“A startup is not a job, it’s your life”

Founder’s everyday life – does that even exist? “But raising a startup is like raising a toddler and it’s not easy to switch off completely for a long time. You’re always emotionally attached to the child,” says Ivan Cossu, founder of deskbird.

How do normal founders start in a normal startup workday? How do young entrepreneurs really switch off after work and what would the up-and-coming company leaders wish they had known before founding their startup? We asked exactly these things. Ivan Cossu, founder of deskbird, answers today. The young startup from St. Gallen offers a software solution that companies can use to manage hybrid workplaces.

How do you start into a normal startup workday?

No breakfast, just a long black coffee. Then set priorities for the day and work on content-related topics in peace for the first few hours. But sometimes it’s hectic or it got late the night before, so the day starts straight away with meetings.

How do you unwind after work?

Sport, reading or good food with wine. However, a startup is like raising a toddler and it is not easy to completely switch off for a long time. You are always emotionally attached to the child.
What would you have liked to know about being a founder before founding a company?
A startup isn’t a job, it’s your life. Even if you were previously in a job where you worked 70 hours a week: a startup is something else again.
The laptop may be closed at some point, but you keep thinking about how you can grow more, which features would still be interesting and ultimately where the long journey can go. It’s intense, but also extremely fulfilling.
What were the biggest hurdles you had to overcome on the way to founding a company?
You have to have courage, some confidence in your own abilities and not hesitate too long. Sometimes it’s like this: it’s better to make the wrong decision than no decision.
What were the biggest mistakes you’ve made so far – and what have you learned from them?
Launched a product too slowly and tested the ideas. You can talk to potential customers for a long time and get their feedback. Many then say that they would use the solution. But the truth is when someone has to sign a real contract or transfer money for your product. Therefore, launch products as quickly as possible. Then get feedback, adjust if necessary, and move on.
How do you find the right employees for your startup?
That is not easy. The most important thing is the attitude: you have to be prepared for the fact that recruiting is at least as demanding as sales. And plan accordingly time and leisure for it.

What advice do you have for other founders?

If I had to give one tip from my – so far short (!) – founding life, it would be this: Have a conscious attitude towards entrepreneurial risk. But then go all in.
Without which external tool would your startup practically no longer exist?
HubSpot. My co-founder Jonas Hess would say: Slack.

How do you keep your team in a good mood?

Basically, the topic of mood and culture – especially in a remote-first setting – must be very actively controlled. This is essential. We often do events, virtual and physical. From online wine tastings to multi-day physical summits in Croatia to virtual breakfasts together.
What has been your wildest startup experience so far?

Every day is very wild in its own way.

Tip: How does a startup work day look like? There are even more interviews in our topic focus on the everyday life of a founder.

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