As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be my own boss. While I worked a series of minimum wage jobs as a kid, and then a succession of cubicle jobs in more recent years, I always had a side-hustle.
The risk brought stress, but there was so much satisfaction with the rewards.
But that’s the thing. People see the success, but the hard stuff is invisible. I am still licking my wounds from this time in college where I overestimated the demand for tickets to a Cure concert.
I bought something like $450 in tickets on a credit card, and it turned out I couldn’t even sell them at a loss. I was working at the campus gym for probably $4.50 an hour, so instead of a tidy profit, I put myself in a hole to work about 100 hours at my job to get back to zero (more when you figure in the interest).
At the time, I was too ashamed to tell anybody, and that was a mistake. It weighed on me, even as I reveled in my pretend success to friends. I needed support, but my foolish pride got in the way.
Don’t be like me. We need emotional capital, as much as financial capital.
But it’s key to find the right support during the entrepreneur journey. Over the years, I’ve spoken to so many people about how the people closest to them were their biggest critics, non-believers, and general downers.
Not just at the start of a company, when there is so much uncertainty and risk, but even after they make progress and profits. At later stages, instead of having doubt heaped on them, their success is met with jealousy and resentment.
As Morrissey once sang, “We hate it when our friends become successful.”
Maybe it’s a subconscious thing, or maybe they’re just assholes.
Either way, you’re not getting the support you need from some people you know. If there is no support from (certain) friends and family, you need to find outlets where there are people who will offer encouragement and believe in what you’re trying to do.
There are lots of places where you can find your tribe, such as meetups, co-working spaces, conferences, startup incubators and accelerators, or even the local coffee shop.
The important thing is that you have somebody out there to lend an ear or give advice as you go through those emotionally draining, time consuming periods with your company.
We, entrepreneurs, are fragile beasts, and we all need support. It’s not a weakness, it’s a necessity.