Richard is the founder of Fathom, they raised $7 million recently, including $1 million from users. They’re recognised as the 6th fastest-growing startup in 2022 by G2. 

In today’s podcast, Richard takes us back to the beginnings of User Voice. 

It was 2008. 

He had built a prototype the year before, had some early users, and raised $35K in angel money. 

With 3 co-founders to support — the investment money didn’t go as far as he thought it would. 

The angel investors were playing a game. 

His girlfriend had broken up with him, leaving him couch-surfing while he found an apartment. 

On top of that, Richard had taken on a second job at another startup to survive while User Voice found its feet. 

Because of the stresses that he felt at this time… until the invitation to this podcast came through, he’d mentally blocked it out of this year from the business timeline. 

It was formative… but painful. 

And led by what Richard reflects on, as “blind optimism”.

Growing Your Business? You Need a Balance of Realism and Conviction 

The one thing that sticks out to Richard from reflecting on this time is the conviction that he held throughout. 

He believed in his product. 

And that belief was strong. 

It helped him to navigate challenges that came his way and find solutions.

Looking back on that year, knowing what he knows now — Richard can look at it with more perspective… and see that he was just living through a startup in its early stages. 

What does this journey look like for start-ups today?

Coming back to 2023, things are looking a little different for founders kick-starting their businesses for the first time. 

Richard reflects on how external influences have shortened the timeline for many founders… when that’s just not how it is. 

People look for instant success, and if it doesn’t work, questions are asked. 

After his experience with User Voice — Richard knows that’s not how it is. 

He talks about the many examples of founders playing the long game, maintaining conviction, and ignoring the noise. And how this approach has worked for him time and time again. 

In today’s episode, he covers 3 main elements that are at play with this approach

  • Understanding what matters in your business
  • Surrounding yourself with the right people
  • Running your own race

Richard’s conviction allows him to take a step back from the overwhelm of success stories and advice that founders constantly run into… and take it with a pinch of salt. 

This distance allows him to continue to do things that he believes in. Not changing because someone else suggested it. 

When you have faith in your business, you see things other people don’t see.