A few weeks ago, my friend told me that I was lucky to be doing a startup because “everybody wants to be doing a startup right now.” It’s apparently the “in thing.”
Of course, everybody wants to be doing a startup because they don’t actually know what goes into doing a startup. Don’t get me wrong, I love running this company, but it’s not easy.
When people hear startup, they see glitzy IPOs and bajillion dollar valuations. They don’t consider the vast majority of startups fail (we’re not going to) or that you are now responsible for other people’s livelihoods. They don’t see that you get paid last and (often) least. It’s about hustling to get sales [Blatant plug: Buy a game now!] and schmoozing to get funding and stressing about all of it (while trying to play it cool).
In fact, if all goes according to plan — and in the startup world, it rarely does — the next seven days will mark the first time I’ve slept in my bed for a week straight since the 4th of July.
Without question, there’s nothing else I would rather be doing. (Actually that’s a little bit of a lie, because if I had a magic lamp with a genie, I would probably wish that all the startup hustle was over and that 7 Generation Games was a finely running machine that required nothing more than me calling to check in once a day and otherwise laying on the beach with umbrella drinks. But until that day…) Not just working for, but literally building, a company you believe in is rewarding. Being able to try to shape a better future is exciting.
There are a lot of superlatives that I could use to describe the last couple of years with a startup. (There are also a few expletives.)
But the one word I would never use is “easy.”
There’s never a break, and it’s never enough. At the end of the day, you often (almost always) feel like you didn’t accomplish as much as you wanted with a hydra-esque to-do listm where you check one item off and nine more appear in its place. But, as I have found myself saying regularly, it’s better to have a growing startup where a million things are going on and need to be dealt with than a failing company where things are stalled or falling apart.
As my mom has always said about anything worth achieving, “If it was easy, everyone would do it.”
Thank you for sharing your truth! Its inspiring to know my hero, Dr. Mars and her family are working a start up together. I love telling people about the tourist visa program, and encouraging people to visit your site. I am hoping some of the parents I know would sign up. When I can afford it, I am planning to buy some products. I hate that I can’t afford to sponsor a classroom right now. I love the blogs here, as you guys are just so funny! I totally understand and love what you say about how you pay yourself least, the hard work, and getting no sleep, because its true. I am sitting at my ranch store right now in the office waiting on the last set of customers dropping by for Christmas pre Black Friday pick ups. I want to go to pure internet store just because it gets old waiting for customers to show up, and they typically show up late, and want to buy my books or old furniture. I found delivering local has cut that down for me, for a extra fee of course. Pretty much I’m always asked have you build your site yet? When are you going to move your location? Are you going to quit your store? Or how I need to get back to school, and get a real job. I find after ten years the only difference is 85% of the hometown plants that were there my whole life has sold out, got shut down, or moved to other location. The local papers have been a study of this latest company shutting down and the job fair for their laid off employees. Having a family start up it seems is the only way to make sure you got job security. Pretty much all the people I know that have degrees typically work outside their degrees to survive. It makes sense that starts up would seem a thing to people on the outside, as more and more degreed people are having to work day jobs and find monetary outlets for what they love to do. If I had taken the advice given to me I’d be laid off with no job right now. Ironically enough, I’m having to get a town job, to move my brand, just to secure the store lease. What a problem to have. The to do list never stops, but you can schedule sleep deep times. Keep up the good work, and I got you all in my prayers.
I feel ya.