Have you ever heard about the entrepreneurial rollercoaster? Doesn’t matter if you’re just starting your journey or years along the way, it is the bane of the entrepreneur’s existence.
The highs are very high and the lows just feel like the end of the world. Every time. The bad news is that there is no way around it. The good news is that we can control it to some extent.
Last week I left about 10-12 calls unanswered on my phone, and I never called back. If by misfortune this was you, you probably got an email back from me instead and I apologize for not taking your call.
Paul Graham is a renowned programmer and wildly successful venture capitalist. He also happens to be a talented writer.
This is some great advice.
Do you want to break out of the corporate world? Or build a lifestyle business around what you love? How about building the next instagram? Whatever your motivation is, your idea is worth millions if executed right.
I’ve been running Ideaware for the past 4 years, and for the last 2 years I’ve been lucky enough to work directly with entrepreneurs (they’re either Ideaware clients or at a personal level) on how to turn their idea into a profitable venture.
Now, the real power of your business or startup idea lies not only on the idea itself but also your motivation, beleiving and execution. Here’s why they are so important:
The most important question you need to ask yourself is why. Seriously, stop right now and think, why are you building this new idea? Profit/money is a motivator but it will burn out quickly. Your real why lies around a passion you have. Is it helping others? Is it solving a real world problem? Will your idea help millions of people live better lives?
Finding your why is step one. Your why is your motivation. Write it down and read it every day.
There’s that tired old saying: Ideas are a dime a dozen. And they are. We all have hundreds of ideas on a weekly basis, but act on almost none of them. Why? Many reasons, but in the end it’s because you probably didn’t believe in your idea. It is very important that you believe HARD in your idea and are willing to stand behind it. Times are going to get tough in the entrepreneurial journey and if you don’t believe in yourself, once again, you are going to burn out quick.
Are you motivated enough? Do you believe in your idea’s success with your heart and soul? Good, now go do it. Or as my friend Dan Martell says: Just fucking do it (JFDI). Don’t stop, hustle and work hard. Executing, building and marketing your idea puts you on the top 10% of entrepreneurs who actually create something. Everyone else is just an “entrepreneur”.
Building businesses & ideas is not an easy task, be ready to fly high in enthusiasm one day and hit the ground hard the next day. This is why it is so important to stay motivated and believing in yourself. It will keep you executing. And executing is where your success lies.
…and one more thing
Join me on Periscope next Friday August 28th @ 9am PST for a 10 minute session on how to validate your idea and get to market fast. Don’t forget to Add it to your calendar!
Want to add anything on how to build and idea? BAM comment below!
One of the big realizations I’ve come across running the agency is that clients are just as scared as you when starting a project.
There are many reasons to be iffy when you start a project, mine in particular are usually along the lines of: Will we deliver the best quality work? Will we be able to turn a profit? Is the projected timeframe enough?
Clients on the other hand may have tens or hundreds of reasons to worry when they engage with you. To name a few:
- Did I hire the right freelancer/company/agency?
- Will this project stay within budget?
- Will he/she/they meet our deadline?
- Will he/she/they be able to build what we want?
- Will we see any ROI from this engagement?
If there’s one thing you could do to appease the relationship with your new (or old) client, communication is it.
Be transparent, talk, ask, do whatever it takes to take control of the situation and show the client they are getting their money’s worth. Show them how you work, what they’ll get, send them updates, don’t be a black box.
There is really no trick or gimmick. Just communicate, daily or twice a day even. You’ll have happy clients that I guarantee will send you more work.
Just last week I came across an article written by Paul Boag from Headscape aptly titled You Are Not A Machine. You Are Not Alone. I really encourage you to read it.
Paul discusses a silent struggle that many of us battle with on a daily basis: overworking, stressing, keeping to ourselves, bearing too much, the list goes on.
I agree with him that there is something wrong with the industry: we are expected to work 24/7 to just barely stay competitive. When this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
We need time off, and it’s ok. It’s as simple as that.
