Stay up to date

I am a failure until I am not. [Evoque journey]

So you found your vocation. You feel your idea can change the world and you spend nights and days on sketching and documenting every important bit of it. Your head is pounding.  Queen’s lyrics “I want it all and I want it now” become your life motto. Days, weeks, months are passing by and you are still not enjoying the sweet pains of success. You feel constant frustration but you can’t stop. Being a startup founder is a f%#&@#ng nightmare, you think. But you still stay on.

If time is money, then I’m broke.

Those lucky ones (let’s call them naive) quit their jobs and focus on their startup babies full-time, financing themselves either with 3F money or living from their savings, starving to death, hoping that their business will kick off soon and become sustainable (it NEVER takes as little time as you originally assume…).

The other group (me including) hold full-time day jobs and devote every free moment after work to; liaising with developers and checking if everything is prioritised accordingly, reporting bugs, adjusting mock-ups full of half-baked features to current market trends and needs, interviewing potential customers, begging for help of your fellow PR agents or media contacts (you are still nobody, so most of them don’t care to answer you anyway), writing blog posts that no one reads, writing marketing material (which you are going to erase and rewrite anyway), going to industry events, networking on social media (“+1 Point on Klout, woohoo!”)… and so on and so on…you bet that at least part of those activities will bring you closer to that breaking moment.

How does it feel to build a first-time start-up, being a girl with no advanced coding skills?

So you work long hours, you make an absolute zero for money but you splash your personal cash on wrongly chosen developers (*stolen code, not written/unsupervised shitty code/how-could-you-estimate-something-you-have-no-idea-about code), licenses, server fees etc. You would happily trade your kidney for having enough money to pay your developers to work full-time with you onsite, but since you can’t – you just pray that your spread-all-over the-world-boys believe in your idea as much as you do.

Restlessness, doubt, ridicule, frustration, anxiety, fear and lack of satisfaction are your constant companions… and pretty much your only companions.  Nobody else understands what you are going through. Oh, it’s a lovely hobby and “I’m developing my startup” sounds so pretty. When it kicks off, it will be all about fame and glamour, right? You know shit about it.
Every time you glance at TechCrunch, Twitter or Google News you’re seeing something about one of your competitors: securing funding, landing a big new deal, announcing a new product, etc. And you? Nobody wants to return your calls or answer your emails, and all the people from various entrepreneurial support groups who supposedly exist to “help” entrepreneurs want your “help” valued in real cash – trying to sell you their stuff.

There’s no emotional middle ground. It’s just one fleeting-high-into-depressing-low after another. Your most often felt emotion is rejection. You have no time and pleasure to play female-male catch-me-if-you-can game, so you are trying to greedily interest your opposite sex with take-it-or-leave-it method, often overwhelming and scaring the hell out of him.
You weigh each social proposal in terms of opportunity costs – should you go out to that amazing party? If yes, how will it affect the development process? What if your guys will need you? You synchronise your social availability to your developers time better than the girls synchronise their periods when living together.

Building a startup is freaking hard emotionally. And it’s impossible to predict when that switch will happen. Your family and friends constantly make jokes about your “launching date” which was supposed to happen last year…oops, wait, two years ago.
Most of the time, nothing is actually happening. The exciting moments are few and far between. And, really, you’re alone. You have nothing to rely on but your own willpower, conviction, naivety and stubbornness. So why do you still blindly believe that you will make IT happen?

Despite a harsh reality, people everywhere are jumping in to that crazy entrepreneur-wagon every day.
At the end of the day, working 24/7 with little social life is hell for the majority of people (those my party pictures you see on Facebook are normally THE ONLY party pictures documented to show people that I am social, everything else is just being stuck home in front of your computer, while everybody else is seizing the day).

But then again, working 45 hours week at a desk with no autonomy is hell for people like us. Start-ups are no easy way to escape concrete jungle boredom and monotony. But idea of succeeding is every bit as magical as it actually happening.

You’re a failure until you’re not.

Subscribe to my newsletter