Founder Motivation, community & vulnerability

Aka the stuff we pretend we don't struggle with and do

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Hello there!

We’re back with our next edition - and as well as our usual content, we’re also diving into the meaty topic of motivation….

Coming up in this issue…(know how to anchor link these?? PLEASE tell me 🙏)

  1. 📊 Themes for future events

  2. 💪 Motivation, the struggle and potential solutions

  3. The founder motivation survey

  4. 📸 TKS Event re-caps

  5. 📆 Upcoming TKS Events

  6. 🙋‍♀️ Member Shout outs, asks and wins

  7. 🚀 Launches

  8. 🛠️ Resources

  9. 🗽 Events across NYC

However, before we get too heavy, here are the insights from the survey we held asking for your input on topics for future events.

No runaway winner, instead many topics resonated - with marketing, sales, AI and design taking a slight lead.

We’ll be planning future events on these topics in the coming months.

If you’re an expert in any of the above themes, and want to help, get in touch.

Now, to a different topic….

Ever struggle with Motivation?

🙋‍♀️ 🙋‍♀️ 🙋‍♀️ 🙋‍♀️ 🙋‍♀️ 🙋‍♀️ 🙋‍♀️ - That’s a yes from me!!

This subject has come up multiple times in the community the past few weeks. Not only has it become a recurring theme, but its one that hasn’t been spoken about much previously 🤔

Firstly - thank you to everyone for being vulnerable and sharing what was going on in your head, and secondly, thank you for reminding others (myself included), that we are not alone in feeling this way. 🙏

Typically across the startup scene you hear things like “no grit, no success." ie unless you can motivate yourself all the time, you’re not a “real” entrepreneur, and won’t “make it” 🤦‍♀️

However, few people talk openly about the struggles around this.

My view:

Given we’re human with lives 😱 - very few people can be motivated 100% of the time. Instead, my guess is that most just haven’t been talking about their struggles, or tactics they use to stay on, and get back on track?

Startups don’t build themselves. You, the founder have to create something from scratch. You’re battling your own fears, finding customers, resources - hearing “no” a million times, and you are still expected to stay motivated despite the odds being against you.

Why do i think motivation is coming up in conversation now?

  1. It was a struggle all along, we just didn’t feel able to talk about it.

    I very much hope that being a member of TKS provides our members a space they feel safe and comfortable enough to share what’s on their mind. 🙏

  2. It’s taking longer to make money / receive funding. With money tighter, we’re still working away, but the time it takes to close a client, or a funding round has significantly increased. (ie we are working without money, or with less money for longer).

  3. The feedback loop has slowed. Stakeholders - be they customers or investors etc are taking longer to decide whether to commit. So we don’t know if what we are doing is working / worth continuing.

  4. Motivation can decline if we are afraid. We don’t want to make a “wrong decision”. We look for more data points - for that “perfect” answer, perfect “time”, but that doesn’t exist either!

  5. Your building because you “can”, not because you “love it”

    If you are doing something for the sake of it, that is a big red flag to me. It doesnt mean you can’t succeed, but if you are working on a problem you care deeply about - its a hell of a lot easier.

  6. You are building in a vacuum. “Their enthusiam was contagious”. Does that sound familiar? If you are working with someone else, their energy often rubs off on the people around them (especially useful when issues like those listed above present themselves). But as a solo founder, you lose out on that. Furthermore, who do you brainstorm with?

Motivation, and the lack thereof, is a far more complex topic - and one that i don’t think we talk about enough.

Potential Solutions

Despite there not being an easy solution, there are plenty of things you can do to help keep you moving forward. The following is a list of ideas i’ve seen work for others, and me. Finger’s crossed some are useful.

  1. Share what’s on your mind. Speak to those you trust (that could be members of a community - like TKS, but it could just as easily be a friend / loved one. Even talking out loud can help)- ie admitting where you are struggling, and allowing others to support you. This can really help get it out of your head and open yourself up to new ideas.

