Tuesday, December 13, 2016

7 Truths About Running a Startup

After two years of running a startup, I reflect back on the journey so far. The past two years has definitely changed me.

I think, if you are running a startup and aren't covered in gray hair, somewhat of an alcoholic or don't appear slightly nuts 99% of the time, I don't trust you.

I recall, when I asked the Co-Founder of an extremely successful startup what his advice for a new business was, he told me ,"Don't do it." At the time, I thought, "What?! Running a business is awesome. It's your baby."

Now, I am starting to understand. That's it precisely. When you're running a business it IS your baby. It's like when you meet someone who has a toddler and they tell you, "Don't have kids!" They love their kids and they wouldn't trade them for the world... but, kids are expensive, stressful and make you crazy.

Running a business isn't all coffee and sweatpants.

In today's blog, I discuss 7 truths about running a startup.

1. You Will Ask Yourself "Should I Keep Going?"
You will go through hell and you will eventually have to ask yourself, "Is this for me? Is it better to quit and get an 8-5 job?" This is the question that I believe all entrepreneurs have to ask at a certain point. You would have benefits and a steady (really good) paycheck. You may even have some job offers or "dream jobs" open up that are tempting to go after.

But, when going to an 8-5 scares the living hell out of you and you know that you don't want to stop- you'll keep going.

2. Nobody is Going to Do it For You
It's not that you would expect others to carry your burdens or "fix" your mistakes. But, there will come times in your business where you will find that the only person you have to depend on is yourself.

If you want to be successful, you are responsible to make that happen.

3. You Will Have to Learn What Schedule is Best for You
One of the biggest benefits of owning your own business is to manage your own day. But, with great privilege comes great responsibility.

If you're like me, you want to get the most productivity out of your schedule. I am always reading articles about the best time of day to do this task/etc.

I was constantly beating myself up because I'm not an early morning person and all successful people get up at 4:30 a.m. blah blah blah.

Finally, I decided to let myself naturally fall into the schedule that works for me. I can sleep in until 7 a.m. and still be successful.

4. You Will Have Highs & Lows
Many entrepreneurs describe the journey as a rollercoaster of highs and lows. I remember being fearful of the "lows" when I would hear those words and thinking that I didn't want to go through them.

But, you will have lows. It's just part of business. Failures are stepping stones on the path to success. You will make mistakes. One of my favorite quotes is, "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish" from Steve Jobs.

5. Work Hard Play Hard
You might spend the morning eating champagne cupcakes from the event last night and watching your show that you DVR'd. But then, the next Friday night you'll spend 8 straight hours trying to figure out an accounting error and not stop except to go to the bathroom.

Sometimes, I feel like Ferris Bueller skipping school during the day and it's awesome. But, other times, I work 16 hours straight and don't see sunlight for 3 days.

6. There IS Crying in Business
So. I worked "corporate" jobs for years and have almost never broke down crying. In tough situations, I at least held it together until I got home.

I always believed that there is no crying in business and felt that I would be weak if I cried in a business setting.

But, now I feel differently. It happens. Running a business is about as personal as you can get. You will go through a lot of emotions and probably lose your cool once in awhile.

7. You Don't Understand it Until You Live It
I always knew that running a business would be hard. I imagined having a million responsibilities and just being crazy busy.

What I didn't understand was the emotions, the challenges, the sacrifices. It's something I don't think you can truly understand it until you live it.

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