There are certain life lessons that I label as things you should never have to learn twice. One of those is choosing the right partner/co-founder for your project or start-up.
Choosing a partner is much like getting married and you really want to make sure that you giving yourself up to the right person. I mean you will be seeing and spending more time with this person than your actual spouse. You betting and place your entire future, time, and sacrifices on them.
But we never learn, we always choose people for the wrong reasons, such as because they are our family members so maybe they’ll have our best interests at heart or friends because, well heck we get along right?
Being family or friends with someone doesn’t mean your thinking in business is the same. Some people just do it to extract value, while you might want to create a legacy company.
Personally I look for my own characteristics in a co-founder, such as:
- Integrity(This is really important, sometimes having someone who schemes and tricks people might seem like a great asset when they doing for your start-up but sooner or later wheels will turn and they do that to you. Honest, ethical people with strong moral principles are very important as partners).
- Smart, love learning but admit weak areas(You need someone who can come up with great solutions, willing to learn as they go and not have too much pride to admit unknowns, that’s where you could come in as a co-founder and fill that gap).
- Have a strong sense of delayed gratification(be willing to sacrifice short term happiness for a much bigger victory later down the road. I’ve had partners who wanted to start earning right off the bat, want distributions from an early start-up, and work a set number of hours. Bad idea, a true founder understands that you need to give everything to your start-up, time, and energy, and in return, you extract nothing from it until it’s self-sufficient).
- And high energy(A start-up requires working long hours and you don’t want to be putting in the long hours alone and also it gets really demotivating starting a company so feeding off each others energy is great)
The above are things in my rule book and my approach to start-ups and I’m not compromising on that because I learned the hard way. Your values and way of thinking might be different from mine but do make sure that it’s not different from your partner.