  2. Learn from the failure of others. Hear stories from other founders about how they handled failure, overcame adversity and just kept putting one foot in front of the other.

  3. Contact people (eg on Linkedin) you admire, and who have the motivation you aspire to reach. It doesn't have to just be founders; anyone you follow and want to learn from can be beneficial. People appreciate being asked for advice, and these conversations can lead to informal mentors or advisors for your company.

  4. Set yourself a goal / milestone and hold yourself accountable.

    • Set yourself a deadline ie publishing a blog post every Wednesday

    • Arrange an investor meeting to force you to complete your deck / MVP.

    • Use techniques like the pomodoro effect in this too. ie setting a timer to work for xx minutes, before taking a break.

  5. Use the FIVE Second rule. A personal favourite.

    You count down from five to one, and like a space ship launching - take action on the “one”.

    This works with everything from simply getting out of bed, to making “that call” to saying “yes” and so much more

  6. Find an accountability partner. They’ll help keep you honest, and, moving forward.

    • A fellow founder who is struggling too? Don’t have one? You can always post about it on our Slack group.

    • Join an accelerator. The regular programming, and regular touch points can help move things forward very quickly.

  7. Meet in-person. You can’t beat the strength of in-person communities. This could be for a 1:1 coffee, or a smaller group get together. Just somewhere you can hear others talk, breakdown those problems holding you back and make new contacts. As cliched as it might sound, the energy from others, will rub off on you as well.

  8. Read. And learn from others.

    Books like Grit by Angel Duckworth, and Atomic Habits by James Clear are widely regarded.

  9. Perfect does not exist. There is no “perfect time”, “perfect solution”, “perfect insight” to launch / expand / grow. So get out of your own way (this is where vocalising your concerns with others can help). It will help you realise that, in nearly every situation the risks from taking action are incredibly low - so in the words of Nike “Just do it”!!!!

So, as a re-cap. When in doubt, and you are stuck / getting in your own way.

  1. Revisit this email

  2. Speak to, and learn from others

  3. Ask yourself “What’s the worst that can happen”?

If you don’t take action, the status quo will remain. Trying something new may just help you leapfrog and get you out on the other side.

What do you think about founder motivation?

Are you full steam ahead, or is it a daily struggle? We’d love to hear your thoughts, and tips on how to make it a little bit easier.

Take our anonymous survey, and let’s help more founders.

Wow - that was heavy. But I thought it was important to talk about it - a bit like addressing the elephant in the room. Together we can make things that little bit easier.


​Founder, The Knowledge Shop

ps - changing subjects entirely, I am VERY excited to introduce Skylar Lewandowski 👋

📣 Skylar has been a member of the community for a while, but has also very kindly raised her had to help out with the newsletter. (in addition to building two startups, and squeezing in her Volleyball playing) 🏐. Expect a proper intro next time, but in the meantime, look out for her name popping up more on Slack and WhatsApp.

📸 Event Re-Cap 📸

July 20th, was another amazing coworking day. 🏆

Thanks again to our incredible hosts Gaseteria Works ❤️, and our visiting experts Vasileios M. Stoidis and Shenal Harakh who so kindly donated their time to provide 1:1 office hours! 🏣

Shenal and Vasileios answered questions on everything from startup building and gtm strategy, to no-code and business optimisation. 💪

🤖We even had a surprise session on #Aivoice (complete with guest appearances from Barack Obama and Elon Musk - IYKYK), and discussion around how to use it as a profit centre - thank you Jonathan Baillie Strong

🍹 We ended the day on a real high, with the #Gaseteriaworks team putting on an amazing tiki-themed happy hour too. 🌼

📆 TKS Events 📆

🧑‍💻 Coworking days. (includes office hours with startup experts)

  • Aug 9th - Hiring virtual assistants and remote team members

  • Sept 20th - Fundraising / Storytelling

🥂 Happy Hour - August 9th (after coworking)

☕️ Coffee Huddles - July 28th, Aug 18th & Sept 15 (small group sessions)

🙋‍♀️ Member Shout Outs, Asks & Wins 🙋‍♀️

​​👋 So excited to be a part of this community. I’m Sujay, the Cofounder of Lilu. A women’s health company building tech-enabled products to make postpartum care more comfortable, efficient and pain-free.

