While I always speak of my foray into the world of being an entrepreneur in positive terms, and indeed this is shaping up to the most exciting thing I’ve ever done professionally, it is also quite *hard*.
Of course I am well prepared to know how hard it is. My father has been an entrepreneur for nearly my whole life, my brother-in-law is an expert as well.
You can guess the obvious stuff like money, stress and long hours and of course I knew those going in. Yet I have been surprised by a few things in my not-quite four months of this.
The old-timey hand car pictured serves as a useful metaphor. I’m on that thing pumping away, moving down the tracks, but as soon as I stop, there’s not much coasting. In a normal 9-5 job at a big company, you can come in late or uninterested and things are already moving along, you just hop on and away you go. Not so in a startup. Determination to keep momentum going is a requirement to be in this game.
Anybody that knows me personally would undoubtedly describe me as even-keeled. Generally I’m not prone to over-worry or over-excitement. Except that now I do have to admit that pulling up TechCrunch, the key blog that tracks our market, drives my anxiety to rare levels. First mover advantage is not a life and death factor for us, but it clearly matters a great deal. So it happens quite frequently that someone will claim to be all the things we aspire to and for a few minutes, mild panic sets in. It only lasts until I continue investigations and determine, in all the cases so far, that there might be elements of similarity, but the differences are key and the blood pressure drops.
Old-timey hand car over there also demonstrates pretty clearly having someone else (or two or three) on that car with you makes all the difference and I’m extremely fortunate to have great partners.