Today I had a great conversation with an Atlanta founder. He casually mentioned that he was calling from Africa. We were talking for the first time so I could learn more about his business, and this caught me off guard. After I heard his story, it made sense. He’s passionate about a space and created a startup to capitalize on an opportunity he saw. After a few months, through networking he realized there’s a huge problem in Africa that his startup experience qualifies him to solve. He immediately flew over to learn more and establish local relationships. The opportunity was much bigger than he had thought, and he decided to stay and build his company and team in Africa. He comes back to the United States periodically but spends significant time in Africa. The company has grown ten-fold since early 2020, has more than fifty employees, and is still hiring. By all accounts, it’s very successful.
This entrepreneur took a huge leap of faith. He moved to a different continent to tackle a big problem and has built a massive company. I’m pretty sure that when he first went to Africa, people close to him couldn’t make sense of it. They didn’t understand why he would take the huge risk of going to a foreign place. Fast-forward to today: his company is thriving and his decision looks perfectly logical.
Founders have vision. They see things others can’t. Sometimes turning that vision into reality means making decisions that others won’t understand. Even if you don’t move to another continent, your decisions will often go against the grain when you make them. If you’re passionate about something and you see an opportunity that other people don’t seem to, don’t be afraid to make tough decisions. People won’t “get it” now, but they will when they’re celebrating with you at the finish line.