How Practical Founders Learn To Stop Chasing The “Unicorn-Scale” Dream

Starting and growing a software company is always hard.

Often your company takes over your whole life, at least for a while. Sometimes for a lot longer.

Many founders go “all in” and sacrifice all of their time, their health, their families, and their relationships to build and grow their companies.

Especially founders who have big investors with high expectations.

If you have big investors, you can’t just slow it down to make it more manageable for you and your team—ever.

Founder Melissa Kwan was all-in for 10 years building an app development agency, then her first SaaS software business.

When she started her second SaaS business, eWebinar, she designed this business around her “non-negotiables”—her hard requirements.

She finally realized she wanted to have a successful software company AND the life she wanted at the same time.

Melissa describes her big realization on the Practical Founders Podcast this week:

“It took me a long time to figure out what my idea of success is. Because from my days of being in New York and thinking that I needed more, thinking I needed to be TechCrunch worthy,” she says.

“I thought I wanted the $100 Million Exit or whatever it might be, but it took me a long time to realize I’m not willing to make those sacrifices to build that kind of a company coming into my current business.

“Then I asked myself, How do I define success and what actually makes me happy?

“And I realized from traveling in the past few years that there are so many things outside of work that I value that have nothing to do with my job. Things like friends, community, music, parties, and spending time with my family. My job is something that I know how to do and it makes all those other things possible.”

She makes great software that serves her happy customers.

She designed her business to serve herself and her co-founder.

Melissa was in Amsterdam the first time we talked, in Vietnam the next time, and she recorded this podcast interview in Singapore. Now she’s working from Bali for a few weeks.

There are so many ways to be a successful practical founder on your terms.

Infinite ways, depending on how YOU define success.

Check out Melissa’s story and hear how it’s going now on the Practical Founders Podcast at practicalfounders dot com. Or click the link to the podcast episode in the comments below.


Get the weekly Practical Founders email and podcast update.

Share Practical Founders


Win the Startup Game Without VC Funding

Learn how all 75 founders on the Practical Founders Podcast created an average founder equity value of $50 million.