Last week, I had a conversation via text with an entrepreneur friend from Austria. She is preparing a big project and on that day, she faced some major challenges. We texted a bit and she asked why there were always some hiccups. Why cannot anything running smoothly? “Congrats!”, I texted back, “You have officially arrived in the world of founders. Hiccups are as normal as your daily coffee!”
Being a founder is very often compared to a rollercoaster ride. And it is. You will have days were you are moving up in full speed, you reach the top, and the next moment, you are speeding towards a low. When I started and experienced the first hick-ups, I freaked out every time. I asked myself: Will this stop the project? How can I manage to fix this? CAN I manage to fix it?
Yes, we can. The longer I have been working as a founder, the more relaxed I got. Of course, there are always things that will feel like earthquakes. They will not only shatter a few hours of your day. Their effects last for a long time and moving through that dark valley can be daunting. I do think that the challenges I have faced and overcome as an entrepreneur were by far harder than when I was employed. Because it is MY business, my money, my reputation, my risk.
Furthermore, if you run a business, also your team relies on you. If you freak out every time there is a challenge, your team will get nervous. And they might even doubt that you can handle the problem and if this company is the right place for them. I learned that however big the challenge, I have to pull myself together – for my own sake but also for my team.
Dealing with uncertainty and creative problem solving are two things which founders need to be good at. Even though it can be hard and scary, I actually really enjoy that challenge, I actually think that they can be the icing on the cake. They push you way beyond your comfort zone. I have overcome problems and difficult situations of which I can be really proud. No matter how dark the valley, the light at the end of it, will make you feel really accomplished.
But I also understand that founding a business is not for everyone. And this is perfectly fine. I think since the “start-up mania” gained momentum in 2013/14, being a founder has become the new cool thing to do. And I have heard from quite a few people in corporate careers that they feel looked down upon. Whatever you choose to do, never forget that we are lucky to be able to make that choice. (I recently wrote about this in another Monday Postcard.) In the end, it has to make YOU happy, nobody else. And it does not matter if it is battling the hiccups as a founder, working for a big corporate or staying at home with your kids. But whatever you choose, put all your passion and effort into this thing!
Have a motivated and beautiful week ahead!