Suzanne Ley, formerly Head of Financial Institutions, Westpac, said, “I regularly tell people in transition to allocate some of their search time (~10-20%) to something that they have always wanted to do but may have been afraid to do or think is not ready for prime time. Many people will need to work for money now, but you never know what that small amount of time on your idea could result in over some period, and it may just give you the energy/motivation to live in the real world (and do the adulting thing like make money).”
Patrick Sullivan, CEO, Bonsai said, “Building a company is a slog, and often founders don’t allocate time to take care of yourself. When you have a chance, I really recommend you step back and make sure that you’re in good shape to take on your next challenge.”
Some options in education for founders:
- Now is a perfect opportunity to further your education, e.g., learn how to serve as a board director. Columbia Business School’s Executive Ed program offers an expansive library of free, on-demand webinars. Reforge offers Career Accelerator Programs for experienced tech professionals in product, marketing, data, design, and engineering. Fast Track is a mentorship program for First Round Capital team members, now open more broadly. Many universities have special free programs for alums. For more ideas, see Alternatives to College: Get Paid to Learn.
- Join a university Accelerator/Entrepreneurship Center as a mentor, EIR, and/or guest lecturer. Many universities now have programs like this, and most are glad to work with people who didn’t happen to graduate from their particular program.
- Reflection. One founder emphasized the importance of taking time to reflect on your long term goals: “From my time building my startup, things moved so quickly that there was little time to think longer-term about what motivates you, what stage(s) of the company you enjoyed the most, what working dynamics do you thrive in, what really did you learn after years on the grind. That amount of reflection I find is important to finding the next longer-term opportunity, as opposed to hopping into something just to keep yourself busy (since we are so used to going 100mph 7 days a week).”