Founding a company has it’s benefits. Among them are such things as setting your own schedule, unlimited financial upside and choosing who will be working along side you.
But starting your own company can also be tough, at times it can be excruciating and quite exhausting to even the strongest of souls. Sometimes we need to step back and look at the big picture to fully understand the position in which we are currently sitting.
Darwin was right
The name of the entrepreneurial game is survival. If this is your first startup, hold on because you are in for a wild ride. Most don’t work out the first time around and with startup success rates at only about 5% or 10% your chance of hitting it big the first time is quite small.
That’s ok. Consider it like spring training. Go through the motions and learn the proper techniques. Take the grounders and throw them to first. Trust me, some will go right under your mit and through your legs. You will curse and throw your mit to the ground in frustration.
No worries. After a while you will get the hang of it and it will start to feel normal.
Your first startup experience is solid training ground for your next startup experience. Armed with the lessons of the first go around (trust me, you will have a ton) you will then be able to start your next company, wiser and with a better grip of how it all works.
Survival is all about doing whatever it takes to simply live to see another day. You never know what can happen tomorrow or who will approach you with awesome opportunities. If you keep with it long enough someone – probably someone you least expect – will discover your skills and talents and want you to join them in some way.
As you might know, we have slowed down the operation of Seconds and placed it on cruise control so now our minds and our talents are freed up to work on other projects. I cannot tell you how many people have recently approached me with startup ideas, opportunities to join them as another founder, or to work with their team on a part time basis.
Gratefully, I was able to take (a few) up on their offers and I’m now in a less stressful position, helping them with their businesses, giving me some much needed income and providing me a clearer view of my future than 6 months ago. It’s all due to the fact that I got up each day – even when I really didn’t want to – pushed through the “crap” and proved I am worth every penny someone would choose to pay me.
The Law of Compounding Goodness
If this is your first venture into the world of business then you probably lack a solid reputation. Unfortunately this is one of the reasons things are so tough right out of the gate. There’s just not enough data to back up YOU and your story to others.
But don’t worry, the more you do the easier things get.
After you accomplish one or two things notable and positive in the industry the law of compounding kicks in. What is the Law of Compounding Goodness? It’s simply your quick referenced resume people will remember you by. You will be known as “the creator of X” or “the person who did Y”, which then gives you credibility in the greater startup community. They now have positive data to help them make a decision about you and your potential.
The great thing is you don’t have to have a billion exit to Facebook for the Law of Compounding Goodness to work for you. Anything notable or worth remembering will set the foundation for you to build your reputation and your career, helping you stair-step your way higher on the food chain in the startup community.
Why not be a leader and organize a meetup and market it to the greater community? You will be noticed.
Start writing a blog and submitting guest posts to a regional or national media source that have clout in the industry. You will be noticed.
Heck, write a book on a relevant subject. Trust me, you will be noticed. You will then have a lot easier time attracting talent and capital for whatever endeavor is next on your agenda.
Consider the alternative
Andrew Chen recently posted to the graduating college seniors about the nature of a job vs building your own future. He quickly cuts to the chase by simply saying – Jobs suck.
And I agree. A job is really just slaving away, trading hours for dollars and a small attempt to stay afloat. Yeah, you might land a solid 6 figure salary as an engineer in your twenties. But what happens when you are 35 or 40? Better have an idea of what your life will look like when you aren’t a rock star programmer in their fly-by-the-seat 20’s.
And even if you try to work on a side project during nights and weekends, it still sucks. Why? Well, if you have a family or a significant other in your life you are definitely cutting into the precious time you have to spend with them. There’s only 24 hours in a day you know.
If you are going to have a job and work in a side project make sure you invest that time wisely and know that it is temporary, meaning at some point in the near future you have created enough money or secured enough capital to go full time in your own company so you can quit the day job.
Full time entrepreneurship is so much more fulfilling – regardless of salary and benefits. You are pursuing your dream of creating your own company and in the process creating your own future. Yes, entrepreneurship is tough and it’s not for everyone. I should know, I’ve been through more than I would wish on most people. But fighting tooth and nail for every inch is the trade off for your personal and professional freedom.
I’ll take that any day of the week.
So, remember these thoughts when you are lying there in bed on a day where you don’t feel like even getting up. Just survive and live to see another day, you never know who or what will walk (or email) into your life.