“The Stig” | Credit: Jesaja Hizkia

Faking The Dream

Every morning I wake up, I go to work and I tell the world that I’m an entrepreneur. Most of the time when doing that, I’m positive and oozing of ambition, so you’ll probably hear me say that everything is going really well: I’m happy and my business is growing.

You might look at that and think that I’ve got it all figured it out:

  • I founded a multimillion-dollar, global company, where I was CEO, before I stepped away.
  • Now I’m privileged enough to work on a new startup,where passion (and not money) is my primary pursuit.
  • I write often, have a good audience on my blog and there’s 16 000+ people following me on Twitter.
  • I wrote a book about (personal) branding, which is surely selling really well. As if I need the money.
  • I get invited to speak at conferences often and sometimes that even means being flown to far-away countries on all-expenses-paid trips.

And so that list goes on…

To the outside world, I’m convinced that this paints a picture of someone’s life, where they have everything figured out and have everything going for them. This is the life of someone that has his ducks in a row and has been so successful.

The reality is however a stark contrast to this picture.

I’m reminded of something that Jakub Nešetřil recently said at WebExpo at the end of his talk. Talking to the audience, he said:

“I know that many of you are scared (to do something / build a business) and you feel like an amateur. The reality is that I feel like a fucking amateur all the time.”

That sums up my life perfectly and I feel like this even more since I stepped away from WooThemes to work on a new startup.

See the thing is that many of your perceptions of me (and other entrepreneurs) are based on a facade of sorts. Whilst I wear my heart on my sleeve and I’m pretty transparent about what’s going on in my head (when I write), there is still a bravado that I maintain as part of this public image.

I keep up that facade or bravado, not because I want to deceive; but because I need to be strong and confident. Or at the very least, appear to be so for my friends, my team and my customers. My stress (and irrational fears / concerns) should not be their worry; for them, everything should be business as usual.

But meanwhile, I’m on this eternal rollercoaster ride, where my emotions switch between opposite poles often. I’m exhausted trying to mitigate these emotions to the extent that they don’t influence the decisions I make or at least, don’t influence the decisions my team has to make.

I don’t have all of my ducks in a row. I don’t have it all figured out. Most of the time, I’m absolutely scared shitless about this journey I started with PublicBeta and I’m really stressed about making a mess of this.

Even after going the extra mile to validate the idea, I’m concerned about building the wrong thing. I’m worried about the money running out before we build enough of a product and exposed it to enough people (to be cash-flow positive).

On top of that, I’m scared about what people will think if I do make a mess of this. Would they too think that I’m only a one hit wonder?

But done is better than perfect and that is why I’m living the dream. My dream.

And I wouldn’t exchange that dream for anything in the world.

For more essays on startups & entrepreneurship, subscribe to my email list and follow me on Twitter (@adii).



Currently working on Conversio (@getconversio). Previously: Co-Founder / CEO of @WooThemes. Also: New dad & ex-Rockstar. More at http://adii.me.

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Currently working on Conversio (@getconversio). Previously: Co-Founder / CEO of @WooThemes. Also: New dad & ex-Rockstar. More at http://adii.me.