The Startup Life
The hardest part of a startup company is: well, starting up. It takes a person with real passion and drive to build something from the ground up with no instruction sheet or blueprint. Someone who sees the vision before anything is there, and someone who maintains that vision during all the inevitable trials and tribulations throughout the journey.
So what is it like running a startup while balancing life, family, and money? It looks something like this:
1. You’ll likely wake up 4 hours earlier than you’d like to.
Yes, corporate jobs require early mornings, too, right? The thing about startups is that no one is paying you extra to get in the office before the sun rises. If you don’t do the work, who will? This is a relevant question that’s appropriate to ask for virtually every aspect of your daily operations. Did I mention you may also have to spend (what would be) your lunch hour eating a salad at your desk while simultaneously checking four new emails of prospective clients who are finally answering your third follow-up email?
2. You may miss the gym unless you can swing that early-morning class.
“I’ll do it after work” will likely result in you coming home at 9 pm with an extreme urge to order pizza and go to bed. There’s no right time to leave the office because there’s always something to do, so you’re better off waking up an hour earlier to get to the gym before the day starts. You can do it!
3. The only vacation you’ll have is a weekend trip to see your family upstate.
Think about the startup as your new puppy that you can’t bring on trips because your dad is allergic to dogs. You’re not just going to leave the puppy at home for a week because he needs you. You also can’t afford to have a dog-sitter. That pretty much sums up vacation time for you!
4. You’re either skipping lunch, or you have four lunches- the bill is on you!
Some days, you’re at your desk with a salad or a soggy sandwich. Some days, you’re running between restaurants in the rain to spend another hour explaining what your company does to someone who may be interested or may just want another free lunch. Half of your job is trying to persuade people to listen to you, and the other half is sitting in front of a computer trying to find these people to persuade. It’s just another day in the life.
5. You’ll get rejected more times than you thought was possible.
Here’s the catch, though: you can’t take it personally. No matter what. Being at a startup means you have to have so much faith in your company that no one can knock it out of you, regardless of how important they may be. Does it get exhausting? Sure. But you know people laughed in Elon Musk’s face at the beginning too!
6. You’ll have to network on days that you’d rather curl up at home and watch Netflix.
Yes, that means events and small talk. Prospect clients, old clients, important connections: all this requires time and effort. That means after work, you’re putting on your happy face and going to work… again!
7. You work hard, and when you say “no” to weekend plans, there’s a reason!
You still love your friends, but you’re way too tired to go out and spend money you’re not making yet. You spent your week pushing through and knocking down doors for you and your team. You invested every last drop of money and energy into your company, and now you deserve to rest (because you have to do it all over again next week).
If you’re running a startup, I commend you! We need people like you to continue innovating and using their passion and drive to create these future billion-dollar companies. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in one day.
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