I must have something seriously wrong with me to put up with this stress. Everyone touts the benefits of entrepreneurship as if it is this choice that delivers you immediately into happiness … “keep chasing that dream, fool.”
At least while you’re struggling, poverty stricken, and stressing the hair from your scalp, you can say that no one tells you how to dress for the office. When you’re having a hard time hitting payroll, you can linger on your freedom to sleep-in whenever you like. These benefits do not tip the scales people, take my word for it.
I’m not a battle-hardened entrepreneur by any means; I’m only on my second business. I closed the first after seven years of fighting for growth. It turns out the partner structure was wrong. We all had different visions for moving forward. During that struggle I ended-up working on projects that were beneath my abilities and vision. I sacrificed just to find out we had it wrong from the beginning.
Next I did what any obviously sane, rational person would; immediately start another venture. Clearly I should see all the reasons why that decision was unadvisable – that is, making a choice in stark contrast to what history had shown me – but I did not.
If you’re reading this and thinking, “you’re crazy, stubborn and clearly a glutton for punishment,” you’re probably right, and also probably not an entrepreneur at heart. I don’t mean this to sound elitist or exclusionary. I actually envy those like you quite often.
If you ask other business owners why they go through this gauntlet of struggle time-and-time-again, you’ll likely get a wide variety of answers. I can’t tell you exactly why I do it, other than this nagging feeling that I will succeed eventually, knowing full-well that the deck is stacked against me.
Some go at this mountain alone. I like the company of a team. I have quite a few partners at Speak Social. This time I chose those partnerships a little more carefully, but that doesn’t make it all sunshine and rainbows each day. We’ve also had a few changes in leadership over the last two years since opening our operation. Today our team has grown to 16 people, and they’re all fantastic. They are why I keep pushing forward, building trails through unexplored territories. They fuel my nagging feeling that I will succeed one day. WE will succeed one day.
If you asked me to choose one thing that we got absolutely right, it’s our culture. If you can get your culture right, hold on to it as a beacon to follow, and the rest will work out. Others may disagree with me. I can only speak to my experiences. Mine is a story that taught me, with the right culture and people, we will accomplish anything we envision.
I have such a passion for watching members of my team succeed that even the small wins are fantastic. They give me a reason to be happy in the morning on the way to the office (still wearing whatever I want to wear by-the-way). We got the people and the culture right, making the other problems conquerable. The rewards are finally paying forward, the vision is coming to fruition, and the growth of this company is the overall passion of everyone involved.
That’s the dragon I’ve chosen to chase. It’s not the money; entrepreneurship is sticky like that. The prospect of making unending millions is what so many business owners use for momentum, but that’s a salesperson’s reward.
As some huge prospects approach our shores, I question whether it matters. Sure it’s a validation point that we got some stuff right. However, I’ll file for bankruptcy 10 times to get this dream right if I must. After all, if you’re not willing to sacrifice everything, don’t bother giving a little. You can have the best idea in the world, but the money generally never comes.
My advice … if you’re starting a business, focus on the culture and the people behind your concept more than the product itself. Once your culture is clear, never let that spark die out.
LINK TO SHARE: http://goo.gl/jZ72J