I’m starting to really enjoy writing these posts. This isn’t something I thought I’d be saying when I started. I’ve always associated writing with work I didn’t want to do, something teachers forced upon me, or that had a rigid structure and deadline. In reality, I’m just not a big fan of rigid structures and authority (recurring theme anyone?).
This space doesn’t have any rules. I can change my mind in a flip second on the direction of a piece of even scrap this entire site if I want. There’s no ‘900 word minimum’ and no hard deadline (although I do like to try to keep to a rough weekly timing).
But anyway, I like this. On to the writing...
In my last post, I talked a bit about a recurring cycle I feel myself slipping into sometimes. Where I drift from highs to lows based on ideas and obstacles. Today I want to talk a bit about something I’ve dubbed the ‘rollercoaster’.
From what I’ve experienced so far, startups are great. You get to be your own boss, pave your own direction, break down conventional norms and hopefully make a lot of money along the way. But they’re also shit. Like really really shit. You’re constantly searching for direction or an answer to your problems, one that likely doesn't exist.
You lay awake in the middle of the night with your heart pounding wondering if you’re doing the right thing or going down the wrong path. It’s impossible to switch off sometimes and you dread the moment anyone asks you what you do.
What do you mean what do I do? I have no idea, how am I supposed to tell you?
It’s a life you’ve really got to love. And not just for the media version where everyone is having fun, eating pizza, and raising billions of dollars in their shorts. You have to love it for all the shit bits too.
This is where the rollercoaster metaphor comes in. You look at this rollercoaster and you’re like ‘Wow that looks cool’, and you see all these people getting off that are so pumped and happy with their experience. But what you don't see are all of the people that got hit by a tree half way around the track, or that walk away with a crippling sense of defeat and a large pile of debt.
90% of startups fail. This stat is thrown around a lot. It doesn't seem to deter people from trying. If I told you only 10% of people that got on a rollercoaster survived, would you get on? We all like to believe we're in the 10%. Especially people that start companies. In a way you kind of have to; self belief is incredibly important when you're trying to take over the world.
A stat I'd love to see instead is what percentage of people try again after they fail? I often hear founders say, if they knew what the journey was going to be like, they probably never would have started. I think this is a real signal of how difficult it really is.
The lows are incredibly low, but I've never been higher while trying to build a startup. I also feel like I've learned an incredible amount, not just about business, but about myself. I've been forced to grow and better myself as a person in so many ways. It's something so few people try to do. It's up and down. It throws you around like a rag doll....but I love it...
Maybe I’m overstepping my mark with all of this. I’ve only really been at this startup stuff for a little over a year and a half. I’m definitely no expert, these are just my thoughts. If I’m still writing this blog in 10 years maybe I’ll cringe at my naivety. Who knows? Who cares? Who even reads this thing?
Luckily, this section of the rollercoaster seems to be coming out of some neck straining upside down loopdy loops and is heading into a fun up, down, and round about bit (at least as far as I can see, the tracks are always foggy). I've been offered a great opportunity to work on something promising with some equally promising people. I'll talk a bit more about what exactly I'm going to be working on later, but for now just know, I'm really excited about it.
We're not quite at the 'throw your hands in the air and scream for the picture' bit yet, but things are definitely looking up. I'm looking forward to what the new year holds and the challenges it will present. I'm also looking forward to the rest of the rollercoaster, because for all of it's ups and downs, I wouldn't rather be doing anything else.
I'm going to have a good rest over Christmas and focus on tearing apart an old motorbike for fun. So don't be surprised if you don't hear from me until January. I hope you all have a very happy and safe holiday period and also get a well needed rest. 2020 has been a year to remember for mostly the wrong reasons, so give yourself a bit of slack and regroup.
Merry Christmas 🎅