September 7


Don’t Be A Startup!

When you think of great entrepreneurial role models, who comes to mind?

Probably über wealthy startup founders, CEOs and angel investors who's books on entrepreneurship are hailed as the modern day blueprints to business success.

These entrepreneurship icons often tell us that growth at all costs is key. Get enough early investment capital and you can even operate your business at a loss from the very beginning until you find a way to dominate your market. 

Of the tiny startup minority that finds success (9 out of 10 startups fail), those founders then sell their companies for a multi-million dollar payday, earning their place among the angel investors to begin the cycle anew.

Given that strategy's tiny potential for success, why would you even try to be a startup?

We think it's not only dumb, but dangerous...


Not only is stereotypical startup blueprint a massive gamble, but it's also destructive, insane, and often forces founders to abandon their principles and values in a relentless quest for growth

Listen to this week's podcast episode to find out exactly why we think you shouldn't be a startup — and what to do instead!

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Episode Transcript

What You'll Discover in this Episode:

  • More bad news - if you're trying to build a rapidly growing startup, you're destined to fail.
  • Everything wrong with the "Growth At All Costs" business model that companies like Google and Uber follow as well as why slower growth is actually much more sustainable in long-term.
  • The alternatives: why you're better off creating a value-based, steady-state business.
  • Why making money cannot be your only business goal. Learn how to identify and stick to your values to help make everyone's life better, including yours
  • How Thrive Themes provides external and internal value for their customers, partners and employees.
  • The latest trends and how Tim Ferris and the digital nomad movement seem to have been improving the situation.


Get Off The Google Bus!

Are you trying to model successful growth-at-all-cost startups or leaning towards the steady but value-based business model? What's your experience with chasing money above everything else and building your business as a botostrapper entrepreneur?

Let us know in the comments below!

As always, we want your feedback, questions, tips and stories. You can leave them in the comments section or leave us a voice message by hitting the "Start recording" button below:

See you soon with another episode!

About  Alexandra Kozma

Alexandra is a traveling marketer. When she is not editing podcast episodes or writing blog posts, she's out there exploring a new city. She's the creator of the Morning Mindset daily mindfulness journal.

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  • Did you guys send out an email for this and the previous episode? Because I haven’t received anything, I just saw that there are new episodes of the podcast.


    • Hi Peter,

      I didn’t email for every new episode of the podcast. I assume that most people are using a podcasting app to get new episodes.


  • Well this podcast came in at a perfect time for me, thank you so much for talking about the growth issue.

    I’m at a point where I’m considering getting some money from a bank or from investors to grow the business faster (from 3 to 10 employees). I now think that I should fully boostrap it, even if it takes a few more months.


    • I think that’s an awesome idea, Robin! What’s your business? Just curious…


    • It’s certainly possible to fully bootstrap. However, I wouldn’t categorically discourage someone form taking up a loan. If you get a loan from a bank, the bank doesn’t sit on your company’s board and call the shots. And sometimes, it is a good choice to take on some reasonable, manageable debt to get something off the ground.

      I would be very careful about taking on any private investors, though.


  • I have listened to every single podcast episode. I can certainly see the difference in how Thrive Themes operates compared to “grow at all cost” businesses, and the difference for the customer both in terms of value and perception of the business is dramatic. Thanks for a fantastic discussion about this topic. Fascinating. I like the action-based and philosophical episodes. Sincere gratitude!


    • Thank you for your comment, Mark! I’m glad to know that you can feel this difference in attitude, as one of our customers.


      • Yes, I can certainly taste, feel, and see the difference. (Metaphorically, of course. In other words, it’s obvious to all of us customers.) :)

  • This was a great discussion on a topic that should be heard much more often than it is! And of course, It should be Learned and Followed. So thank you Shane & Matt for bringing this to light. Over the years, I’ve heard this idea discussed from time to time BUT if all of us who read and write these comments would promote this episode to others – it just might make a positive impact. Maybe in your very own community!


    • Thank you for your comment, Randal! Yes, I do believe that it’s really important these ideas are discussed and spread around. We can’t really hope for a top-down solution to this.


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