Stress, plus more stress and a bit of stress.
Also, the best work i can dream.
I have felt many times the urge to sit and write my feelings - you have done it for me, Thank you so much, B Mac
You also realize after a while (or maybe at the very beginning) that you don't actually have all the answers, and that there are some things you can't discuss with your team. It's important to find a good mentor that you can have lunch with every month or two so you can work out thorny issues and keep the big picture straight.
Great read, while I've been involved in alot of Start-Ups in my past from a marketing or web-development capacity I've never really had a feel for what the CEO's felt, thought or feared. I think this article is going to help me better communicate with CEO's from here out. Thanks for sharing man!
That is beautiful. Well done. A true entrepreneur must live by 3 simple words - "whatever it takes"
It's 2.47 am - again! Yeah - Whatever it takes!
Great article. I have found that in regards to my distributors my biggest assets are also time-freedom, financial-freedom, autonomy, automation, responsibility, pride, recognition and inspiration.
The all bring us a higher quality of life. Instant Daily Pay
What an inspiringly superb write up! It got to a point, it felt like you re talking about me...lol
Thanks for articulating some of the things I've been feeling. And noticing this: "When things are really bad, there are people that come running to help and don't think twice about it."
The flip side of that is running to help others when their own dark days arise.
It's rewarding to read this, and I share many of the same feelings. I'm in a little different space because I'm filmmaker & photographer, and I'm African-American. The creative output, undying optimism, and never-ending quest for "something better" is always there, and "team-building" is one of the biggest challenges I face.
I'm in! AWESOME POST!
Loved the inner challenge and relatability comments. it is very hard to explain, why; and most times can only be understood by those who have an unstoppable passion for overcoming and serving!
Thanks, excellent writing style, motivational and unselfish...Best, JD
I have started 7 companies and been involved mostly with start ups. The CEOs sat around in meetings and waited to get lucky in spite of everything like MicroSoft, Facebook, or Twitter. The VCs didn't know and didn't want to hear it. The CEOs were cool, calm, and collected as they closed the doors.
I am amazed how all hearts within different start-up CEOs beat in same fashion but more so how one person can summarize it in words, so beautifully.
Thanks Paul for a wonderful write and Dharmesh for bringing to us here on OnStartups.
Thank you for the great post! Realizing all the commonalities between entrepreneurs is the greatest feeling and is a reminder that we are not alone on this crazy ride...
While I was feeling a bit on the low side and feeling what I do isn't at all prosperous .I received a pop up from my Outlook mail.I stopped and took the time to read this and realized that you expressed how I felt and how many others have felt.Knowing what I read was almost like it was me.I started to think about it thoroughly and you are completely right .I get my biggest enjoyment from helping others in anyway I can even if I'm not always sure ,I still go and find out.The only thing missing is to have a mentor to guide or to understand that what I do is a practical and viable concept.With all that has been said,Thank you for the uplifting and positive way to look at it all.This journey I'm on is the gift that was given by the love of all things new and the guidance that I will always read from the many many great people out here.
Lionel (JL) Fleury
It takes a lot of stress and hard work to succeed, but the outcome worth everything. Being an entrepreneur is one of the best feeling I ever mat.
trusted work group;
confidence through belief and devotion in ur belief........one of the mantras for an etnreprenuer
First, Thank You for sharing your insights, congratulations on your successes for making this a better world.
My start ups, 5 in the 10 years since I retired, share the goals of others wanting to give back - we, when we are safe enough, want to provide others with safety, health, education, and opportunity.
If you are giving back, to your children, your community, or the world, I will be glad to help your efforts - please use our technology at no cost.
My personal goal is to do something meaningful for under served inner city families, especially keeping children safe and able to go to school without interference from bullies. My first 10 years of life were in the inner city of Chicago. The difference between the inner city and the small town in Wisconsin we moved to, has never left me.
