When it came to creating a company, I had no idea the amount of work it would be. Especially for really small start ups you’re wearing multiple hats; from sales, project management, designing, developing, administrative duties, the list goes on. If only I had two more hands, or could telepathically get things done, that would be a lifesaver thrown down from the heavens. I’ll keep wishing.
The Startup Life = No Life
My hat tips to everyone has started their own company or who has taken part in the startup company. There’s no such thing as a day off, or vacation. It’s always work, work, work and go-go-go in the startup life. If you look in my trash can it’s scratch drawings and different size cans of redbull. We live off caffeine – and love to go fast. When we’re not drinking energy drinks it’s coffee, if not chasing one with the other.
When you’re a part of the startup life you have no life outside of work. You’re always working, from networking at the local Starbucks getting your morning coffee to lying in bed thinking of all the things you have to do in the morning. It’s ALWAYS on your mind. But that’s not necessarily always a bad thing. I’ve met some of the greatest people in my life in our startup.
Separating Work From Real Life
It is a problem although when it starts to take a toll on your health. Already being an insomniac combined with wearing a bunch of hats in a startup – you can easily wear down your health fast. Some days I’d sleep 4-6 hours and weekends (days when the phone wasn’t ringing) catching up on sleep – something had to give.
Living in Southern California you might think sandy beaches and clear skies. I happen to live in rural Southern California, and I can’t remember the last time I put my feet in the sand, sadly. I tried not looking at my computer for a weekend and that was a disaster. Monday morning rolled around and I had 315 unchecked emails, I played my entire Monday catching up. I couldn’t just say “I’m not going to open my computer and check emails or respond to customers for the weekend” – after all, we strive on providing the best customer service possible.
So what was the give? I decided to answer all my messages and get as much work done before the wifey woke up, go outside and do something, and then again when I got home for the day. Staring at a computer screen 10-16 hours in a room can wear on your sanity. After all, I am blessed to live in SoCal, so why not enjoy the scenery.
In the life of a startup it can be difficult to separate real life and work at times, but it has to be done, and it’s a fine art. It’s not something that can be taught, it’s something that has to be conditioned. You have to learn to “unplug” – relax, rest, and recharge, otherwise it will start to wear on your health as it did mine in the past.
Risk vs Reward
The best part about living the life of the startup is the reward, but it’s also a risk too. If someone had to describe the job position at a startup before they joined it might say something like “Long hours, little or no pay, can’t give you a job title because you’ll be doing so many, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel and an oasis with everything you can dream, we just have to get there” – Would you take it?
It’s Not For Everyone
The startup life is definitely a Risk vs Reward situation. There’s huge risk in any startup with great rewards if it works out. And it’s not for everyone. Those that need a consistent paycheck or someone telling them what to do M-F 8-5pm looking over their shoulder should steer clear. The startup life is you being your own boss; it takes dedication, commitment, and the willingness to work long hours for a greater rewards in the end. I don’t want to scare anyone from starting up their own business but if you can’t commit to those type of things then the startup life may not be for you.