Discouragement for future entrepreneurs

For those of you who are thinking of starting up your own company, know one thing — startups are incredibly difficult. Entrepreneurship is not exactly as romantic as it looks from the outside. Here are some of the things I have learnt from experiences of my own and of my entrepreneur friends.

1. Building a startup is a lot of hard work, much more than you would have ever imagined.

2. Your friends will get tired of asking you to come hang out with them and getting a ‘no’ all the time. Your ‘social’ circle will consist mostly of entrepreneurs.

3. Your conversations would revolve mostly around startups. Anything else would seem trivial to you. This will irritate you and your non-entrepreneur friends.

4. There’ll be times when you will feel lonely and disheartened. There’ll be days when it would get difficult for you to get out of bed. Here’s a great interview with AirBnB founder on this.

5. Your relationships with your loved ones will suffer. You will find much less time and put in much less effort to make them feel special.

6. Your parents won’t understand what you do. And when they ask you how much money you make or how much you save, you wouldn’t know what or how to answer it.

7. You will become very ambitious but you will get rejected over and over again.

8. After a point of time, your account balance will be low perennially.

9. Every press that your competitor gets will make you feel as if someone punched you in the stomach.

10. There’ll be doubters — a lot of them, even your friends, family and your loved ones.

11. At some point, the realities of life, like marriage, sickness, emergencies will come up and you will have to deal with it.

12. Your health and general fitness will deteriorate. You will stop taking care of yourself. You will eat shit food.

13. Those who believe in you will expect the world from you and when you fail, it is going to hurt.

14. You would wonder where the next month’s rent is going to come from. You will have to borrow money from friends and family.

15. You will go to a lot of meetings which you’d be excited about but they’d eventually come to nothing.

16. Your lifestyle will change - there’ll be much lesser drinking out or travelling out of station. Going out to watch movies would be a rare event.

17. You will spend your weekends at work.

18. You won’t get good sleep. Sometimes, you will lie awake in bed, thinking of all the stuff you have to do. One of my friends actually speaks Android code in his sleep.

19. There will be disputes between you and your co-founders, sometimes ugly ones.

I don’t want to tone down this post by saying that it is easy to handle these problems because these are very real things that might happen to you, so be prepared. This is not to discourage anyone but to warn people who are getting into it because they have a romantic notion of entrepreneurship in their head and are unaware of the challenges that come up.

Get into it only if you enjoy solving the problem you’ve taken up. Don’t do it unless you enjoy the whole drill, the extremes of emotions, the roller-coaster journey. Do it because you’d rather not do anything else.

I do it because this is what puts my heart at rest.

Additional reading:

The blood, sweat and tears of living the startup life

Romantic lies about passion and entrepreneurship