While a rewarding journey, you only get out what you put in, and for most, it’s a tough and challenging terrain. So what does starting a business actually mean, and what’s it like to be a business owner? It’s a question I often get asked and my answer usually comes with a harsh reality and doesn’t seem that promising of an endeavour at first look.
Let’s talk about start-ups. The term “start-up” has a few meanings but it’s loosely referred to as one of the earliest stages of a businesses lifecycle. You aren’t meant to stay there forever. It’s important that you, as the founder(s), work your ass off in the beginning of starting a business, but this working method will be extremely taxing on your mental and physical health and it’s far from sustainable. The ultimate goal for most business owners would be to delegate the graft while working “on” the business instead of working “in” the business. Because in order to grow, you need to learn let go (that’s a whole different post we will write about).
On the positive, my secret weapon is strategy. What’s the secret to mitigating the already overwhelming risk? Strategy, because it helps differentiate opportunities from distractions. We know all profit comes from risk, but ideally we want to make educated decisions to reduce that risk as much as possible and increase success. To figure out what’s truly important and abandon what isn’t.
Tell me if this sounds familiar… You rise and grind everyday (and most nights), but the reality is, nobody thinks you’re important, there’s no private drivers waiting to pick you up and most meetings you have should have been phone calls and end up being straight up pointless. But the highs and lows, the financial stress, countless takeaways, sleepless nights, bottles of wine, the rare victories and frequent defeats… starting a business is not for everyone but you keep doing it. It’s your choice. That’s a very important word: choice. A choice that is only carved out by people who put in the time, the sweat and tears.
Freedom of choice is a reward that truly reaps the benefits of hardcore labour.
Most importantly, don’t ever forget why you started because those convictions will at some point, be your only light at the end of the tunnel. This all might sound kind of grim, right? But I truly believe entrepreneurs don’t work for money, they work for freedom and you know what? I think it’s worth it, but not everyone does and that’s why most people reject this path.
So wear all the fucking hats. All of them. Sleep less and worry more. Why? Because if you’re pursuing the right path and truly pushing the boundaries, you know you’re making the world a better place. You’re starting a business people are excited to come to work for… You’ve made a product that improves peoples lives or a service that makes people smile. I have not found anything else more intrinsically rewarding then starting a business, other than the joy of growing a business with an equally passionate business partner (also a rarity).
Call me lucky…. but success is anything but luck.