Why build a startup at your own pace?

On growing a business at a sustainable pace

Adele Barlow
2 min readFeb 7, 2022
Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

Who says you couldn’t?

Those who define their self-worth by the size of their funding rounds?

Those who tell themselves that if the press didn’t cover it, it’s not a worthwhile venture after all?

Those who think that money is the only valid reason to pursue anything?

From being around so many founders over the years, I’ve noticed that all ‘the voices’ we hear in our head are our perceptions of others’ thoughts.

We have no idea what anyone else actually thinks. And it’s none of our business.

I don’t know anyone else’s deep-seated motivations for building a business at breakneck speed.

All I know is that when I’ve worked at that pace, ‘real life’ tends to blur.

At that speed, all that matters is work.

Friends get forgotten. Birthdays are missed. Dates are postponed. Sleep is elusive.

If you live like that for too long, you end up with a life where eventually, all that matters is work.

Someone else might not understand building a business slowly.

They might think you’re lazy, dumb, weak or not ambitious enough.

Are you scared? It must be fear.

Is it because you’re a woman? Don’t worry; you CAN do it!

It must be because you want kids, right? You can hire a nanny, though.

No, no, no.

I refrain from explaining it to anyone who doesn’t naturally ‘get’ it.

Wanting a sense of meaning beyond work is not a ‘woman’ thing or a ‘family’ thing.

It’s a spiritual thing.

It’s a healthy thing.

It’s a human thing.

It’s a detachment from toxic masculinity.

It’s creating your own definition of success instead of running on someone else’s treadmill.

It’s building a life instead of an empire.

It’s healthy to expose ourselves to a range of people who define success in wildly different ways.

So that we can inform ourselves into selecting what works for us.

And let go of what we used to think we had to want.

Adele Barlow is a writer and tech startup marketer based in London and Hong Kong. She is the founder of boutique content studio Copy & Co and the author of multiple books. Read her latest writing here.