The coldest shower

Cold plunges are all the rage. What do you do if you're a broke founder like me? You go full Mcgyver. Read along if you want one of the cheapest ways to get sub-40-degree Fahrenheit showers. We're talking less than 100 dollars. The setup takes probably 5 minutes (if you include opening packages).

What do you need

Simple as that! 

How does it work?

  1. Fill the 20 liter jug with water.
  2. Put it in the fridge overnight. I moved the bottom shelf up to make space.
  3. When ready for the cold shower, drop the camp shower into the 20-liter jug.
  4. Turn it on.
  5. 🥶

Pros - cheap, portable, less water use, probably less energy use. You can do it in the comfort of your shower. It's perfect for rentals and apartments where you can't have a full plunge and get water everywhere.

Cons - Not as full body. Camp showers are fairly low-pressure, but it gets the job done.

Cold shower results

I started doing this a few weeks ago. First, I tried giant blocks of ice, buying ice, etc., all the normal ways. It was way too time-intensive for me and productized cold plunges are too expensive. . 

I set a timer for 3 minutes. 

The first minute is awful. 

The second minute the calmness starts to hit you.

The third minute is incredible. 

My mood is transformed, with or without caffeine, for hours afterward. It's also helped a lot with inflammation as I do a lot of weight lifting and Jiu-Jitsu.

Other tips & tricks

  • Since I don't have a bathtub faucet, to fill the jug up, I bought a long oil funnel (for cars) and attached it to the shower head. Then I aim it towards the 20-liter jug.

I'll take a video/photos soon to help!

Hobbies are more than hobbies

There's a perception that founders work a lot. From my own personal experience, I'd say that's true. However, that perception turns into pressure and I think a lot of current and up-and-coming founders adopt this idea that hobbies are a waste of time and that they should feel ashamed for doing them. 

I'm referring to hobbies here as anything you even marginally enjoy outside of work. That includes exercise, video games, sports, arts & crafts, etc. These things that fill up our nights and weekends.

When founders start to shun them in favor of more work, their mental and physical well-being often suffers. I see them become more irritated, anxious, and short with their employees, loved ones, and themselves. I see them put on unhealthy weight, look a bit more disheveled, and have trouble sleeping. 

But I think there's another cost that's not being considered: the learnings that we gain from our hobbies.

Hobbies are more than hobbies.

Let me share my own experience to highlight my point. My dad has always been physically fit. In my early teenage years, he allowed me to join the gym with him. It became a habit for me. Sometime in my 20s, I had a friend competing in some unrelated sports competitions, and I decided to put my years of exercise experience to the test in a bodybuilding competition. I hired coaches and got stage-ready over 9 months and wound up taking second place! I was determined to get first place, though, so I spent the next seven years in the gym 4-5 days a week, monitoring my diet daily, and eventually, I took 1st place in a local natural bodybuilding competition.

So, what did I learn from this? Beyond my health and wellness, I learned persistence. I learned that pennies [of effort] add up to dollars. I learned the importance of coaches and preparation. I learned how to be a better founder.

I've since "retired" from bodybuilding competitions, but I still do two days of weight lifting to try and maintain everything I've built. I've also picked up Jiu Jitsu as my new hobby of choice. I have no guilt about spending a few hours a week doing it because I've learned that I'll learn something much deeper than what I initially signed up for. I've learned that these things I learn are usually much more valuable than a few extra hours of unfocused work.

I encourage all founders to enjoy their hobbies to the fullest. Beyond their surface-level benefits, they'll improve you in ways you haven't imagined.

Picking something to grow with

Whenever I find myself procrastinating, I try to reflect.

I've noticed that the majority of the time, I'm procrastinating because I feel a sense of overwhelm and if I dig deep enough, it often stems from a lack of a clear path forward. It's funny, though -- having a clear path forward when building a startup seems like a sentence full of oxymorons. If there were a clear path forward, someone would have already built it or done what I'm about to do. 

In growth, there are well-defined distribution strategies that can work for a business, but that assumes you know which channel to start with and which one is going to be most effective. As I experiment with growth channels, the overwhelm begins when I consider the question: what makes a channel successful? Is it click-through, page views, conversion rate, or retention? With today's analytics tooling, there's an infinite number of things you can capture.

To beat the overwhelm, you need to pick a single thing to grow with.

For example: if you're trying to grow the number of users, you might set a 10% growth percentage weekly. That's it. Now go do it. If you hit it each week - fantastic! If you don't, ask yourself why.

I've found this simple target cuts right through the overwhelming nature of startup growth. It's a forcing function to execute rather than over-strategize.

If you're a b2c product like

  • If you need to get 10% growth and you only have 10 users - you'll message a few friends to try your product

  • If you need to get 10% growth and you have 1,000 users - you'll create some SEO focused articles and expand your social media presence.

  • If you need to get to 10% growth and have 100,000 users, you'll do product-led marketing and create viral content. In addition, the things you did at the 1,000-user mark should continue to pay dividends.

So, how do you pick the thing you will grow with? At a minimum, it should be impactful for your business. For a B2B product, what will move the needle more: the total number of sales leads or the number of signed contracts this week? In the early stages, it's often the metric you're avoiding and the one that feels most difficult. Run towards that feeling. 

Coming up with KPIs, goals, and dashboards feels great, but at the earliest stages of startup growth, 0 multiplied by 0 is still 0. 

I'm not a professional

Something equally exciting and terrifying about building startups is that you have to do a million things you've never done before. 

Even once your start hiring people, there are going to be huge gaps in your team's collective experience since you'll only hire people you need the most. Inevitably, when a gap opens, it's my job as a founder to fill them.

The one I'm attempting to fill now is "growth". If it sounds broad, it's because it is. While I've been successful at a few channels before, being responsible and strategizing for all of them at once is something I haven't. 

For now, these posts are going to be one part accountability journal and one part sharing my learnings as I cross the chasm of startup growth for Deft ( I hope I can make things just a little less terrifying for myself and anyone out there searching for answers.