Working in a startup is not glamorous. In fact, anyone that has told you that it’s easy and the days are full of ping-pong games, flex schedules and unlimited vacation is a sissy.
More days than not, it’s difficult.
I define difficult as incessant resistance. Every time I turn around resistance is showing it’s ugly head and it’s game-time. Resistance can come dressed up as many things: distractions, no money, regulation, no time, difficult customers, no money, difficult employees, lack of human capital, no money, crises, self-sabotage, no money, shit breaking, unimaginable risk… you get my point. Our business faces nonstop resistance because we are constantly pushing the envelope, and spending 100% of our days battling in the deep-end (way deep, no floaties). Truthfully, there are times I sit and wonder, “Will this ever end?” When will the resistance stop? When will I truly have confidence in what I am doing, because I will actually have done it at least once before?
Our company has experienced incredible growth and we are 28 months old. We have compared our current stage to the teenager who is about to drive with braces, acne and greasy hair. We are by no means in early-stage… but we will forever have that startup-bootstrap-ranch-style mentality.
“Resistance can kill you, if you let it.” –Steven Pressfield
I know, all too well, the day resistance stops visiting me is the day we have, I have, failed. In fact, it would be smart to expect that the resistance will only become more difficult as we raise our aspirations.
My Dad is an entrepreneur, the hardest working man I know. When he would leave the house each day he would say, “Welp, I am headed back to the salt mine.” He was a warrior setting out to meet resistance every day and he never quit.
Now, don’t mistake difficulty for misery. That comes down to the individual. Some people can’t handle difficulty, which is why startup life and entrepreneurship is not for sissies. When you are a part of a startup, you are ALL entrepreneurs- whether you signed up for it or not. Entrepreneurs have a screw loose, and we looove resistance. Grossly addicted to the challenge of resistance and constantly obsessing over our craft, we get bored at any sign of comfort.
Entrepreneurs do it for the challenge and the pursuit of opportunity. I hope one day our team makes a whole lot of money, but that’s not a guarantee. As entrepreneurs, we are never guaranteed the fruit of our labor. However, we don’t have to wait for anyone to give us permission to work our tails off in the face of resistance. The opportunity is ours to seize. Will this mentality equate to material gain for us, one day? Maybe. However, that’s not why we do this everyday. We do this to pursue a craft, we do this because we want to build, conquer and then do it again.
Entrepreneurs are professionals at meeting resistance and this game isn’t for sissies.