What exactly is The Founder’s Curse? Of course, it’s not truly a curse but there is a genuine concept here. One that, for lack of a better description, plagues most founders. As we journey together through Season 4 of Leadership Is Feminine, I want to focus on business mastery. You already have mastery of what…

EP #2

Season 4 Episode 2: The Founder’s Curse


What exactly is The Founder’s Curse? Of course, it’s not truly a curse but there is a genuine concept here. One that, for lack of a better description, plagues most founders.

As we journey together through Season 4 of Leadership Is Feminine, I want to focus on business mastery. You already have mastery of what you do in the world, that is, your subject matter expertise or practitioner expertise. But what about mastery of the necessities of running your business, such as how to lead and manage teams? We can all use more mastery in that area. And one block to building that mastery is overcoming The Founder’s Curse. I want to bring that into the light, discuss it, and help you conquer it.

“For as long as you keep believing that you’re the only one, ultimately, who will ever really know how to make it work, you will remain the only one, who really knows – ever – how to make it work. And you will keep working harder.” – Kris Plachy

What You’ll Learn

  • What is The Founder’s Curse?
  • 3 ways you create delay
    • Reaffirming unproductive habit
    • Usurping
    • Crippling accountability
  • Recognizing you’ve got The Founder’s Curse
  • Overcoming it
  • Learning to leverage the skills, talents and minds of others

Contact Info and Recommended Resources

If you’ve not heard all of the amazing, everyday women I had with me in Season 3 of Leadership Is Feminine, I encourage you to go back and listen to all the episodes. The encouragement, inspiration and wisdom you’ll gain is phenomenal.

Connect with Kris Plachy

Kris Plachy: Hey, gorgeous, how are you? Hey, let’s talk about the founder’s curse today, shall we? Let’s go! Hey, hey, welcome. I’m Kris Plachy. Thank you for tuning in. Welcome to this Leadership is Feminine podcast. And we’re going to be talking about something that I think is very, very important and also sounds very, very important. And that is the “Founder’s Curse.” I feel like there should be some sort of really cool music that goes with that, dun-du-du-dum, the curse of the female founder! I don’t think it’s all that dramatic. But I do think it’s kind of a cool thing to call it, so that’s why I like it.

So, what is the founder’s curse? So, let me remind you, we’re in the season where we’re going to be really talking about mastery, right? The importance of gaining mastery, and what does that even mean. And as an entrepreneur, my guess is you have mastery in the thing that you do in the world. So, if you’re a vet, you have mastery, if you are a hair colorist, you have mastery, if you are a physical therapist, you have mastery, right? But then running the business, leading the business, building the team is maybe where you don’t have mastery.

And that’s, of course, my goal, is to help you get to a place of mastery. Because I know, just as you are right now, if you think about the thing that you do in the world. So if you’re a chiropractor, or you do Facebook ads, or you are an interior designer, or you own an insurance company, whatever it is, I know that you know that within your business as it relates to your subject matter expertise, your practitioner expertise, I know there is nothing that could happen in your business that you wouldn’t be able to handle. Tell me I’m wrong.

What’s the new urban slang? “Tell me where is the lie.” I saw that. I was like, “What does that mean?” I had to look it up in that urban dictionary. Tell me where’s the lie? We know that’s true. We know that if you’re a florist who does weddings, and something happens with the flowers, or the presentation of the flowers or the event day, we know that you know how to handle that. No question. You have gained mastery. And that’s what I want for my clients who work with us through our programs, is mastery, and how to lead and manage teams.

So, I want to cover the founders curse, because the founders curse is a block to mastery. So what is the founders curse? The founder’s curse is a sentence. And the founders first sentence is, “Oh, I can take care of that. Oh, I can do that.” Now, what am I talking about? Now for some of you, you’re already laughing. You already know what I’m talking about. Others, you might need a little help. But I’m going to help you out here.

So, let’s say you are trying to get a project done and someone’s not doing it the way you want it done. And you really just want it to be finished. And you don’t really want to have to ask someone else because you feel kind of guilty giving someone else this work to do and they have a lot on their plate too. So, you say, “Oh, I can do that. Oh, I’ll take care of that.” And you take it back.

Now, in the moment, it feels so innocent and it feels like such the right thing to do, to just, “No, no, no, I got this, I’ll take it. I can take care of that.” But it is a big deal. And it’s a really big deal, because my goal for you, which I want you to have for yourself, so you have to do what I say. My goal for you is that you get out of that. The path to growing your business is actually working less in it. What? Is that true? Yes. Yes. 100% yes. Not 97%, 100.

