Let’s face it, sometimes being an entrepreneur sucks. It’s hard work, usually with very little pay. At times it can be terrifying, isolating and for whatever reason, it always feels as if some disaster is looming on the horizon. Why the hell do we do it?
I guess it is a form of sickness. Many people identify problems or see needs going unmet. However, entrepreneurs can’t let sleeping dogs lie. We are compelled to find solutions or meet unmet needs. It is like a tractor beam pulling us forward and away from the quote-unquote security of a typical career. I don’t know of any way to stop it nor do I think we should. What I do feel is important is to talk about the fact that what we do is scary, stressful and has an impact on our relationships and families.
I feel that we romanticize entrepreneurship. Don’t get me wrong, 90% or more of it is awesome. To do something that creates real change has a meaningful impact and is something we birth is incredible. However, like everything else in life, it does have a dark side. I think that as a community we too often turn a blind eye to that reality.
It hit me a couple of weeks ago when we hosted a founders’ dinner in New York City. It is great when we come together at industry events but, it is rare that we sit together and talk about life. When we do, it is intense and cathartic.
It is super important, in my opinion, that we talk about this dark side to one another. We need to admit that there are times when we feel vulnerable and isolated. It is good to share that we have moments of doubt when we wonder if we are capable of doing this and worry about letting people down.
It is not my intent to pen a “woe is us” article, but as entrepreneurs, we do carry a ton of burdens. That is just a fact. In the hundreds of conversations that I’ve witnessed between founders, it is a fact rarely discussed. That needs to change.
So, my hope by outing this, by putting words to this reality, is that we encourage one another to have this conversation. We must begin to recognize and accept that we are not alone in those dark moments. I write a lot about empathy as a powerful instrument of brand building. However, it is equally as powerful when it comes to friendship and community. Who better to understand it than fellow entrepreneurs?
I am not sure how we do this, but I think it is essential that we find a mechanism to bring us together to have these conversations. It could be a founders’ forum online, a monthly virtual mastermind group, or even just a buddy system. I am open to suggestions. Given what I do, I have a rare seat and probably have these conversations more often than most. So, at the very least, I can offer you empathy and a willing ear. Thanks for reading.