Interview with the start-up founder of included.co

NWB confessional style interviews are made up of 3 questions. They are not self-promoting, or carefully selected quotes to make you sound good.  They are full of useful, actionable insights from experience, not egos. If you like NWB’s style and have something useful to offer, we’d love to interview you. Tweet @nowankybollocks

The interviewee is Hector Kolonas, Founder of included.co.

1. Biggest mistake you made in the last year & how you fixed it?

Focusing too much on the folks who just didn’t “get” what I was building, instead of focusing squarely on those who were using the platform, spending money and advocating for us daily.

From the outside, the startup world appears to be all about coverage, funding, exits and supposed rock star lifestyles. Even though I know this to be untrue, I let being “overlooked” or “not understood” distract me.

By taking a step back, speaking to partners, customers and vendors who loved what we were building, and why we were building it, everything that was important fell back into focus.

By making sure we could create ongoing value for all the businesses connected to our network, our mission became clearer, our messaging simpler and those outsiders now understood why we exist. Some have even become some of our biggest customers, partners and friends.

2. A lightbulb moment

Wasn’t really this year, but has been a topic I’ve continually discussed with so many entrepreneurs, founders and early startup team members. This notion of “always winning” and its utter stupidity.

Amazing humans build great companies, and humans are complex creatures, especially those who dream big, take insane risks and take the road less travelled. All humans have extremely good days, and dark days where we just don’t want to put our trousers on in the morning, and days of different moods scattered in between. This startup “macho culture”, of always appearing to have everything under control, and that you’re unfazed emotionally is not only a facade that creates more suspicion than trust but is also ridiculously unhealthy.

Lately, more and more of these awesome human beings are sharing their struggles with those around them. Be it with fellow coworking space members, or via personal blog posts or quirky things like “No Wanky Bollock” or even just chatting with strangers who are there to listen. The more people who openly share that things aren’t always going too great, the more human we all feel on those toughest of days.

The only thing more heart-warming that having another person hear you out, is being there to hear out another human during their time of need. If you can’t find anyone nearby, or just want to chat with a kind stranger, please reach out to Samaritans via http://www.samaritans.org/ or call 116 123 in the UK.

3.  Tip for tomorrow

Focus on personal well-being! Another trap I fell into was investing ALL of my time and money into growing the business. Whilst this is another misunderstanding of the ‘startup world’, and some investors even push for it, I know that it’s pretty damn pointless building a thriving global business if I’m not around to even see its positive effects on the world.

Whilst not to sound too gloomy, I know I have to carve out a bit of time and money, for myself. For fitness, for relaxing, for reflection, for friends (real friends, not the “so-what’s-your-startup? friends”) and most importantly for family.

Yes, it can look like a huge opportunity cost at the time, but I’m personally terrified of looking back and noticing that whilst building a life, I forgot to actually live it (at least a little bit).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.