Overworking, long hours, stressing and not having any means to vent is not only unproductive but very dangerous for our mental health.
The current state of mind that we need to work all day, all week and be available via email, IM or whatever other means 24/7 is wrong.
We are only human, we need to disconnect. We need leisure. We need time to sit in our boxers and watch all of the ‘Friends’ re-runs from time to time.
I’d like to end this post with my favorite paragraph from Paul’s article:
This post gives you permission. Permission to stop being a machine and become a human being. Permission to spend some days in your pants watching daytime TV rather than working. Permission to be honest about your fears and stresses. Permission to tell somebody you are struggling and get help.
About a year ago, I was in Miami with the team working with a client from LA. Just before we left he walked up to me and said:
“Max, you’re the James Bond of web design. You travel around the world saving one product at a time. Thank you.”
He didn’t realize how much his words meant to me – and probably hasn’t to this day. It was at that moment that I realized I was doing things right, that’s the exact reason on why I started the agency.
There should always be a reason on why we’re doing what we’re doing. And equally important that reason needs to be measurable.
What’s your reason? Why are you doing it?
As far as I know there is no holy grail of things you should do to make a company successful. Follow your intuition, your passion, be true to yourself and others and most importantly surround yourself with the right people.
But every know and then you realize there’s something worth remembering. Here’s five things I always keep in the back of my head:
You have to give it 110%
You have to work & hustle, period. There are no shortcuts, you can learn to delegate but everyone depends on you.
It’s a marathon, not a race
No such thing as overnight success, keep at it.
You will mess up
I used to beat myself up every time I messed up. Then you just realize we’re all human and make mistakes. Embrace your mistakes and hold yourself accountable.
You will fail
You will fail, a lot. It’s part of getting somewhere, there is no golden path. We all need to walk the wrong path to realize it’s not the right one.
Don’t worry too much about competition
I never obsessed too much about competition. It’s a good thing. But I see some of my colleagues obsessing too much, it’s almost sickening. You have to stop, focus on what you’re doing.
The topic of the future of work-life balance has been catching my interest lately. I’m always looking for creative ways both to run a company and motivate myself and my team.
But, will we ever find the perfect balance? I’m not sure. But the future looks pretty exciting if you ask me.
We’re already living in a post-industrial society (defined as that point where revenue from services generates more wealth than manufacturing) and the fact that a lot of service industry jobs rely on just access to a computer, opens up a lot of doors.
For a couple of years now there has been a lot of discussion and books around the 4-day workweek, the 3-day workweek and remote work. Forbes posted a great article last year on the benefits of cutting the workweek short.
So we’re talking about a not so distant future where we work 4 or even 3 days out of the week. Or maybe there will be no schedules. Many companies are now shifting to a result-driven approach instead of the usual nine to fiver. The remote work movement has gained tremendous support over the last two years.
Combine everything and we get 3-4 day workweeks, where we manage our schedules and work from home (or wherever we want). Everyone may not be ready for it, but I honestly think that’s where we are heading.
A great deal of compromise, dedication and responsibility is required by a company and it’s employees to accomplish such a feat, but then again in today’s world these should never be overlooked by anyone.
Since my son was born, my family has required more of my time than before. I expected that, just not this much time! I’m in a spot right now where I think I’ve found a good balance. I work, I hustle and I do it wherever I am. I schedule work hours around the time my family needs me around.
And even though there’s so much to do, I’ve also managed to make time to relax, enjoy a glass of wine with my wife before bed and even got back to playing xbox online with my friends.
Here’s the punchline: my company is doing better than ever. Sitting down 9-5pm on a desk does not equal productivity.
My mind has shifted now towards the industry as a whole. Is it time for a big shift? I think so. Both companies and employees should be aligned to each others needs.
I’m seriously considering a mix of remote work and reduced workweek for the agency (but don’t tell anyone who works there, yet.).
Have you experienced, worked or implemented a work-life mindset shift? I’d love to know!