How Growing A Software Startup Is Like Climbing Everest

Creating a real SaaS business is more like climbing Everest than doing a hard workout at the gym.

The startup climb is totally possible, but the odds are against you. It takes unusual effort to get through each of the stages and it takes a team to do it.

I try to be encouraging to new SaaS founders and still be realistic about the complex challenges they will face.

It’s the Hero’s Journey: against the odds, the hero-entrepreneur faces huge challenges. When they succeed, the world and the hero are transformed.

This week on my podcast, I interviewed Raution Jaiswal from InsuredMine, a sales CRM and marketing platform for independent insurance agencies in the US.

Raution is enthusiastic and optimistic about his growing company with 60 employees. He’s pushing hard and making progress.

But he has done so many abnormal and difficult things that it’s hard to recommend others do them too:

  •  He grew up in a lower-middle-class family of shopkeepers in Kolkata, India
  •  He moved to the US to start a new life working for large companies
  •  He searched for years for an entrepreneurial opportunity to pursue
  •  He discovered an opportunity deep inside an industry he didn’t know, serving small, local insurance agencies in the US
  •  They built a solution and sold 50 customers before he quit his day job
  •  They haven’t raised any outside funding
  •  He works at transforming himself to be the CEO that is needed for their next stage of growth

All those are possible and figureoutable, but they aren’t very likely or common.

As Raution described it on the podcast:

“For people like me, it has never been easy. You know, I am an immigrant, with English not being my native language. I am selling into a slow-moving industry and my customers are very local and traditional. There was a lot of bias against us and the change we were going after, so to be able to make through is a sign of resilience.

“Nothing is luck. It’s 99% hustle. When you find a No, you just look for an alternative to get a Yes. And we keep doing that to solve the problem and move to the next thing.

“For any entrepreneur, whether it’s an entrepreneur of color or anybody else, you need to know that you don’t have to be the smartest person. You just need to have that kind of resilience—that you are not going to take No as an answer. You just need to find one more way that works after you have tried and failed.”

The success stories of practical founders like Raution are more interesting and meaningful to me than all the made-up stories I see in movies and TV shows.

Check out this Practical Founders Podcast interview with Raution on the Practical Founders Podcast.


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