Entrepreneurs know that it is hard to run a startup and that they are going to have to master a lot of skills on the job. After all, just being technically proficient is not enough – they need to learn a lot about managing people; selling and marketing, and raising and spending money wisely.
However, the one thing they grossly underestimate is the emotional angst of being a startup founder.
Running a startup can be an exceptionally lonely journey, and while having co-founders can help, there are often times when you will disagree with your co-founder, and this makes matters worse because it’s hard to say who’s right and who’s wrong.
There are many days you will not be able to sleep well because you’re not sure what you should be doing next. However, at some point, you will need to pull the trigger and make your decisions, and this can be very hard because the consequences of going down the wrong path can be huge.
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The responsibility is enormous because what you do and don’t do doesn’t affect just your own life – it impacts your family and your employees – and their families – as well! And investors can be hard to deal with as well if you don’t deliver as promised!
It can be extremely hard to deal with this uncertainty. This is especially true if you’re young and have never been exposed to life’s gory underbelly. The stress can get to you, but it’s very hard to find support, which is ironic because this is the time when you need it the most!
Sure you can talk to friends and family members, but how much will they understand? Is it fair to expect them to be able to comprehend what you’re going through? Yes, you have team-members and investors, but when you are in deep shit, how much are you willing to share with them?
You will have to endure sleepless nights because you’re really not sure what to do. You will flip and you will flop – and will go through highs and lows. One day you may decide to pull the plug; while on the next you will be enthusiastic and full of hope because you have bagged a new order.
You may start behaving like a manic-depressive – and your loved ones will find it difficult to live with you, as you are completely obsessed with your startup, and don’t have spare time or energy to spare for them – something which they will resent, which will make you feel even more guilty!
Please don’t underestimate the difficulties of being an entrepreneur. The number of bad days will be far more than the number of good days, and this is why such few people have the courage to launch a startup. However, founding a startup will test your mettle, so that no matter whether you are successful or not, you will become a better person as a result of the journey!
[This post by Dr. Aniruddha Malpani first appeared on LinkedIn and has been reproduced with permission.]