Focus More On Personal Development Than Developing Your Startup

Joel Cascoigne, founder of the online startup Buffer, recently shared some wisdom on his personal blog,, (which may very well be the absolute coolest personal blog URL I have ever read, btw), as to why it is so important to focus even more on yourself than you do on your job or startup.



Joel gives the following reasons why personal development is so important:



1. It will usually take a few tries

It will normally take several attempts and a good bit of time before you start to have some startup success. For this reason, it may be unwise to “put all your eggs in the ‘current startup’ basket.” Rather than always working, try to always be working on yourself.


2) Be open and build your network

While working on his previous startup, Joel consistently shared his progress through Twitter, Facebook, and blogging.  He found this “surprisingly helpful” when he started Buffer; initial traction to Buffer was driven in part by those who had been following his learnings with his previous startup (1,700 on Twitter). Constantly building your network can both provide a ‘launchpad’ effect as well as lend credibility for making new connections (now more than 6,500 on Twitter).


3) Include activities to improve all aspects of yourself

In order to increase chances of success, it is important to remember these aspects as well:


Coding and technical skills: This remains increasingly relevant, as highlighted by Andrew Chen’s concept of a “growth hacker,” one who is both a marketer and an engineer.



Marketing and blogging: It is critical to make yourself known, and these two will help teach you clear communication and how to sell your startup to the media.


Exercise and take care of your body: Regular sleep and exercise generally translate into increased happiness, enthusiasm, and productivity.


Speaking and mentoring: Good public speaking is a great confidence booster. Helping other startups in their processes can teach you new things, give new perspective, and introduce you to smart people.



With startups, separating life and work can be difficult.  Therefore, as Joel concludes, “why not work on yourself just like you do on your startup?” It is as important to schedule time not to work on your startup as it is to plan time to work on the startup. By continually improving and expanding your skills, you will be in an even better position as time goes on, whether or not this one works out.


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