I have always felt the need to make a difference. I have refined and focused current technology advances on the need to keep people safe; family, community, staff, employees, all the people in our lives.
Please forward this message and link, http://preview.tinyurl.com/7krzqg4, to people who worry with the responsibility for others, family to foundations and charities.
Being in the process of starting my own company I can correlate 100% with this. It gives me comfort to know what I am going thru is something every startup CEO/Co-founder have gone thru.
I believe this post totally describes my thoughts and feelings. I've saved this on iBook and i'l be reading this again and again. Awesome post .
My thoughts exactly. I thought I was weird for the longest time, but I guess I'm not alone after all.
Inspirational and instantly felt ts my story, and yes! the balance is what i am still trying to figure out, but was releived to know that there is indeed light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you for the great post.
The unwritten how to, has just been written... It takes a special breed to endure and dream, you my friend are surly one of that breed.
Very well done. ~S~
This post was awesome and inspiring, thank you.
The only thing I find unfortunate (which has nothing to do with you):
"Wouldn't it be the coolest thing in the World if we were the generation that consistently got punched in the face, didn't complain, didn't slow down, picked up our lunch pales and went out everyday to create sustainable opportunities for a generation that we haven't met yet? If that sounds crazy, ambitious, and delusional..."
Why is that so crazy? Sounds like every generation ever prior to modern day America. It's sad that hard work, sacrifice and achievement have become 'crazy'.
Thank you for telling the truth!
Thank you so much for this post, its exactly what I needed to hear today.
What a great post. It truly inspires.
It inspires me to take a chance, to take a risk, and know that I am doing the right thing.
I know I have the spirit growing in me to be an entrepreneur. And I won't quit until I succeed.
At first I was quite upset I never took the time to write the very same letter. Being involved in my 3rd start at the moment I find your words inspiring such as they will keep me going for another round. Thank you and have a great summer!
Great Article and dead on many points. I think few one point that could be added on is the tremendous support system required to be a CEO; Family, Mentors, Well Wishers,etc.
That is possibly the best article I have read in a very long time. Thank you for the boost and the inspiration. Push on!!
It's really pretty simple:
1. Don't be afraid to try.
2. Don't be afraid to fail.
3. Don't be afraid to ask.
4. Bear the blame; share the glory.
5. Repeat #1 - 4 as often as possible.
It's the best job in the world; everything else is a distant second.
Thanks for Sharing Great Article.
What else can I say? This is it, plus family backup!
thanks for this post.
its good therapy for us folks in the hot seat
I'm a habitual entrepreneur. I've learned CEO means chief EVERYTHING officer on the startup. Now on my startups, I out-task the non-revenue producing activities so I can dedicate 50% of my time selling.
Some folks SAY they want to be entrepreneurs others want to DO something as an entrepreneur. The former have trouble facing the never ending challenges facing a startup. The later find the tenacity and relentlessness to make a go of it....
First of all it's very interesting, because you are building your dream.
THE WHY. With a stong enough "WHY" anything is possible. The "WHY" is the key.
Thank you for the article. As an entrepreneur and as an attorney helping entrepreneurs, I loved the article!
A Sincere Thank You.
Michelle L. Grenier, Esq.
Grenier Law Offices, PC
Great article. Being an entrepreneur is all of the above.
You're also running a war with people working with you that you love and protecting assets that are borrowed and trying your best to protect those assets. The loneliness at times is unbearable, Doubts are rampant. All you have is a crazy idea and you job is to convince others they need this crazy idea that will do "X" or "Y" and life will never be the same unless they actually buy this crazy idea.
Yeah, it's insane. The validation comes when you start doubling sales and one day you walk out the front door of your own building or enter a restaurant and people whisper "that's him".
Couldn't agree more with this post. It's like going out with my girlfriend - thrilling, mental, inexplicable, yet I wouldn't change it for the world. Thanks for this great post!
