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Conversion copywriter and growth consultant for awesome brands. Optimizing pages, opens + crushing conversions — mariannroberts.com
Are you even aware of the mental challenges a startup can inflict on you? (image: pixabay)

Startups are hard.

Really hard — mentally and emotionally.

But…

Where there is a challenge, there’s prime real estate to learn valuable (and often hard) lessons.

Startup founders face many commonalities: from figuring out how to grow the business while managing day-to-day operations and team members all the way up to deciding if and when to sell.

Can we learn from their shared experiences and avoid those mental and emotional costs?

You can bring immediate awareness of what you’re doing and how that may affect your business in the long run with these six helpful pointers.


Photo by Wyron A on Unsplash

If only there was an app to help make big decisions in business or life.

Closest I found was a tarot card app, but if you’re not into that, you probably want something more scientific.

Not as fun as tarot, but the regret minimization framework is such.

It worked for Jeff Bezos, too.


Photo Jackson Simmer on Unsplash

Aah… to live intentionally.

That’s a tall order and the darling of self-help gurus, articles and books.

But how does that really happen?

Nobody talks about that, presumably lengthy, part.

After decades of soul searching, do they just wake up one day on a particularly sunny November morning and decide to… start?

What they don’t tell you is to start here:


Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

What’s the most important skill for a startup founder that doesn’t get the love it deserves?

Financial modeling?

Spreadsheets?

Portfolio construction?

Running the business?

If you ask any grad students studying business on most programs, you’ll get an enthusiastic nod in agreement. The most in-demand jobs — for them — are investment banking, private equity, and consulting, after all.

And so everyone narrows in on these hard skills and classes are packed week in week out.

What they don’t know yet is that these valuable and important skills are not the most important to successfully build a business.

What’s the one subject Business Schools scoff at?

In the…


Yulia Matvienko on Unsplash

People don’t appreciate the value of curation.

It’s a fact.

But then, why would they?

For centuries, we associated curation with art foundations and museums. Only they would have a curator on payroll to select expensive paintings and objects to include in a collection.

A bit esoteric, if you ask me. I often wondered what you need to have to qualify for a job like that.

How do we make curation relevant to business in 2021?

To understand its value, we first need to understand what it is.

It’s the act of narrowing down a consumer’s choice to things you…


Photo by Allec Gomes on Unsplash

It seems neither.

But even before we get into that…

Define success.

It’s not straightforward… is it?

There are a lot of moving elements in that definition and getting there should also be attributed to many things.

Some of it is luck.

Some of it is solving problems for an underserved audience.

And some of it is faith to put your product out thanklessly for years on end.

If I had to pick one thing to attribute success, it would probably be focus — putting your blinders on, ignoring the outside noise, and doing one thing exceptionally well.

The concept…


Photo by Mitya Ivanov on Unsplash

Strategy is a word with life and an ecosystem of its own.

We all want to be strategic and involved in strategy.

It’s cool.

Yet, we don’t even have a unified way of defining it.

Not cool.

You ask a hundred people the question,

“What is strategy?”

and you get a hundred different answers.

There isn’t one correct answer — it’s a bit like asking someone, “How much milk do you want in your tall latte?”

Take a second and go deeper into the meaning of this eight-letter word. …


Photo by Attentie Attentie on Unsplash

Feeling persistent anxiety about your qualifications as a startup founder is exhausting.

Many times people have no prior experience in what they’re doing… but they know it’s what they’re meant to be spending their time on.

You often feel like a fraud and pinch yourself every time something good happens to you.

“I’m so young. Only people who spent their entire careers trying hard can call themselves successful. I think I’m just lucky.”

Regardless of how many years you’ve been building your business, or how many businesses you’ve built — you just can’t see why on Earth you’d be the…


Unstuck yourself with an outside perspective (pixabay)

I’m guessing your entrepreneurial toolkit is full to the brim with *proven* tools to build a better business, team, or product.

Checklists, e-books, courses, podcasts… swipes, interviews, free stuff, paid stuff, plus 126 saved Chrome tabs…

… executive coaching in there?

If not, why not?

Do you think it’s only for executives and you’re not that?

Does the idea sound weird to you, almost like therapy…?

To sit down with someone to talk about the things that nag you professionally and personally is not an exclusive privilege of executives.

A good coach is a business necessity today — they ask…


geralt/pixabay

No testimonials to put on your slide decks?

No one to vouch for your product?

Data all over the place, if any?

Selling something that’s unproven is an absolute grind.

As a startup, how do you convince anyone to buy your product when you have very little data to show people?

It’s just you and your word trying to get that first person or company to take a leap of faith.

It’s incredibly difficult for a new business. Perhaps not so much in B2C — with a bit of money you can pay for ads on Facebook or Instagram, but…

Mariann Roberts

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