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The Glamorous Job of a Start-up CEO – Matt Douglas


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Matt Douglas, Founder and CEO of Punchbowl.com

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The Glamorous Job of a Start-up CEO

The job of a start-up CEO seems pretty glamorous, doesn’t it? You set your own schedule, you have a team of people that work for you, and you can set the rules and culture of your company (did you know that Groundhog Day is an official holiday at my company?) I admit that these are some of the things that I love about being the CEO of Punchbowl.com. But there are other things that aren’t so glamorous.

In any given week, I find myself confronted with a myriad of tasks that no one really likes doing. Here’s a partial list of things that I’ve had to do over the past couple of weeks:

1) We ran out of toilet paper at the office. I had to stop what I was doing to run out and get more
2) Met with broker to renew our property & liability insurance
3) Filled out power of attorney forms for states where we have employees
4) Completed our 2009 Delaware Franchise Tax Form
5) Handled the Verizon guy at our office when he came to deal with our router issues
6) Collected signatures for our Board resolutions and annual report
7) Completed the forms for the renewal of our D&O insurance
8) Took out the garbage, and wiped down the tables

With all of the other responsibilities on my plate on any given day it can be a bummer when I also have to do tasks that pretty much anyone can do. I never imagined that after three years of being the CEO I would still have to worry about whether or not we have enough toilet paper in the office.

Should I ask someone else in the office to go to the store when we run out of toilet paper? Who should I ask? The lead engineer? The marketing manager? Although I’m sure that anyone in the office would be willing to do these tasks, I don’t feel right about asking one of the employees. If they worked at a larger company, they wouldn’t have to worry about these kinds of things. So I don’t ask.

With my first child on the way, I recently reached the conclusion that I needed help. So just this past week, I hired a new person at Punchbowl who will not only help us with marketing tasks but will also have office manager responsibilities. After three years, it’s great having someone in the office who will be able to help me out with some of the paperwork and less glamorous tasks.

Before you think about starting a company, keep in mind that a significant part of the CEO job is doing the tasks that don’t fall under anyone’s umbrella. If it’s not a specific engineering, marketing, customer support, or business development task, chances are that you are going to have to handle it. That’s not something I really understood before starting Punchbowl.com.

So, do you still want to be a start-up CEO?

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©2021 Matt Douglas

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