Being CEO of a startup does not necessarily mean an endless round of scrounging for financing, the best employees and collaborators, and no sleep. What many people forget is that even sole owner-operators of their enterprises are CEO entrepreneurs, and can have very few of the stresses you describe while still growint their business. This is not said to dismiss any of the things you go through and overcome, but to let you know that it doesn't have to be so hard and so lonely at the top. You don't have to make all of the decisions alone, and if you begin with a good team of colleagues as advisors, the trip is easier.
What you failed to comment on is the "entrepreneur" who cannot differentiate between cost and investment. Some of them succeed, but they cannot and do not change the world.
Excellent read.. Seemed like I am reading my story.. Well done chief..
I discovered this post during a down day. I now remember why I'm doing it and that a walk in the park does have value. Thank you.
This post is truely invigorating & nourishing to my thought. Its worth spreading round to my colleagues & friends. Thanks a million times for taking out your time to state this. Thanks again
Thanks for the post and for everyone's comments. All so eye-opening for this newbie!
I wrote a similar type of post on my experience running a start-up on BostInno last month http://bostinno.com/channels/startup-life-somewhere-between-suicide-and-instagram/. Would love to read more of other peoples experiences. Paul is absolutely right, unless you are an entrepreneur, you just don't get it.
Love the responses! Can I make a reference to it when teaching entrepreneurship to my students?.
Right on. Great article.
As a startup owner all my failures are threatening to run over me and I am running harder to outrun them.
Ha. I was right there, till I got excluded by the bit about "we" being in a particular generation.
Still, very cool...even from an old guy's perspective.
Great post now I know why it is I am driven like this. driven to seek something that I do not know, terrified that I will never know but know just the same that once that little voice of the entrepreneur speaks up it will not be ignored. Surround yourself with like minded people who get this in you, who see it in themselves and who can accept you for that crazy drive to seek to give and inspire the world. It will make it easier to fit in to the other areas of your life and the fabulous people you love who are not "like" you
Thanks, Thanks & thanks for this great post. It is indeed heart warming and inspiring. The reflections are synonymous with my experiences thus far as a startup executive. It has been a complex mix of various feelings and events. However, the most inspiring aspect is to realize that a whole lot of people may depend on every singular decision you make. There will always be ups & downs but the best approach is to surround yourself with like minded people who share same dream and passion as you do (this i call the perfect team). Thanks once again. I would be glad to have you in my linkedin network.
Paul - Sorry to be late to the party, but thank you so much for opening up and sharing all of these thoughts, feelings, revelations, hopes, dreams, realities, and bearing your soul on the alter of entrepreneurship - you are an inspiration. Cheers.
"Wouldn't it be the coolest thing in the World if we were the generation that consistently got punched in the face, didn't complain, didn't slow down, picked up our lunch pales and went out everyday to create sustainable opportunities for a generation that we haven't met yet?"
This alone gave me goosebumps and cemented my decision to move down this path. Thank you.
Now I realise, I'm not crazy, I'm just an entrepreneur. :)
Sportkin is a place for where entrepreneurs meet with people in their local community, and let their ideas be heard by the people around them, and their passion to be demonstrated, because Sport doesn't make ones personality, it accentuates it.
I read this article by Dharmesh and I thought, finally someone has captured in words just how I feel on a daily basis. I shared it with family and friends because I know at time they must think I have lost my compass or my mind! Onward through the creative fog.
Wonderful article. Made me realize how fortunate we were to have the great team of people for the FedEx startup. They just stuck with our crazy idea and would not quit. Your article brings back the wonderful times and reminds me why I wrote "Changing How the World Does Business" as a thank you to those dedicated people who made us successful.
I can truly understand and feel nice that every entrepreneur goes through the same experiences. Truly truly true.
This I quote as a spouse of an entrepreneur and have felt the same way many number of times. glad to see that we are not alone in this journey.
