When Running a Startup, You Never Slow Down


Certain parts of a job can get done with less effort or in less time after you’ve done them a dozen times. Case in point, the image above is from the canoeing scene in Fish Lake. The first time I played that part, I thought I’d never make it down the river without slamming my canoe into the rocks. Now, I can (usually) make it down the virtual waterway in one piece.

But one of the things I’ve learned about being an entrepreneur is it never gets easier. You might get faster at some skills — executing contracts or preparing for presentations — but in the time it takes you to become more efficient at those skills, you often find five more things have been added to your never-ending to-do list.

I was having a conversation with my husband, who is also an entrepreneur, and we were discussing the fact that so much of building a successful business is the sheer amount of unrelenting effort that goes into it. It’s about grinding away day after day. And it often feels like taking on a hydra. One task gets handled and four more pop up.

A few weeks ago, on the day of our summer site launch, I woke up on what I knew was going to be a very chaotic work day and thought, “If I get through today, it’s going to be a testament of sheer will, but after that, everything from here on out will seem like a breeze.” Needless to say, I made it through the day, our summer site launched and life has been anything but a breeze.

In fact, just two days after that, I did the math and realized I was entering a six-week stretch during which I would be on the road (with a baby, no less!) for 30 of the next 42 days. On top of that, I had a new staff member to hire train, the summer site to oversee, two new games that we’re working on, a podcast we’re launching, a new partnership with an after-school program to implement, a really exciting opportunity (we’ll share with you as soon as we can) to prepare for and then all of the other things that were already on my plate that didn’t just poof away because 10 more things came up. This is not a “woe is me, I’m so busy” post. It’s just a simple reflection on the realities of startup life.

 

Having a lot going on with your startup is a good problem to have. It’s certainly better than the alternative which is to have nothing going on and be on the verge of company collapse.

There’s a lot of cool things about running your own company. You get to do something you really are excited about. You can to pick the team you want around you. You get to see your ideas come to life. Sometimes, you even get to spend, at least part of your increasingly hectic days, doing fun things like trying to maneuver your CGI canoe through a rushing river.

No one ever says launching a company would be easy – but there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing. (Although, getting some more sleep does come in a close second.)

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