🙋‍♀️ “Hi TKS community, it’s Sherry here! I’m doing research to validate an idea I’m working on around elder care and specifically home healthcare. If anyone in this group has an aging parent who has a home health aide I would love to connect to learn more about their experiences with finding them. Please connect with me if you would be open to help”

🚀 Mauro and his partner launched Wrapsly ❤️. Design forward sustainable food packaging. They offered free products to the community, in return for testing them out. Mine arrived, and wow. Gorgeous colours and designs, and great at sealing round anything in the fridge 💪

🚀 Startup Launches 🚀

Massive congratulations go to…

Baatr, helping startup founders get monthly subscription-based investment.

Founder - Rahul Ghosh

Set up // NYC Dating. Tell them who you are into, and when you’re free, and they’ll set you up on a date in a cool spot.

Contact them for a special code to skip the waitlist + get a discount.

Founder - Nandini Mullaji

Spruzed, the vintage furniture rental marketplace.

We make furniture from the past accessible to use in the present - so you can recreate a vibey look at home.

Dextego, helping you develop the crucial soft skills required for the future of work - through the power of AI.

🛠️ Resources 🛠️

​🇺🇸 For Founders hiring in the US. A new rule now allows for hiring requirements to be done remotely (finally!).

💻 AI Tool alert, Briefly summarises meeting notes / action items etc.

🎥 Using AI to repurpose webinar content for.... blogs, twitter, even youtube shorts!

🎤 AI tools for pitch deck creation, business plan writing, idea validation….

🗽 Other Events across NYC 🗽

July 27th,

No Stupid AI Questions. 6pm, Manhattan.

A space for experts and beginners alike - to ask anything about artificial intelligence without fear of judgment or jargon. RSVP

Balancing Marketplaces. 8.30pm, Online.  

Contrary Research, DoorDash, GoPuff and Faire. RSVP

28th July

Pitch & Walk. 8am, Manhattan.

Where founders, investors, & operators connect in a fun way via walking (or hot girl walking). RSVP

Small Group Coffee Huddle (TKS). 10am, Manhattan.

A chance to brainstorm with the group, and dig into / solve current challenges. So if you like a lie-in, or are coming from a different event, this one's for you. Priority for TKS Slack / WhatsApp members. RSVP

Becoming an Entrepreneur. 6.30pm. Manhattan.

Hear from founders who have successfully made the leap from employee to entrepreneur from B2B, B2C, and Personal Branding! RSVP

1st Aug, 

Immigrant and Foreign Founders Happy Hour. 5pm. Manhattan.

Enjoy a summer happy hour with immigrant and international startup and business founders. RSVP

2nd Aug

Make It in Brooklyn Pitch Contest - AI Tech for Good. 6pm, Brooklyn

Bringing together a top selection of Brooklyn-based startups that are applying innovative AI technology to serve humankind and the environment. RSVP

9th Aug

Coworking Day - hiring virtual assistants. (TKS) 9.30am, Manhattan.

Work alongside and network with fellow entrepreneurs in a fun, yet professional environment, then learn all about how to delegate using Virtual assistants. RSVP 

Founder Happy Hour. (TKS) 5.00pm, Manhattan.

Includes personalised intro’s to boost your networking. RSVP

20th Sept

Fundraising / Storytelling Coworking Day. 9.30am, Manhattan.

Join the team from Power to Pitch, to hear how to focus your messaging, and receive 1:1 fundraising advice. RSVP

​See you on Aug 9th (which is also National Coworking Day).....

RSVP: Coworking Day