"You feel guilty when you're doing something you like doing outside of the company. Only through years of wrestling with this internal fight do you recognize how the word "balance" is an art that is just as important as any other skill set you could ever hope to have. You begin to see how valuable creativity is and that you must think differently not only to win, but to see the biggest opportunities. You recognize you get your best ideas when you're not staring at a screen. You see immediate returns on healthy distractions."
I feel this way too. It's because there's the feeling of running life on someone else's money, such that any time spent on other things felt awkward for a while.
"You realize that it's much more fun when you didn't have money and that money might be the worse thing you could have as a personal goal. If you're lucky enough to genuinely feel this way, it is a surreal feeling that is the closest thing to peace because you realize it's the challenges and the work that you love. Your currencies are freedom, autonomy, responsibility and recognition. Those happen to be the same currencies of the people you want around you."
Same reason why I chose to work with others, and I hold only an "owner" status where I'll advise and setup the businesses' websites (I run 2), while others who are stronger in the day-to-day tasks get to work and make a living out of it (I hold approx. 10% of monthly earnings with anyone who are willing to work with me).
Great Post ... truly motivational
Anyone who is their own boss feels the same as you - not just startup CEOs. I have my own business, and I quickly learned I can't talk to people who are regular employees about work - I just don't care what they have to say. It's booooring. Congrats. You just became self aware of your differentness. Upside - you can control your own destiny. Downside - you probably won't ultimately be any happier than those who work for the weekend. But it is what it is and you can't change it, so embrace it.
Wonderful and gives me pleasure to read this article which reflects how i feel and what i think.
Awesome Write up. Thanks a Ton.
Need Help on beginning my Start up.
Let's be friends on facebook... my id: firstname.lastname@example.org
A really wonderful article. I read it once but will most definitely read it agian.
THANK YOU PAUL for writing this and THANK YOU DHARMESH for sharing.
U r simply great...
right on spot...!!
I've just started an adventure online and it's very fun because I feel the same way as you explained in your post. It was a relief to know that there are many people out there that feel as I feel. It was very comforting.
I like to call us 'Vision-keepers'. It's a lonely road, and yet we are many!
Thanks Dharmesh for sharing - it was like looking in a mirror.
Just like many others did, and more will do: Thank you very much for writting this, and thank you Dharmesh for sharing it.
Spot on Paul, I will gladly share this with others. If you ever need any help whatsoever, let me know:)
They say "If you love what you do, you don't have to work a single day of your life", that kind of sums up the role of a CEO of a start up.
It bought a tear to my eye. You have a gift for writing and articulating exactly what it is to be the CEO of a startup. I have found if you try and detach yourself for a certain outcome and just enjoy the journey and experience, the load to carry gets lighter. I will forward this to fellow entrepreneurs, my family and the guy I want to be my mentor. Cheers
Hey, mega funny photo, the kid with the rocket in their back :-))
Where come from that photo??
I want it ;-)
Your letter has worked as a catalyst! good enough to bring together and show mirror to us about what all we have already gone through and are doing. It works... a lot of encouragement; motivation and a feel of belonging.
Thank you & Three Cheers
Raise Solutions Private Ltd.
Great post! I'd like to add that when you become CEO of a start-up, you truly understand the meaning of the cliche,"It's lonely at the top". That's when you become a leader.
Did you really write this? Or was it collective experience of thousands of entrepreneurs across the world pouring through you?
Thank you, awesome. The low days, the high days, the what should i do now days - no one who hasnt been on this road will understand any of this or why we do what we do. And our loved ones who stand by our sides with that magical cape that protects us.
Thank you Paul. Thanks for the travel journal.
Good luck and god speed.
Wow Paul! You truly broke ground here in articulating the very inner feelings. You helped me realize what is going on inside me and related in a way that will help me push through it. Much thanks!
Amen. Fabulously insightful!
