8 lessons to build a successful start-up

Over ten years of learnings of starting and building multiple companies from the ground up

Adriaan Kolff
9 min readOct 12, 2021

Starting a company is f*cking hard. The hardest thing I have ever done. But also one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.

Three years ago I started MatcHR with my Co-Founder Maarten, a recruitment outsourcing company, based out of Kyiv.

Now 3 years later we are with 30 employees in 12 different countries and we expect to double in size next year.

We never raised any money, didn’t pay ourselves any salary for the first 2 years, lost 70% of our business during COVID and only this year will start to distribute real dividends.

We therefore decided to share our learnings in the form of 8 things to keep in mind when you start a company. We wrote these lessons to help you. Inspire you. And to help you avoid some of the mistakes we made.

1. You have to work your ass off

Building a start up is hard. F*cking hard. As Tony Robbins rightfully said:

“The book, the 4 hour workweek by Tim Ferris, is not a business book, it’s a lifestyle book”.



Adriaan Kolff

Co-founder of MatcHR, investor, entrepreneur. I write about entrepreneurship, recruitment & productivity. Follow me here or on LinkedIn.