What frustrates you most when building a startup?


I found that this forum is a very encouraging site for people that is building a startup. I can also see based on most of the questions, basically what people are looking for, are words of encouragement instead of definite answers to the question.

So we know that building a startup from the ground up is really tough. There are so many stumbling blocks along the road.

But what is it that really frustrate you the most?

  • Is it not having any fund or investor?
  • Is it not having a clear a idea what we want to create, but having the burning desire to have a startup?
  • Is it not having enough time because you are still working full time and you also have to spend time with your family?
  • Is it not having technical skills?

So what is it? And how do you overcome those challenges? I believe we can encourage each other by sharing how we overcome our most frustrating moments.

Thanks for all your responses. Hopefully we can encourage each other with our experiences.

Getting Started

asked Oct 23 '09 at 16:35
1,342 points

5 Answers


  1. Cash It seems like you're always waiting for it to come in
  2. Time You can't make any more of it and there are dozens of things taking it away from you
  3. Message For me, this is the hardest one: you have a great product that solves a real problem, but somehow, analysts, customers, and partners have trouble seeing it
  4. Sales The customer has the need and accepts the value proposition, but just can't seem to get the PO cut
  5. Employees You have to worry so much about growing your business, and yet you have to remember that your employees have lives and needs, and that you have to tend to them
  6. Distractions As Jason correctly pointed out, entire days go by where you realize that everything you were doing may have been necessary, but isn't moving your business forward
  7. Family You try not to bring work home, but you will. You try not to sacrifice time with the people you love, but you do.
  8. Uncertainty Another good point by Jason. Living every day without knowing where the next dollar is coming from is energizing, but can also be terrifying, to you and your family.

Good question!


answered Oct 25 '09 at 08:10
784 points


So much stuff it's hard to list it all. :-)

  • Lack of time to do everything that needs to be done
  • Total uncertainty about everything, all the time
  • No one knows who you are and it's so hard to change that
  • Customers who are too demanding but don't know it
  • When a key employee or founder isn't working out / leaves unexpectedly
  • Customers who really want to buy but don't have budget
  • You think your idea is good but no one else does
  • Little mundane but necessary things take up the whole day

There more frustrating times than good times, but the good times make up for it.

answered Oct 23 '09 at 17:01
16,231 points
  • Thanks for sharing. How do you overcome all those? – Jpartogi 14 years ago
  • well... each one of those is an essay in itself, no? If I had to say just one thing: It's always overwhelming in all these ways, so don't let that make you think you should give up or that you suck at this. Know that it's normal. – Jason 14 years ago


The biggest one for me is when key members of team lose focus on what they set out to do. This could be an artifact of the different kinds of hats you need to wear as one of the founders.

answered Oct 23 '09 at 23:22
547 points


The small amounts of time I can work on the projects.

All the different things that have to get done.

trying to get something done and providers outside people not getting back to me.

Having so much to do and task-switching seems to make me totally unproductive. This was the most surprising thing to me - I never thought I would feel so useless.

answered Nov 7 '09 at 02:45
Tim J
8,346 points


Biggest distraction is social activities. If you are a bachelor then don't need to worry about that but if you married then you can't avoid social activities and that is big big big distraction for me. That doesn't add any value to startup but sometime frustrates you. I am not anti social but chain of social events is waste of time.

answered Oct 24 '09 at 00:56
Web Thinker
430 points

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Getting Started