Fail Fast With Friends: Introducing the FFA Founder Challenge


There’s a trend we’ve noticed among the grittiest founders: once they fall in love with an idea, they become determined and refuse to ever admit defeat. Normally this is the stuff of success stories. But there’s a troubling side to it too – founders that keep going, working on it slowly for years, without ever making sufficient progress to make a living out of it, and without ever having enough evidence that it’s time to move on to something else.

This is something I’ve done myself. It took me almost a year to shut down my first company even though it had no traction. I made incremental progress and kept working on product, rather than testing whether customers were willing to pay for my product at all. And while there’s nothing wrong with going slowly, this kind of incremental progress doesn’t demonstrate the kind of velocity investors get excited about funding. More importantly, it can also mask real product-market fit issues that might hinder a company from succeeding at all.

The trick to entrepreneurship is not to avoid failure – it’s to use failure as your teacher. That’s why the best path to business building is to continually test, fail, and repeat.

The talented team at Pioneer Square Labs (PSL) are experts at testing business ideas. PSL is  a startup studio that has spun out 15 companies in 4 years. What you can’t tell from the outside is that for every idea that makes it out of PSL, another nine are tested and killed. PSL have developed a methodology to quickly and efficiently determine what ideas are worth doubling down on. And thanks to our new partnership, they’re going to show us how.

This September, we are excited to kick off the FFA Founder Challenge, powered by PSL: a 30-day open challenge to put your ideas to the test. Starting September 3, we invite all entrepreneurs to commit to testing an idea with real customers, quickly, and in a significant way. You can do this completely on your own. Or you can sign up to take advantage of all the content, time and resources that FFA and PSL are offering through the month, free of charge, open to all. 

At the end of 30 days, if your hypothesis is correct, we hope you’ll commit to doubling down. But if your hypothesis is wrong, we hope you’ll commit to moving on, making a change, or trying something new. And while failing sucks, it sucks a lot less when you’re not failing alone. You’ve got all of us at FFA, the team at PSL, and your community rooting for you.

The #FFAFounderChallenge is open to everyone – all genders, all stages, all geographies. To participate, submit your email so you’ll have access to exclusive workshops by the PSL team, and an opportunity to pick their brain during office hours. We’ll also share tips, tricks and stories to keep you motivated along the way, and we’ll root for you across our social channels under the hashtag #FFAFounderChallenge.

So, founders: Are you in? Click here to sign up!

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Q&A

How does the #FFAFounderChallenge work?

This is an open challenge that any entrepreneur can participate in independently. All you have to do is decide what business idea you want to put to the test with real customers, and run the test for 30 days starting September 3rd. If you submit your email, FFA and PSL will support you in this challenge by offering workshops, written content, and open office hours, all of which you can partake in at no charge. 

Who can participate?

Anyone can. It’s completely open. 

How do I get involved?

Submit your email to access content, workshops and office hours.

How much does this cost?

There is no cost to participate.

Do you have any guidelines on what to test and how?

Yes. Sign up with your email to get help on this topic.

Will anyone find out if I fail?

Not unless you decide to tell them.

Will you amplify my company?

Absolutely. Use the hashtag #FFAFounderChallenge on social media and we will amplify your progress.

Can my company co-sponsor this challenge?

Unfortunately no. But you can sponsor the next one. Email us at team@femalefounders.org for opportunities.