sure you not skipping steps otherwise your startup failure rate can be high. Jack of all trades is master of none.

Skills and experiences are true fortunes.

Startup as seen as risky. Most people quit their jobs or studies to become startup founders are called “world changer”. According to Forbes, 90% of startups fail. But startups don’t fail because they’re startups. They fail because of their founders. There are a lot of reasons why startup fails according to CB Insights such as no market need (42%), ran out cash (29%), not the right team (23%) and etc.

Before you jump ship into entrepreneurship (to those working and studying), it’s better you sharpen your skills and gather some working experiences until you are confident enough because building a business is a more challenging than you imagined. Do research and business plan to make sure your startup idea can solve the painful problem instead of inconvenience and has the right target market to serve.

Skills and experiences are true fortunes especially when you don’t have money to execute the idea. Many people think if you want to build a business, you need money. They are totally wrong. According to Naven Prasad,

Start with no funding. If you can’t make money without money, you can’t make money with money. It will be hard, you will miss payroll sometime. But the discipline it teaches you is invaluable.

Like me, I’m totally nothing until I studied at a local university called UiTM in Alor Gajah, Malacca, Malaysia. From there, I started to know little things about coding until I became passionate since degree days at UiTM Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia. At the same time, I’m doing freelancing to find more money so I can enjoy a little thing and learn some entrepreneurship skills.

Then I started working with tech companies in 2013 serving for local banking as a vendor such as Maybank to build a mobile app. After that, I’m continuing master in computer science where I learned about AI (Artificial Intelligence) stuff until I pursue my own tech startup called Soding (an AI evaluation recruitment platform for tech talents for tech companies) at the end of 2016. We got funding from Cradle in 2017 (successful on 2nd attempts) to build our prototype and completed the end of April 2018.

At the same time, we do software development in-house to sustain our living to pay for the car, feed the family and expense until we can make a sustainable income from our product. Thank you for the investor (Cradle Fund) and mentorship (MTDC & MaGIC) for their smart money and good mentorship during our product-market fit phase during this year.

Reflection on the past leads to action in the future.

The ability to look at one’ self critically. To say to one’s self, you were good in that situation. You weren’t good in that situation. You could have been better in that situation. Not to be overly critically meaning that you are always at fault if something goes bad or not to be so filled with hubris that you think everything you did was fine and it’s always the other person but be able to sort of separate yourself to look at the situation from as if you were the third party evaluating it.



You don’t rise to the levels of your goals. You fall to the level of the systems. Not only that, but most of us suck at creating goals. Maybe you have set out to create a billion-dollar company idea. These goals place the focus way down the road at the finish line. In short, it’s unrealistic, unsustainable and doomed to fail. Don’t talk about a billion-dollar company idea or a sustainable or scalable business idea if you don’t have any success story as a stepping stone.

When you express the idea, make sure the expression that comes from your heart is carefully crafted and full of wisdom. When you expressing your belief with unusual persistence or force, it could lead to psychosis whereby your mind can be lost with external reality.

All this advice may work for me but it isn’t for everyone, and there is nothing wrong with setting New Year’s resolution. But I urge you not to get carried away in the self-congratulatory behavior of setting resolutions and instead focusing on implementing the systems that, over the long term will deliver the results that you seek.

P.S: This post dedicated to our beloved daughter, Hanna Ammara Sofea.

Hanna Ammara Sofea
Hanna Ammara Sofea

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