3 lessons learned from entrepreneurship
Well, for one thing, finding the time to write an article is a remote luxury. Mainly because there’s just never enough of it.
I mean, what is time anyway. Am I right? 🦉
In summary, I’ve learned that Entrepreneurship = 24 hours x2 = 1 day (ideally) ➗ real-life ✖ (money, family, bills, kids, bathing) = unending cycles of “almost there”. And that’s the greatest lesson, so you can probably skip reading the rest of this mambo. I even put it in quotes.
However, if you do continue, I’ll try and make it worth your while. No promises and no refunds.
Back in 2018, I wrote an article about taking the plunge. In it, I highlight how my purpose was the culmination of my life and career leading up to that moment. It was an honest and complete account of my journey leading to the proverbial fork in life’s road.
And if I am perfectly honest, I wouldn’t change a thing.
What I would like is some help to make better decisions. A good co-founder will play a tremendous role, but ultimately you are singly responsible for your choices. And some decisions can be devastating if you don’t have the foresight, experience, or safety net to fall back on if things go south.
So, through a brief list of 3 insights, I’ll try and offer you a sense of what I thought and actually discovered before and after the switch.
1. Going into entrepreneurship after 35? Plan your moves, prepare for adjustments!
Be thoughtful. 35 marks about 12 years into a professional career; just over the decade mark, this might make you a seasoned leader.
But this game of following your dream is vastly different.
Heck, entrepreneurship (or treppin’ as the cool kids call it) is unlike anything your career has taught you. And there will be many months when money is erratic or absent. So plan your move well. Talk to your spouse, conserve your cash, cut back on expenses, scale back on debts, and prepare for some tough winters.
Not everyone will be a Warren Buffet or a Steve Jobs. But you’ll sure as sh*t work for one.
2. Give your ego, attitude, and chipped shoulder a permanent raincheck!
Be real. People who know me well will say, yeah follow your own advice jackass. It would be a little bit true.
But it’s important to be yourself, with some achievable degree of humility.
When you are the captain of your own little schooner, you’re the boss, the junior exec, and the pantry staff – all rolled into one. But you’re also the hustler, the bill collector, and the customer experience person.
As you grow, you will learn to depend on others more but also appreciate their work and role more. So prepare for life-altering changes to your behavior – hopefully for the best. Being considerate of your new community requires taking them along on a shared journey. So be open, honest, and involved.
3. Things you thought about friends who did this before you, others will think that of you!
Be kind. Remember that one friend from way back when you were a manager at the growing telecom company, who came to you for business and you were like, “bro, can you really deliver this project? You’re just 2 people and a PC!”
Doubt and self-confidence will be your two most present companions on this journey. Both are important for balance, but they are often reinforced by forces you don’t control.
If you were a jerk to someone (like I was), then this is the time to make peace. You will need those people to give you advice on how to tackle your former self when you try and sell your new dream to someone with a big budget at a huge company.
But in the end, your integrity is your greatest ally, so keep it close.
Being a leader at an organization you didn’t start or set a blue-sky vision for… is not yours. So your skin isn’t quite in the game. You could say it is, but that’s corporate-speak for “Work hard, earn hard.” That’s how they rope you in (read: noose).
So making the plunge can be frightening. I know it was for me. But even without a regular paycheck, I am happier than I’ve ever been.
Hopefully, my wife doesn’t read this because she’ll have words for me!
Kidding – she’s my biggest support.