My dad pretended not to hear me. My mom almost had a heart attack. It wasn’t the first thing a perfectionist mother wanted to hear after encouraging me to get a degree.
I tried to ease her distress. No chance.
Both my parents had retired after years of a 9–5 working routine at their secure and boring jobs.
I knew that coming from a family with no entrepreneurial background, it would be difficult to explain my situation to them, but I didn’t expect the call next morning.
It was my mom on the phone:
“Sooooooooo, how is your business doing?! Is it growing?!”
No matter what I said, I couldn’t explain to her that a business needs more than one day to grow.
I told everyone that I just quit my job to follow my start-up dream. Every time I met with those friends, I didn’t have many updates to give them in response to their repeated questions, such as, “So, how is your start-up going?”
Cash, cash, cash.
As if the social pressure and loneliness were not enough, I was meeting the mother of all stresses: running out of cash much faster than I had imagined.
This was killing my productivity and ability to make proper decisions. I was panicking and rushing to be successful and to make money.
Enough with the drama: more than two years have passed since those days.
There are, however, five things I wish I had asked myself before starting this painful journey. Five questions I believe every future entrepreneur should ask himself before taking the first step to entrepreneurship:
- Are you ready for the social pressure?
If you have friends and family who are not entrepreneurs, they won’t truly understand what you are trying to achieve and the public pressure will be even higher.
- Are you single or do you have an extremely supportive partner?
As we grow up, we share more of our life with our partners than with our friends or family. Doing your own business is tough – way tougher than I could have ever imagined.
- Do you have enough cash to last at least a year?
Good, then multiply that amount at least by three because you will be running out of your savings way faster than you ever imagined. Along the way, there will be so many hidden costs, accountant fees, lawyer needs, broken iPhones or PCs, etc.
Success will come slowly, and cash will burn fast. Be smart – plan from day one.
- Are you ready to sleep only few hours a day?
Having escaped from the corporate consulting world, I was thinking I was finally going to live the dream by working whenever I wanted to work – until I read Lori Greiner’s following quote:
“Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week.”
The journey to success is long. Very long. Very often, too long.
- How do you define success?
Each of us has a different priority list in life. For most people, money is the number one priority on the list, while work-life balance ranks higher for others. Consequently, people define success differently.
Depending on your definition of success, the difficulty of your entrepreneurial journey will differ, too. If money and public success are what matters to you the most, you are likely to have a hard time along your journey.
There are, however, thousands of dreamers out there who manage to bootstrap their start-ups or live so well off on their own, but even they do not make it to the top of tech news.
No matter how difficult the entrepreneurial journey will be, enjoy the ride and keep following your passion. As Tony Gaskin puts it perfectly:
“If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to help build theirs.”