Note to reader: Starting a business is difficult. It is more difficult than you can imagine.
And not only is starting a business more difficult than you can imagine, it is difficult in ways that you can’t imagine.
The diverse ways that starting a business can be difficult is on my mind because this week I felt something in business that I hadn’t really felt over my years of entrepreneuring.
I felt alone.
I have a business that has been a source of considerable stress and struggle for me this week. A lot of what caused this stress and struggle involved decisions that were made by others, decisions outside my control. Those decisions involved full-scale rejection.
I will be able to discuss the situation in detail someday. I’m not there yet.
As things came to a boiling point, I realized that the life of the company depended solely on one person- me.
This is a rare situation for me because I have relied so much on business partners over the years. I currently have 13 active business partners. The impact they have had on my life cannot be overstated.
As the realization came to me, after clear and blatant rejection, I had this overwhelming feeling of complete loneliness. And it brought me to tears.
But here’s the thing, I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t alone at all.
I wasn’t alone in business. Several members of the team didn’t reject me and expressed their interest to “ride or die” with me.
And I wasn’t alone in my personal life. I share a house with a seven-pound guard dog and four humans. (And one of the humans, my three year-old daughter Olivia, just came by the glass doors of my office to say hi.)
Regardless of the actual people and support that I had, I still told myself that I was alone. It was a lie, but I believed it nonetheless.
So here’s the bad of being an entrepreneur:
- It is difficult
- It is lonely
- You will lie to yourself.
But, if you come in close, I will tell you something else I know about any entrepreneurial journey: the good outweighs the bad and it’s not even close. It’s more like the 1916 football game in which Georgia Tech beat Cumberland 222-0. (That’s not a joke, google it.)
In business, you will develop and learn more about yourself and what you are capable of than in any other endeavor. You will build deep and meaningful relationships that could not exist without your business. And you will experience and feel things that are unavailable elsewhere.
Oh, by the way, you can make a few bucks in the process.
A couple of things that I have learned recently are:
- Rejection is a sign of success.
- People don’t feel bad when bad things happen to successful people.
- The most damaging lies are the ones we tell ourselves.
Ultimately, the path of the entrepreneur is not really a path at all. It’s more of an excursion through the Amazon with a machete.
The good news is entrepreneurs weren’t born to traverse a well-worn path anyway.
Note to reader: Starting a business is rewarding. It is more rewarding than you can imagine.