5 things I’ve learnt about the startup mentality

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You either have it in you or you don’t, at least that’s how I feel about all things startup/entrepreneurial. There are many newly famous startup leaders who speak about the hustle, being resilient, having a go-getter attitude and doing XYZ to become a success.

It can be exhausting. And it should be.

Ten months ago I not only moved cities but started a company with my husband on the same day. I know right. I hated working for ‘the man’ and ever since my first job I constantly had mental comebacks like “You want me to do what? For how much money?” or “Yes, I am having lunch with my family but how I can help you with YOUR problem?”. So I pulled the proverbial plug and almost a year later can say I’ve learnt more about myself, about business as a whole and what grit it takes to keep going than I did the past 30 years, at school and at work (blegh!).

There’s no more looking forward to the weekend

Is today Tuesday? I don’t know. All I know is that work needs to be done and I get it done. Shitty weather on a Sunday? Work. Gorgeous weather on a Wednesday? Beach. I quite like it this way.

I now look forward to quiet time with my husband, workouts or taking my bulldog puppy for a walk. The best part, there’s no more of that Sunday hit-you-right-in-the-gut anxiety that makes you want to vomit at the thought of seeing your greasy sales manager the next day. Every tomorrow is Monday and that’s cool.

Not everyone was built for this hustle

Maybe because I was NEVER asked to dance at high-school discos that I must have built some form of rejection resistance but being your own boss, trying to run a company, keep existing clients happy while trying to find news ones is bloody not for the feint hearted. Tie that in with getting 10–20 no’s before even your first maybe. What was I thinking?

A lot of people might say they want to be entrepreneurs, until they see what it involves. Just recently, we offered a position to someone at a fairly decent startup salary (remember we’re not Rockefellers yet). It came with internet, an awesome office, all the tech and gadgets you could need as well as much free-time as needed. We don’t do leave cycles or have working hours, it’s a pretty good deal I think. But when we told this person that they could make as much money as they wanted, they just needed to go out there and find the business, we got the response that they’re going to stick to a 9–5. Fine.

Your friends and family are going to think you’re mad

New business, new city, new puppy, same adoring husband. It sounded great to me but not everybody understood the need to create our own destiny. The truth is, they probably never will no matter how big of an empire you build.

I am never going to work for anyone again. Get used to my crazy work hours, my incessant checking of my phone and my annoying love of Snapchat, it’s my job.

You will (probably) drink too much

I’ve always loved cooking, eating and drinking. The latter was usually used as an after-work wind-down while talking about how much I hated working for ‘the man’. Since I followed the entrepreneurial way drinking became a means of staying sane. One bottle of wine became two and there was often a couple whiskey nightcaps to top it off. Looking back it didn’t do well for my energy levels or attention span but living hungover almost became habit.

Luckily for us, I’m too stubborn to let something like booze beat me so have now made a pact with myself (and it’s yet to broken!) that Monday — Thursday nights are no-go-zones. I wake up fresh and work furiously. Friday nights, it doesn’t matter. And yes I did say that weeks and weekends are a blur but this way I’ve almost created a means to help me decipher what day of the week it is. Also helps with rubbish day.

You’ll never look back

I know I won’t. Once you’ve tasted the sweet elixir of making your own decisions, deciding (luckily) which clients you will and won’t work with and how you’re going to mould the rest of your life — you’ll realise you were born for this. It makes the shitty days bearable.

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