Whats up everyone.
Started 3 months ago with a person I considered a buddy of mine (he was reliable, but I never enjoyed hanging out together, because he always likes to teach everybody how to live their lives.). He had a cool idea (e-commerce product) and already secured a friends investment – over 50k. On words, it sounded great, and since I was looking to start my own business – it sounded like a good way to get good and earn some money.
3-months later I realized several things:
A. No clarity: There was never clarity with him. Not in terms of roles we have (he pitched me to be the ‘CEO’ and do the “back-end” of the e-commerce company, but in reality is doing a lot of busywork with no planning. I am not against dirty work though). There are no clear priorities either. Everything needs to be done at the same time, and everything is always an emergency.
3. Don’t worry about it: I understand that the company needs one leader. But, he keeps telling me not to worry about things like finances, logistics or proper planning (“it’s a start up, if you can’t handle multitasking, then I don’t know what to say” ) If confronted with emergencies like logistics (nearly killed me to find a fulfillment company who would take us) – he flips out.
4. Doing things that don’t translate into sales: I feel like he is doing a lot of “busywork” – talking to random people, texting to somebody, coming up with A LOT OF ideas and strategies. Yet, the most important work (in my opinion) like finances, project management, website, logistics – gets shirked constantly. All his focus is on branding (sunk all investor money in the product design/pictures/videos which is again – fine) Whenever we discuss a task – there is nothing concrete there, no deadlines, no details. Everybody in the company complains about the tasks (they are not clear) and everybody ends up redoing their work over and over again. I went through 80 applicants for an internship, interviewed 20, arranged 9 in the office interviews, only to have my co-founder tell me – I don’t like” Indian guys” and we “need hot girls, so they can also sell our stuff on the weekends”. Free internship of course. Didn’t work.
Again this is explained as “it’s a start-up life” – you don’t know anything, so you have to try multiple things at once. Maybe, that is true, but to me things are being done in an extremely messy way.
5. The product itself is GOOD, produced and patented in China, I do believe in the product. We don’t have engineers, we don’t do any tech. We just brand shit from China. I feel like he thinks he is running a tech start up, but this is a small-business e-commerce.
6. MY Contract is still not signed yet. I am not demanding large equity, actually small equity/small profit sharing and then leave the company – every time I mention the contract – there is never enough time, or “if we don’t trust each other, contracts won’t matter”. I still don’t get what I am getting out of the venture – except that I will be “rewarded” because he is “a good person, who doesn’t hold grudges’. Obviously, I have worked for 3 months for free so far.
7. Every time we have a dispute – he talks behind my back to everybody in the coworking space we have. Just found out how much trashing me and whitewashing him was done behind my back.
Now I know there are 2 sides to every coin. It is a new business, we are both not experienced. I honestly tried to do everything his way. But I feel that getting at least something done right, rather than failing at 30 tasks at once.
I already tried to quit amicably: after threats – came guilt-tripping. “How can you do this to a friend. I need you. You promised. Why are you quitting now, we are about to launch”. Why are you being emotional? There is also always ‘mirroring’. No matter what I tell him – he accuses me of the same thing, gets angry, but then offers a peaceful solution – to get back to work.
We did just launch, so I want to stick around for another 2-4 weeks to get something out of it if the thing becomes successful.
I am faced with a choice – either quit cold turkey (losing 3 months and some misc expenses with the business $2000), or try to out manipulate my friend, since me quitting now will not be good for the company, I still have some leverage.
Anybody have a similar experience?