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Mariah Widman from ActiveGiver
Mariah Widman from ActiveGiver in the GeekWire Startup Day Demo Zone.

At GeekWire Startup Day 2016 last week, the “Demo Zone” featured twenty young companies, all displaying their products and services to the Startup Day audience.

We asked them about the hardest parts of startup life, and representatives from each company weighed in on their biggest challenges. From finding funding, to learning to tell customers no, to juggling motherhood with running a business, here are their answers:

Gloria Folaron, CEO of Leantime: “Wearing tons of different hats. You have to be a generalist, which is hard because we live in a specialist world.” (Leantime was a finalist in the Startup Demo Zone pitch-off competition.)

Gloria Folaron and Casey O'Neill from Leantime
Gloria Folaron and Casey O’Neill from Leantime

Amanda Till, VP of Sales and Marketing at Wyper: “Being poor…You have to be part of the greater good of the company, so you can’t be too greedy with salary.”

Amanda Till from Wyper
Amanda Till from Wyper

Kyle Lien, CEO of SONS Football“The emotional rollercoaster. Sometimes you think the product is great, sometimes you doubt yourself, then someone believes in you and that picks you back up.”

Kyle Lien from SONS Football
Kyle Lien from SONS Football

Dan Bloom, Co-Founder and COO of Slope“Enduring. When everything is working against you and you’ve just gotta survive.” (Slope was the winner of the Startup Day pitch-off event.)

Zachary Rozga, Founder and CEO of Swurveys: “Prioritization. Knowing what you have to do and how fast you can do it so that you can get your product to your customers.”

Zachary Rozga from Swurvey
Zachary Rozga from Swurvey

Bruce Worrall, CEO of IntellaSphere: “Everything takes longer than you anticipate. There are very few overnight successes so you really have to like what you’re doing.”

Parminder Devsi, Founder and CEO of Robodub“Building a solid team of people who share the same vision. When you’re a startup, you have no money, you have no product. All you have is the idea and the people who believe in it.”

Parminder Devsi from Robodub
Parminder Devsi from Robodub

Juan Vegarra, CEO of Viewsay: “Finding the balance to push hard from the BizDev perspective – acquiring enterprise customers as reference accounts while devoting precious developer resources to support customer trials versus advancing the technology to gain more traction.” (Viewsay was a finalist in the Startup Demo Zone pitch-off competition.)

Mariah Widman, Curator at ActiveGiver: “Holding yourself accountable and managing yourself and your time…You are your own carrot and stick.”

Minda Brusse, Co-Founder of Airlift“Choosing the right co-founder who will disagree with you and give you a different perspective, but who is also willing to talk it out.”

Minda Brusse and Sandeep Phake from Airlift

Nicholas Brunelle, Chief Marketing Officer at Bizooku: “Understanding yourself and what you have as a product. Knowing human psychology.”

Nick Brunelle from Bizzoku
Nick Brunelle from Bizooku

Katrina Wisner, Director of Marketing at Faira: “The responsibility. You have to be willing to be a jack of all trades, to do it all, and to do it fast.” (Faira won the People’s Choice Award in the Startup Demo Zone.)

Floyd Ngongo, Founder and CEO of Calentic“Funding and having the money to keep you going.”

Mandy Rossi, Co-Founder of Globespinning: “Getting partners and getting users. Finding those people whose participation will make your business work.”

Irina Menn, CEO of Hopela: “Being a woman. And then being a mom with three kids.”

Brent Suyat, Co-Founder of MONEYfan: “Finding backers. Then, your advertising and outreach.”

Louis Hazim and Brent Suyat from MoneyFAN
Louis Hazim and Brent Suyat from MoneyFAN

Bryan Sesser from Neposmart: “The grind. Working hard and doing it every day.”

Jay Westerdal, Founder and CEO of The Feedback Registry: “Telling customers no. Saying that some requests are not part of our core business.”

Jay Westerdal from the Feedback Registry
Jay Westerdal from the Feedback Registry

Davis Johnson, Director of Business Development from Cartogram: “Showing the differences that your company can offer when there are other companies in the same space.”

Davis Johnson and Will Clausen from Cartogram
Davis Johnson and Will Clausen from Cartogram

Dan Li, Co-Founder and CEO of Guided Fitness: “When the feeling of being in love fades and you have to face the practical realities of running your company.”

Dan Lee from Guided Fitness
Dan Li from Guided Fitness

Editor’s Note: Mandy Rossi of Globespinning is the wife of GeekWire Chief Business Officer Daniel Rossi.

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