Finding the right people to help carry a vision is really important. When I started out... hell.. I am still starting out, I thought, friends are cool, intelligent and crazy ass smart so I spoke with them and got them on board my vision only to learn later that not all my wish me well friends were cut out to help me. Sometimes, as entrepreneurs we have to understand that not everybody is meant to help us on our way. that some people have to stay in the blenches to cheer us on.
this is a really inspiring post and I will share it also on my wall because I found it on a friends wall. Thanks Guud Kelly for sharing this and thanks Dharmesh for posting this.
nothing new really. it's like a married woman divorced not due to her own inclination but one of those 'no-fault-really?' kinda of separation for a better unknown future for mother and child.
"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight with you, then you win." Mahatma Gandhi
Thanks very much for sharing this. It's verbatim true. An awesome read!
Deep gratitude to both Dharmesh and Paul ... inspirational and easy read ... Thank you for keeping the flame going !
Nice article Dharmesh and great reply Paul.
Thank you for explaining this to me. It seems to me that he is in love with his work not me and the kids. Now I have decisions to make.
The best advise I ever got was: Never give up and gain traction quickly! I currently live in Lagos, Nigeria. This article is Awesome! Thank you for sharing this. I'm with you all the way!
"You feel like a parent to your customers in that they will never realize how much you love them and it is they who validate you are not crazy. You want to hug every one of them. They mean the World to you. " Couldn't agree more, and this is what separates entrepreneurial people/business from "big" business. If only people [customers] would appreciate this fact, there would be no more, "no one got sacked for buying Big Blue". Great post and I concur with almost every word!
I don't think anyone else could explain startup life with such depth.
You really get it.
I am in pre-launch and very excited.I have the back up of a very large energy company called Just Energy, Uk Name Huddson Energy
Momentis are launching Energy Miser with global patent this device is guaranteed to reduce electric bill by 15% to 20% or money back. Also reduce harmful EMF emissions. So it has health benefits as well. Watch the video http://youtu.be/XQZVWTSB1JY
As an entrepreneur in a company serving mainly startups and SMBs, <a>www.printingforless.com<a>, I speak to many customers every week. This post captures much of what I hear from them. When someone is calling at 10pm about a print order, I'll often ask why they are working so late. Invariably the answer is some version of "whatever it takes." America's entrepreneurs are an important part of what makes this the greatest nation on earth.
Loving the post. My mission in life is to Raise Myself To Help Mankind as I know when I raise my own standards every body around me is positively infected. Lets all keep driving forward in this changing world.
You stole my words! I have been thinking about writing about the same article, but haven't done that in a while and you hit the nail on the head with this article! Grats!
Dharmesh; You have nailed it!!The very passion, drive, dreams of granduer drive us forward regardless of cost - although cost should be measured, it should never be the reason. I am grateful and relieved at the same time that I am not going insane - its just natural. Cheers
Great article with great replies. It seems other pre-ceo's also caught the attitude and were motivated. I like your mention of 'You don't have a problem anymore being honest with people about not cutting it.' Since others related to the attitude and not just the experience, I would have added something about 'forgetting if your title is CEO, CMO or VP; you just get stuff done.' Well written and motivational, thanks.
That was well documented,i thank you for the motivation.In startup and its a nightmare...But thanks again.And all of the best with your future plans.
Rubbish article. When you go bankrupt and rely on tax payers benefits then everything is forgotten. Do some proper work.
Right on the money, Paul. Many thanks.
Really nice experience shared i pump up after reading it... Thanks
I can't explain how happy and relieve I am after reading this post. Now I know I am not alone. Thank you so much for sharing.
Most points are my sentiments exactly.. a great reminder for me to be grateful for the experiences and lessons I have gone through and am still going through. Also, it's amusing to see some are relieved to know they are not alone in feeling this way.
Freedom, autonomy, responsibility and recognition will be currencies I would promote among entrepreneur students. Great ideas to be included in an entrepreneurship program, among others "you get your best ideas when you are not staring at a screen". Thanks!