Looking at startups from the outside, it’s easy to assume the startup game is just that, a game. A game with big winners and glorious and rapid rises to the top. Of billion-dollar valuations and worldwide conquests. Of apps serving hundreds of millions of people and liquidity to ensure glory for one’s heirs for generations to come.
But entrepreneurship is not a game, and the vast majority of the time spent on the journey(one I have and do live, embrace and love to my core) is a slog, spent dealing with pain and strife and conflict. Essentially, it’s:
- Customers that don’t convert.
- Senior people who leave.
- Champions at partner companies who leave their jobs before the contract is signed and leave you to start over again.
- Founders who disagree.
- Tech that fails to scale.
- Key positions that seem impossible to hire.
- Big companies that keep you from hiring their people by giving them bonuses 5X what you were offering to pay them when they agreed to join you.
- Bills that outgrow resources.
- Payroll that haunts you just beyond your ability to pay it without another round of capital.
- Financings that don’t close, or take far longer than expected.
- Competitors that get the press you deserved for work less compelling than your own.
To name just a few that come to mind. The entrepreneurial journey is hard. It’s just plain hard.