Another way to think about this, and the way we talk about this internally, is that we prefer to communicate through our products.
I wake up every morning and think about how I can put myself out of business. By that, I mean I think about every way another business can disrupt my profit margins and my current successes. By thinking about what they could do, I can do it myself and innovate my own business.
I need a higher level of certainty than investors do because my time is more valuable to me than their money is to them. Investors place bets in a portfolio of companies, but I only have one life.
The most important thing you can do is to get into an iteration cycle where you can measure the impact of your work, have a hypothesis about how making changes will affect those variables, and ship changes regularly. It doesn't even matter that much what the content is - it's the iteration of hypothesis, changes, and measurement that will make you better at a faster rate than anything else we have seen.
VCs are reluctant to fund capital intensive startups that have time horizons for exits that are significantly longer than software based startups
The product lifecycle is so much longer, which makes it inherently much riskier. In many cases it can be years before you even get to the point where you can get real feedback on the business model.
There are often other considerations e.g. regulations or interactions with existing products, that are entirely outside of the control of the company that can significantly alter the likelihood of success.
Don't hire people you don't have a absolute need for or people you don't know how to train. People are expensive, so if you hire them, make sure you have something for them to do, and you make sure they do it well. If either of those two are absent, you're wasting money.
Your own emotional state will be thrusted onto your company whether you want it to or not. My emotions were the companies emotions. I should have had a wall, between what I felt and what people saw, but they were equal. This crushed the moral of the company, as well as my own.
If things are too easy, look harder for problems. Business is not easy. It isn't meant to go smoothly. If it is, try to find the reason it's so easy, and give yourself reasons something could go wrong. Because, something always goes wrong eventually.
Love what you do, and if you don't, be self aware. I didn't have a deep passion for PubLoft. Content was not my life's mission. We let Jason invest, and he wanted a huge outcome. but I knew pubLoft was not my life's work. Be self aware about this before you take money.
Keep going. It's only a failure if I don't get back up and try again.