Entrepreneurs are the modern rock stars. So they say. Young founders such as 26-years old David Karp, founder of Tumblr (who recently sold his company to Yahoo for $1.1bn) or known by almost everyone Mark Zuckenberg (29) let people think that creating a start-up is easy and glamorous…
But it’s not. The truth is, it’s fuc&$ng hard.
Although to the outside world it might seem that for those past 2 years nothing is really happening with Evoque, I’ve come through a lot of ups and downs; hired and put trust in the very wrong people, lost loads of precious time for creating bullshit business plans and forecasts to apply for funds/grants (which came out to be available only for highly bio/nano/tech established young companies), created even more detailed biz plans, hoping to secure seed financing from a high-profile London tycoon (I was introduced through trusted friend of mine), only to find out after couple of meetings that the balding guy is more interested in “my assets” than my company’s ones. Thank you but no f&$&$ing thank you.
Building a start-up isn’t easy at all. Especially when you are a young girl with no start-up credibility and little coding skills. It’s a bloody hard work to find right developers who won’t waste your time (Adam, Marcin, I salute you) and respect you. It requires tremendous investments of energy and commitment. It consumes all of your emotional energy and all of your attention. Building a start-up means hardly having time for real social life and slacking off, and every single minute of your waking life (yes, even straight after sex) is devoted to thinking about your start-up.
Building a start-up is like obsession. It is an enormous risk, a huge effort, and a tremendous fight. Fight with temptations of all kinds. It requires strong motivation, dedication and sacrifice.
Dedication? It’s why I’m sitting on this Saturday evening writing this blog and networking on Twitter with industry pros, instead of enjoying myself in this hedonistic capital of Europe. Sacrifice? I’ve been rejected job for dozens of times, because I couldn’t (and did not want to) hide the fact that I’m building my start-up. Once, funnily enough, I got a call from the recruiting agent for an interview for Business Development position in one of Evoque’s biggest competitors. I went there, presented the reasons why I’m gonna be their most valuable asset…until my Evoque flourishes and I will leave in glory to work full-time on my project. Yes, I told them about my passion for PR and Media. Yes, I told them that they need to wake up from all-year-long lethargy and they need to start innovating. I saw what they and their competitors are NOT doing right and I enlightened them that I decided to try to fix those things.
Maybe I didn’t get the job but I got their VP to follow my activities on Twitter. These kind of challenges and many more give me the kick to prove myself to the world. Big time!
When will companies understand that they should not be afraid of hiring entrepreneurial minds because we love innovation? Even Arielle P. Scott and Larry Popelka argue in Bloomberg Business Week that young entrepreneurs help to develop new products or solve critical problems better than non-entrepreneurial people do.
Yes, I am aware of the fact that three out of four start-ups fail shortly after launch and start-up life is not all that glamorous as it may seem. I know that I could have focused on my 9-5 career much better and by now I could have many more perks and more comfortable life than I’m having. I know that the boundary between getting successful and daydreaming is very, very thin.
Jessica Bruder from Inc.com claims:
Call it the downside of being up. The same passionate dispositions that drive founders heedlessly toward success can sometimes consume them. Business owners are “vulnerable to the dark side of obsession,” suggest researchers from the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. They conducted interviews with founders for a study about entrepreneurial passion. The researchers found that many subjects displayed signs of clinical obsession, including strong feelings of distress and anxiety, which have “the potential to lead to impaired functioning,” they wrote in a paper published in the Entrepreneurship Research Journal in April.
But how does all that matter if I am addicted and loving it? As Anthony Bourdain puts it:
It’s like a heroin addiction, where even after being clean for years, you can still long for that shot, even when you know it might kill you.” Same for startups. Once in your blood, it will never let you go.
When you build a start-up, you risk everything. It’s like a roller-coaster ride with many failures and disappointments. But… it’s such a damn good feeling when you’re riding “up” in the air.
Audentes fortuna iuuat!