Editor’s Note: Each week Maynard Webb, former CEO of LiveOps and the former COO of eBay, will offer candid, practical, and sometimes surprising advice to entrepreneurs and founders. To submit a question, write to Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. I sold my company 18 months ago and made a long-term commitment to be here. However, I am feeling some seller’s remorse and really miss running my own company. (All these feelings are probably exacerbated because of the Coronavirus.) I’m questioning what’s next.
–Founder who had a successful exit
I understand, we’re all feeling uneasy in these uncertain times. You are also dealing with something else—what I call “founderitis,” and something that plagues many founders after they sell their companies. In addition to what’s going on with the world and the darkness we are all facing, you’re going through a particularly difficult transition. You were used to making all the decisions and now you feel like you are no longer in charge and are likely following new processes that may involve reporting to other people and can take much longer than you are used to.
A few things I hope you will consider:
- I know it doesn’t feel like it since you sold your company and changed the dynamic you knew, but you are still in control. You can stay or you can leave. It’s your call. There will likely be consequences and you might not like them, but you get to decide what you want to do. You are in charge and you get to call the shots.
- Is there anything you could do at the company that you may love? Maybe there’s another role for you that you could get excited about. Or, do you know what you would want to do if you leave? Is there anything you are excited about doing next?
- Make the company and your new colleagues your allies in helping you figure this out. I know you are not used to having a boss, but your boss doesn’t have to be an enemy. Make them an ally. Let them know you are struggling and ask for help.
- Anchor on what’s next once you’ve decided. A lot of the other stress will go away once you make this decision.
- In addition to getting advice from people like me, don’t be shy about seeking out professional help as needed. It can be invaluable.