Qualities You Must Have to Become a Start-Up Co-Founder

Co-founders of start-ups share everything among themselves – good and bad. You can no longer walk away, wash your hands and blame someone else for whatever happens. This makes the co-founding position in a start-up a risky and exciting venture to consider.

Start-up founders are always on a lookout for a partner that shares their goals and knows their way around the playfield. Being that person is an easy or as difficult as pushing a button. Depending on your current skill set and previous experiences, you are or you are not that person – it’s as simple as that. So what are the qualities and skills that a startup co-founder needs to have in order to be hired and deliver on that trust?

Long-term vision

Start-up founders are visionaries. No one wants to invest into people with half-baked ideas and shaky plans that wind up nowhere. In order to be considered a co-founder, you need to connect with the founder’s idea for the start-up in question.

Sit down with the founder and their team or investors and talk through the plans and milestones for the following few years. If you believe that this is a good position for you, try adding something to the already established vision and find your place in it. If you manage to do so, you will quickly be considered a co-founder and become a vital part of the team.

Being a role model

Depending on the job delegation you have at the startup, you or your co-founder will become the go-to person for anything related to coaching. Even though you are not a perfect person, your team and those that follow you will likely perceive you as such.

Try maintaining your cool when talking to your co-workers and act like a professional. You are a reflection of proper behavior and work ethics in your start-up, believe it or not. Your actions will cause the rest of the team to go one way or another with their own ethics and habits – being a role model in this situation is essential to success.


Being self-aware is important in every aspect of life, and it goes twice for being an executive at a small company. Co-founders who are unaware of their own strengths, skills, and contributions will likely drop out as soon as they join. This is due to the fact that they just then realize what they’ve gotten themselves into.

People who don’t handle stress well or who constantly need support to make it through the day are not your average image of a successful startup co-founder. Make sure that you work on your self-awareness and personal development before exploring the idea of becoming a startup co-founder.

Financial mindset

Executives are known for having financial mindsets. Crunching numbers and calculating costs have to come as naturally as having coffee. Take all the time you need to work on your basic accounting and legal skills before you join a startup as a co-founder.

Going into such a huge challenge without any background in finance can lead to devastating consequences for everyone around you. Your small company could sink in a matter of days just for filing wrong paperwork and dealing with the repercussions. Talk to your co-founders and co-workers about their own skills and see if you can fill the gaps in knowledge – not everyone needs to know everything.

Skills and strengths

The skills required from a startup co-founder are slightly different than expected. Startups are known for being free-for-all companies where everyone needs to do a bit of everything. This unavoidably leads to cooperation, learning on the fly and being very flexible, both as a person and as a professional. Check out best websites ratings in order to get an idea about the skillset that most people need in their resumes and cover letters – it will give you some ideas about how to discover your and put them on paper.

Think about the skill set you possess and the ways in which they can help you or become your disadvantage. Being completely honest with yourself and your future partners is the smartest thing to do. If you don’t think that you can contribute to the start-up, it’s often better to look elsewhere for your next big project.


Founders of a start-up are supposed to be stubborn. If you can’t take the pressure of being watched constantly and doing the same thing for the fifth time expecting to succeed this time, then don’t go for it. Co-founders who succeed in making their company break through to the market didn’t do so just by pure luck.

Hard work and sleepless nights wait for people who work in start-ups, and this goes twice as much for founders. If you are prepared to dedicate most of your time to the start-up that you will help shape and bring up then go for it – otherwise it might be wise not to waste anyone’s time by dropping out halfway.

Communication skills

Communication is important, especially for small firms and start-ups that have to rely on close cooperation. Your communication and self-expression skills should be up to the task if you are planning on being a co-founder of a start-up.

Failing to communicate your wishes, orders, suggestions or simply being on the edge with the people you work with will echo throughout the start-up. Companies have been known to fall through the ground because the people in charge of them couldn’t find ways to come across their differences and work things out. Don’t go into a start-up venture based on your gut feeling – talk to the other co-founders and see if you can get along with them beforehand.

Industry knowledge

Whatever niches your startup ends up operating in, you need to know as much as possible and as fast as possible. Being a reliable co-founder is what makes or breaks the firm you are so dedicated to building.

You need to constantly explore the possibilities of partnerships, rivalries between startups, knowing who leads the industry and what potential upgrades and innovations you can bring to the market. Being an industry expert is a must when it comes to raising a start-up. Co-founders are the people with expectations put on their shoulders, and like it or not you have to deliver on them.


Being a solver is what counts the most in a start-up business. Founders are the people with most power when it comes to creating a company that everyone onboard can be proud of. What matters most is being able to overcome difficult situations with ease and quick thinking.

Going through difficult times is always a constant in start-ups, especially before you get your first real breakthrough. Think about your problem-solving skills with your co-founders and look for ways to create backup plans should anything go south.

Future steps

Having a team of co-founders stand firmly in front of a start-up is an ideal picture that you should strive towards. Even though it will be some of the most difficult work you have done in your life, it will also be the most rewarding.

The lessons and obstacles that you go through as a start-up co-founder are some of the wisest and most useful life experiences that you can go through, no matter if your start-up becomes successful or not. If you have any doubts about your personal abilities and contributions, talk to your colleagues and go for it together.

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