22 May 2015

The Dark Side of Entrepreneurship

I have always been a huge defender of Entrepreneurship. There are seriously few things in this life that are as amazing to me as the fighting entrepreneurial spirit.
But that does not mean it's an easy road.

One night my Entrepreneur and I found ourselves both exhausted in the seemingly never-ending fight to get to the next level. Nights like those are probably NOT the best time to define the meaning of life, but, alas, we were engaged in an intense discussion about trying to figure out what on earth we were doing.

And once again I found myself defending entrepreneurship.

This time, however, it wasn't with a 9-5 co-worker, a corporate-for-life friend or someone who is way too scared of risk to dare the life of entrepreneurship.


This time it was against my Entrepreneur.

He felt defeated.
He felt unsuccessful.
He was spent.

And in many ways so was I.
The pressure was on (as always), the money was tight (as usual) and the stress was sky high (again).

We were "surviving" Entrepreneurship, but we hadn't made it. And regardless of anyone else's definition of making it, for us personally, we weren't there.
In fact... it seemed like we weren't even close.

As the conversation wore on I felt myself battling with him about everything I've ever questioned about Entrepreneurship myself. I heard myself quoting all the inspirational entrepreneurial quotes I have pinned on Pinterest.

"Failures are just stepping stones."
"This is just part of the story on the road to success."
"It's darkest before the dawn."
"It's just a setback."
"Every Entrepreneur has to face these kinds of days."

Except I also vividly remember that as those words were coming out of my mouth (praying that they would offer some sense of relief or renewed conviction to my Entrepreneur), I felt myself thinking:
 "Don't you make me a liar. Don't you make everything I've ever fought for, defended or hoped to believe in come crumbling down. Don't make all those doubts and fears real. Don't let all the nay sayers truth come true. Don't you dare tell me we can't make it."

It's a fight. A real one. Such a small number of companies make it beyond 5 years. Such a small number of companies even get funded or acquired. For every company featured on TechCrunch there are a hundred others that won't make it another 6 months. And to top that all off such a large number of marriage don't make it outside of Entrepreneurship, let alone within it.

Sure the stories about sleeping on the floor of your friends' apartment, almost having the lights turned off or wondering how to make next months mortgage payment are really inspiring when they come from Entrepreneurs who just closed a big round of funding or just hit the Inc. 500 list, but what about the rest of us?

Truth is sometimes the life of Entrepreneurship is just tougher than the drive to succeed can bear.

Hopefully you have a partner who can help you through those tough times.

Thankfully those nights don't last forever.

But don't be fooled. Those nights are rough. And they aren't always one time deals. And sometimes it's hard to make it through the dark side of Entrepreneurship.

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