Founder coach Steve August



Are you crushing it? Or is it crushing you?

You’ve created something amazing. Something the world has said yes to in a big way. Investors back your vision. Customers are intrigued with your offering. You look around and somehow you’ve taken something from a spark of an idea to a growing company.

But with all of this growth, you’ve got new challenges. Things that were pretty easy in the early days have suddenly gotten a lot harder.

You’ve got a bigger team.
You may have investors and a board. You are making bigger decisions with more expectations and more pressure to grow faster.

You’ve never led something like this and you’re learning on the fly.

At heart, you are a creative and a visionary not a business operator.

Some days you realize you are over your skis and hope no-one notices. You’re reading book after book to come up to speed on leading a business at scale.

But it’s hard to get a handle on everything. Issues pop up like an unrelenting game of whack-a-mole. An HR issue. A product or service fail. An ongoing problem with a key team member. A tough sales quarter.

The things that worked in the earlier days are not scaling. Grinding long hours and putting the rest of your life on the back-burner has got you nearing burn-out and wondering how anybody does this.


Yet, you see other Founders leading their fast-growing companies, and they seem to have it figured out.

Everything seems simple and clear.

They’ve nailed their customer growth models.

Their management team is firing on all cylinders.

They execute consistently, even in the face of challenges

They excel at driving accountability and growing leaders within their companies.

And in the the midst of all this, these Founders seem centered and grounded. They are able to to zoom out and think strategically instead of being in the weeds all the time.

They have  time and space to take care of their physical and mental health – without neglecting the key relationships in their lives.

How do they do it?

Here’s the secret: They’ve made the transformation from founder to Rocket Ship CEO.


How do they do make that happen?

You probably have the title of Founder or (Co-Founder) and CEO. The reality is they are two different jobs. You get to be a Founder just by starting something.

But becoming a CEO, and better yet, a Rocket Ship CEO, requires that you transform as your company grows.

When you are in the midst of it, when you are grinding long hours and fighting fires, it can feel really fuzzy and daunting, especially for a first-time founder.

How do you become the CEO your company needs when you’ve never done it before?

You just need to know the rules.

I know because I’ve been there. When I was a first-time founder, I suffered many painful lessons as I led my company from idea to multimillion dollar exit.

Along the way, I relentlessly tried to come up the CEO curve. I read book after book, I had a coach, and even though I succeeded, I made mistake after mistake that drove me to the edge of burnout and failure.

After nearly two decades of leading, studying, and coaching Rocket Ship companies and founders, I’ve developed a system for helping founders optimize their companies and themselves.

This system is not abstract or theoretical. It is based on hard-won lessons from being in the Founder seat.

It is pragmatic and immediately applicable to wherever you are right now. This is the MBA I wish I had when I was a first-time founder. This is the stuff you really need to master to create and guide a Rocket Ship.

Stuff like how to:

  • Create simplicity in every part your company (the key to scaling!)
  • Consistently hire the right people for the right seats.
  • Deal with co-founder issues
  • Master compelling customer journeys to create reliable revenue.
  • Ensure the team is aligned and bought in on the vision, current milestones and the plan
  • Foster a culture of accountability that can execute in the face of even the biggest challenges.
  • Turn uncomfortable HR conversations into positive coaching
  • Actually hold effective meetings
  • Keep yourself whole and healthy in the midst of the roller coaster of leading your business.

I call it the 5 Rules for Rocket Ships.

Embracing the 5 rules will help you transform from Founder to Rocket Ship CEO.

  1. Ruthless Simplicity
  2. Flywheel Customer Creation
  3. Clockwork Execution
  4. Real-Life Leadership
  5. Bigger Game Mindset

The rules sound simple. But actually implementing them requires disrupting your current way of thinking and doing things differently. You have to stop operating like a Founder and start becoming a CEO. It can be almost impossible without a guide who has been there before.

That’s why I’ve created a coaching program to help first-time founders fully embrace and implement these rules – and transform into Rocket Ship CEO’s.



“After working with Steve, we focused the business around my passion for science and geospatial mapping. Not long after, we landed $1M in funding and a large government contract.”

Founder Simularity

I've worked with a number of CEO coaches, Steve is by far the most effective. He is a natural coach and has lived experience as a founder/CEO that is incredibly valuable.

Scott Gallant
Co-founder & CEO,

“We’ve already doubled our first quarter year-over-year and the quarter isn’t even over yet.”

Founder TriggerPoint Design

“I got more out our first session with Steve than I did with other consultants we had worked with for 6 months.”


“Steve came to our organization at, what turned out to be, a critical moment in our company’s history. He not only helped us refine our business strategy on the fly (as part of our quarterly planning), but he also dropped into our operational challenges, including key relationship issues that had recently emerged. Steve is the perfect blend of an entrepreneur (he’s been through the trenches) and a coach. He is a fantastic listener, but is able to call upon relevant frameworks in real-time when working through issues.”

Co-Founder & CEO, Delphia

“Steve’s framework of ruthless simplicity and singularity of focus have been transformational for me as a business owner. His approach has put me on a path of growth in all aspects of my life- business, as a leader and as a person. “

Founder & Director, PDX Executive Forums, Co-Founder thatCast

“Steve is someone who’s been through the trenches and coaches from a place of experience and empathy. Because he’s been in my shoes, Steve is able to help me see things more clearly and walk me toward my own solutions. His approach is both strategic and free-flowing; blunt and kind; advisory and self-discovering.”

Co-Founder & CEO, Engagious

“I felt like a train with the engines and cars all on different tracks – lots of power but not going anywhere.  Just going through one of Steve’s exercises in prioritization I realized a there was a massive amount of stress and anxiety that I didn’t even know I was suffering from at the time. In the first session it was like putting all the engines and the cars of the train on a single track speeding forward! It all just clicked into place. Incredible. I’ve made so much progress because of our sessions it’s mind-blowing.“

Founder & CEO

“Unlike talking to my board, my co-founder or my family, I somehow don’t feel a need to justify my decisions. Instead, I just talked about the decisions I’ve made and what’s keeping me up at night, and a few minutes later Steve has put his finger on that “obvious” burning issue that I didn’t see because I didn’t want to. And then he found a business framework that allowed me to navigate change.”

Co-Founder & CEO

“My co-founder and I were struggling with dividing up our roles & responsibilities. Thanks to Steve’s support, we were able to pinpoint the problem with precision. It’s a much stronger collaboration now.”

Co-Founder Delphia

"Steve cultivates a container allowing me to explore my true feelings about what is happening in my personal life and business while being able to provide tried and tested tools, exercises, and most importantly: experience. It's rare to have a coach who has been in the trenches which makes sessions both comforting and actionable. "

Founder & CEO, MUD/WTR

Steve has the ability to really go deep with his analytical mind, question everything and bring out the best in you, in a very foundational and intellectual way. And on the other side he is very empathetic, humorous, reads and listens between the lines and is willing to ask the questions which lie beneath a superficial logical problem. This combination is why founders of million dollar empires look for his advice.