Being a single founder with a speech impediment

I’ve been working on Commando.io full-time for the last six months. I’ve put everything I have into the company. My life savings (twice over), waves of constant stress, and declined lucrative offers at other bay area startups. Commando.io is my lifes work. I truly love working on it.

I’ve had a speech impediment (stutter) ever since I was in grade school. In casual conversation I am usually fine, in-fact when I tell people I have a stutter they are usually surprised. Until recently it has been a complete non-factor with my startup because I’ve been able to communicate all electronically. I consider myself to have decent marketing and design chops in addition to an engineering background. I’ve been able to grow Commando.io to thousands of users and started making revenue this month.

However, lately I’ve been taking meetings with investors, doing phone calls with potential enterprise deals, and going to meetups and social events to recruit and spread the word about us. My speech impediment get’s noticeably worse when I am talking about my startup or pitching to investors. In fact, there have been times where the majority of the meeting was spent stuttering instead of pitching or selling. I’ve noticed the amount of stress and anxiety I have is directly proportional to the amount that I stutter. For whatever reason, phone and video calls are the worst. It is supremely frustrating to have all the answers, know the vision and strategy for the company, but not be able to articulate the words out of my mouth. I feel like I am at a disadvantage compared to all other founders when speaking.

Are there any other founders out there with a speech impediment? What are some strategies to help when pitching to investors or doing phone calls with potential customers? When I was younger I went to a speech therapist, which seemed to help, but now I can’t devote the hours and frankly the costs.

Thanks.

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