Amy Lewin: Why HALF of Founders Want to Quit their Startups

“It can be difficult for people to know who they can speak to about it,” says Amy Lewin, of entrepreneurs who are unhappy in their own companies.  Amy is the Editor at Sifted, a media platform focused on Europe’s startup ecosystem and she joins The Conscious Entrepreneur podcast to discuss a survey Sifted recently posed to a number of entrepreneurs, the vast majority of whom reported experiencing poor mental health, high stress and even a strong desire to leave their businesses within the coming year. Though these figures may seem alarming, they merely shed light on common struggles and pressures felt by entrepreneurs which are so often swept under the rug for fear of looking weak or needing to maintain an ultra positive mindset in order to see their businesses succeed. On today’s episode Amy will reveal more of the survey’s findings as well as what venture capitalists (VCs) can do to support entrepreneurs, in whom they, after all, have a vested interest. 

The survey highlights the importance of a community in an entrepreneur’s life. Family and friends share the entrepreneur’s burden, while simultaneously being unable to relate. Professional networks of like-minded contemporaries can go a long way toward making isolated individuals feel heard and connected, as well as ease the mental health stigma. 

Today, Amy shares the common regret shared among most entrepreneurs and why quitting might be the best thing they could do for their careers. 


  • “It was just a real sign of the personal toll—and not just even on the founders, but on their family, on their friends, on their colleagues—just another reminder that building startups is really tough.”  (4:48 | Amy Lewin) 
  • “Whenever we publish stories about that personal side of company building at Sifted, we get the most amazing response. People love knowing that they’re not the only ones. And I think sometimes, startup culture is so much that you’ve got to be optimistic. You’ve got to believe that your company can be the one in 100 that’s going to really make it. You hear from so many people that your idea is never going to work and you have to believe in it yourself and I think when times are really hard it can be difficult for people to know who they can speak to about it.” (6:27 | Amy Lewin) 
  • “That attitude that’s going to be out there from some corners that if you are struggling in any way then you are weak and that you’re not in it for the long term, which I obviously don’t believe, but is obviously what some people still think.”  (13:04 | Amy Lewin)
  • “Encourage founders to go on holiday. Encourage them to have a personal life. These things are important. We all need to recharge our batteries and ‘visionaries do,’ too. There’s that famous saying that comes from the VC world: “I’ve never seen a company go bust because the founder took a week off, but I have seen plenty of companies go bust because the founder didn’t.’”  (18:26 | Amy Lewin and Alex Raymond)


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