Published My First Book: The Agony and Ecstasy of Entrepreneurship

Agony and Ecstacy of Entrepreneurship

I am pleased to announce today we are releasing my first book, published through Hyperink.

It comes in ebook format, with content adapted from posts originating on this blog.  I cover topics ranging from leadership, founding experiences, to dealing with uncertainty and doubt.  Go ahead, don’t be shy… give it a purchase and see what happens next!

It’s called The Agony and Ecstasy of Entrepreneurship. Here’s where you can buy it for only $5.95:

  • Amazon

  • Nook

  • Hyperink

    (includes the book in three popular drm-free formats: pdf, mobi, and epub)

Once upon a time there was a world where you went to school, earned a degree, graduated with honors and went straight into a 35-year career with one company. Simple was your life. They treated you right; you worked your way up the company ladder toward senior management; and when you retired they took care of you through your golden years. That was then.

This is now.

Nothing is guaranteed and we’re all fighting for our own scraps today. The world has changed, and your life now depends on you navigating the professional world with a new set of skills and talents. Whether you are starting your own company or joining a large corporation, today’s world demands you to be entrepreneurial in everything you do—fighting tooth and nail for new customers, innovating around creative ideas and new business models, networking with others, and understanding we now live in a fluid and ever-changing world economy where thousands are all elbowing for one job opening.

So what makes you unique in this new world?

What follows has been adapted from my blog, So Entrepreneurial, and placed into book format. They are my thoughts and musings on all things entrepreneurial, meant to help you understand what it takes and how to think like an entrepreneur in today’s world. Far from perfect and by no means the only way to go about the journey, they represent my lessons taken straight from the trenches. Since my thoughts originated as blog posts it’s best to take them piecemeal, maybe even digesting just a few topics each day. You will find my main perspectives are around mobile, digital and internet technologies, but the principles can be applied to any other entrepreneurial focus.

I am not bashful in saying entrepreneurship is not easy—in fact it is extremely difficult. Yet for many reasons it’s probably one of the most rewarding pursuits in the world. You will find straightforward talk, deep thinking and at times uncomfortable topics discussed with authenticity and honesty in hopes to educate the less familiar on the ups and downs of life as a founder. If anything, I’m sure it will lend itself to some entertaining reading.

Your own agony and ecstasy of entrepreneurship will rock your world more than you ever imagined, my hope is that by sharing my thoughts and experiences it might help you prepare for—and even celebrate—entrepreneurship in some small way. If you feel so inclined, shoot me an email and share your own entrepreneurial story.

Purchase The Book Now >

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How To Deal With The Agony and Ecstasy Of A Startup

Every startup founder is probably nodding their head right now as they read the title of this post.  It’s like being part of a club or a gang where you were initiated and were forced to endure the pain.  Then afterwards you have a sense of relief – a thought of  “wow,   I’m glad I got through in one piece!”   Well, it’s safe to say I’m right in the middle of it and here I am thinking out loud on how to deal with it.

The Agony

The agony can be described as an immense downward pressure, something akin to gasping for air when lacking oxygen.  When you start a company, everything has to be created out of thin air and requires extraordinary feats to pull it off.  Things like the legal entity, the team, the product, the customer base and the cash reserves are not there in the beginning and have to be created somehow.  In the beginning it’s all chaos and panic.

And it’s an agonizing experience.  Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.  Your progress will take twice as long as you expect and if you are an impatient person like myself this is extremely difficult.  If entrepreneurship can be described as a roller-coaster ride, the agonizing times are the extreme lows you will face as a startup founder.   Seth Godin calls this The Dip.  Some don’t quite make it out of the dip and become statistics (half of businesses fail in the first 5 years, 1 out of 1,000 ever receive venture funding, etc..)

The Ecstasy

The ones who do make it out of the lows shoot right up to the highs and experience periods of ecstasy and bliss.  Similar to a chemical induced euphoria these natural created feelings are what keep you going through the entrepreneurial journey.  A great first meeting with a high profile investor, media coverage on a highly visited blog or website, the cold call out of the blue requesting a new partnership that could land a potentially lucrative new customer, or the hundreds of new twitter followers after a new blog post goes live are all exciting and exhilarating experiences.

These are what you live for as an entrepreneur.  And they are addictive.  They are additive because these types of experiences release dopamine and other neurotransmitters in the brain that result in a heightened state of emotion.  Interestingly, that same process happens as we experiment with recreational drugs.  It’s funny how entrepreneurship and mental disorders are so close in relation yet are looked upon from society in the extremely opposite light.

How To Deal with The Agony and the Ecstasy

If you are an entrepreneur, you will have to deal with this type of life.  Here’s a few ways I deal with the ups and downs of startup life.

1) Exercise – Expending energy helps release pent up stress so I can relax and  breathe a little easier.  It also allows me to stay healthy since I am less active these days.  This is the single most important (and simple) way to handle stress in your life.

2) Get Advice – I lean on my Board of Advisors to help me to understand things I may not see just yet.  They are all older than me and have been through similar situations (or see others go through them), which affords them a perspective I can use to help me make better decisions.  I tend to think I am smart enough to realize I don’t know very much.

3) Come To Grips With Reality – The reality is you are on the roller-coaster of life and it constantly goes up AND down.  When in the dip, it’s healthy to understand the dip won’t last too long and not too far down the path things will go up.  The only thing you must figure out is how to minimize your time in the dip and how to maximize your time above water.

Preparing yourself and understanding how to handle the ups and downs is the smartest (and healthiest) way to get through the rough patches.  It’s your responsibility to learn as you go… I know I am.

@jnickhughes