Welcome to the town of Entrepreneurs. This is where dreams come true, everyone is working towards a goal. A place where 9-5 regime doesn’t work. This is the town of unicorns, venture capitals and unlimited possibilities. It’s like the sun never sets on the dreamers and doers.
All the offices, pubs, bars, cafes and clubs are full of energetic people, discussing and celebrating their next big idea. This is a place where no dream is too big, no goal too far.
Before you decide to settle down in the town, take a stroll with me. A stroll that will show you it’s not all hunky dory in here. In the dark alley of this town, you’ll see bins full of failed ideas, shattered dreams.
Truth be told, it’s not always sunny in the Entrepreneur Town. I know, because I’ve been there. Let me tell you what happens in those not so sunny days, the rainy days and the dark nights…
There’s No Satisfaction
Yes, you may argue satisfaction kills growth, but dissatisfaction kills happiness. Entrepreneurs celebrate milestones, but there’s always something more to do.
Not being in the moment and making the most of it takes toll eventually. Startup owners keep looking for money. Unicorns look for more funding, the loop never stops.
The clock keeps ticking and entrepreneurs keep planning their next step. Incessant, constant planning, without being happy with how far they’ve come. Focusing only on how far you’ve got to go not only brings motivation, it also invites anxiety.
Now, I am not telling or asking you to be happy with where you are. I know struggles never end for an entrepreneur. But entrepreneurs really need to cut themselves some slack. Take a break once in a while and congratulate yourself for making it this far.
Aim for a big goal, and create small milestones, celebrate each one of them. See from where you started, and how far you’ve come. And whenever the journey becomes overwhelming, just remind yourself why you started.
There’s No Quick Money
There goes another bubble. You keep reading about many startups that gathered a venture capital of hundreds of thousands of dollars. And then you stumble upon startups that acquired millions of dollars in funding.
Then you hear about many startups making huge profits, it’s all so motivating and enthralling, isn’t it?
Soon, you see yourself dreaming and planning how to become the next big player. You create a plan, prepare a presentation, make contacts and start meeting people.
All this only to realize investors aren’t interested in your idea. They don’t find you confident in your idea, they see flaws in your plan.
Moreover, the business plans you set for propelling towards growth also fall flat. Even worse, you don’t even try to do any of it because you’re too afraid to fail.
Fear kills more dreams than failure has.
Go asset light. The times are calling for shared economy business models, follow the trend. These waters don’t run deep and help in gaining a solid traction quite quickly.
Personal Life Goes Haywire
The first thing every entrepreneur prepares himself for is working day in and day out. There are so many people you need to meet. So many meetings to attend, a lot to be discussed over a coffee.
A lot needs to be done on work front. Setting up a business isn’t, and setting it in motion is even harder.
Soon, your friends don’t invite you anymore. You don’t get to spend as much time with family as you’d like to. You’re not ready for a relationship because you can’t afford distractions. It’s all work, and just work. At the end of the day, it’s you, your laptop and emails that are to be sent or to be read.
Startups demand commitment and constant attention. They are clingy and don’t give you space for anything else.
Somewhere in the bin, you’ll see tickets for a movie show an entrepreneur booked but couldn’t go to. He had to meet a VC.
Schedule your day in a way that gives you a good amount of time for yourself. Make time for family, friends and fun. And introspect at the end of everyday, it will help.
The Plans of Mice and Men
About 50% of startups fail in the next four years of their inception. No matter how carefully entrepreneurs device their business plans, predicting everything is just not possible. Even the things they planned may not happen exactly the way they thought they would.
The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, and it is a fixable issue if the man is able to adapt and improvise. And this adaption may also come in ways that you didn’t plan anything for.
Clinging onto the status quo is not recommended in the world of startups and entrepreneurship.
You’ll need to change plan of action, let go of some people even when you don’t want to. Delegation of authority is the most amazing part of startups. But, it’s also the part that haunts the do it all kind of people. People of this kind suffer the most because they wear down a tad too fast and a tad too much.
Instead of considering plans that go awry as failures, consider them as stepping stones, lessons to learn. Failures tell you what didn’t work, use them to analyze what will. And stop romanticizing failures; learn the lesson and forget the chapter. That’s the only way about it.
If you think I’m trying to talk you out, you’re gravely mistaken. I have seen many people launch a business only to realize it couldn’t see the light of the day. I too was among them once. But i didn’t give up. Instead, I found my calling.
The most important lesson I learnt from my experience is to not do everything by myself. If there’s something I want to get done, I just look for people who are good at it. I delegate when needed. What’s the most important lesson you learned in your startup journey?