Why? Because every time you go from working on the business and being the visionary of the business and curating the direction of the business, and you go back into the business, and you do the work that you did three years ago because you don’t like how someone else is doing it but you know you can, you create delay, and you create delay for several reasons. You create delay because it reaffirms that habit for you that you can take care of everything and it’s just easier if I do it myself. Don’t tell me that you don’t think that because I know you do.

You also create delay because you are bypassing or usurping the people/persons, that you have put in a role to do that work, so they’re not improving. And if they’re not capable of delivering, now you’ve also impaired the ability you have to hold them accountable for their results, because you took it over, which will just perpetuate poor results. So, what seems like such a small thing in the moment, like, “I’ll take care of that, I got it, no problem,” is a really big deal, and it is the founder’s curse.

And the reason I call it that is I know that all of us experience it. There is a hazard of being a woman who builds a business from scratch from an idea. So, when that little idea was yours, and you were making bouquets in your garage, or you were building your small CPA practice with one assistant, or you started your food business with your recipes, you learned through moxie, how to make it work. And so you know how to make it work.

And at the end of the day, for as long as you keep believing that you’re the only one, ultimately, who will ever really know how to make it work, you will remain the only one who really knows ever how to make it work. And you will keep working harder, and honestly, now you’re paying other people theoretically to make it less difficult for you. But you’re bypassing that and you say, “Oh, I could do that.”

What does it take to get past that? First, you have to just acknowledge it. Like, we all have to just sort of say, yep, I know. Okay, I do that. I do. I can bear witness to the fact that the founder’s curse is in my business. I have been touched by the founder’s curse on more than one occasion, the belief that I can do that, and the action of taking it.

So, what does it take to move through it? Well, I think it takes a few things. First, I’m going to… I think you need support, I think you need to be able to work with other people that are doing similar things and experience that sort of angst of letting go with support. Because you’re so used to doing everything by yourself so you know how to be alone. I also think you need to know how you need processes, you need practices, you need to know how to delegate, you need to know how to have a conversation when things don’t go the way you want.

You need to know how to figure out if the reason why things aren’t going the way you want is because they can’t do it or because they don’t want to do it. You have to decide that you’re willing to experience some frustration, impatience, maybe a few more mistakes while someone else is learning. You’ve heard the expression, slow down to speed up, we all know that. It’s worth it. It’s worth it to invest in someone who’s demonstrating the proper skills and attitude, who can deliver. It’s worth it. I promise.

Because until you truly tell yourself, okay, I know that the only way for me to advance this business without it killing me is to know how to consistently leverage the skills and talents and minds of others. And that is learnable. And the person who has to learn it is you. The person you invest in is you, that’s all. So, there’s temporary short-term solutions, which will, if you want it to be, will always just be you stepping in and fixing it. Or you can say “go away curse.” We need some sort of…What am I thinking about? Like not a totem but like a thing that you would hold up to a curse. And you’d say, no, and beams of light would come out. Every time you felt compelled to step in and take over, this whole thing would happen in the world. The earth would ramble and the room would shake and the lights would flicker and you would be reminded like, do not succumb to the founder’s curse?

Have you guys thought I’ve lost my mind, by the way? I may have. Anyway, it was fun. I just think we have to…First of all, I love levity, right? Let’s just have some fun here. I’m know how freaking hard this is. I sent a message to my director of OPs yesterday, I was like, “I could not keep going like this. So, listen to me, I get it, Mama, I love you for it. You keep going, but how about cut yourself some slack, and stop being everybody else’s savior?”

So, we have a lot of other things we want to do in the world, let’s make you the priority. How do we do that? We do that by believing your worth it, by believing your business’s worth it. And by believing that if all these other companies on the planet can hire people to get work done, you can, too. Maybe they’re just locked behind a little bit of door that you haven’t opened yet. What about that? What do you think? Huh? Huh? Huh? I think you should think about it.

Never ever, ever forget to go to www.krisplachy.com/howtoceo to check out and see if we have open enrollment, because we may just and you may just want to join me and my team and change your life right now. What if that were possible and we could crouch, eradicate, eliminate the founders curse, and then we could help other women do the same? Who’s with me? Let’s go.

We have a lot of exciting changes coming up here at Kris Plachy Coaching Group. And I don’t want you to miss out. From leaving social media, to offering live interactions only to people on our email list, I want to make sure you don’t miss out. Head on over to www.krisplachy.com and drop your name and email in our little box there. And that way you’ll get all the updates well before everybody else and even updates that nobody else will know about. See you there!

Download Transcript

Looking for Lead Your Team episodes? Click here.

Site By Alchemy + Aim
Photography Danielle Cohen