Perspective of the Day — Advice That Drives You Crazy

WHAT YOU FEEL: the advice that friends and family give you doesn’t make any sense to someone that wears your shoes

PERSPECTIVE: Friends, family and colleagues see our struggle and offer help in the form of advice, pearls of wisdom or a good drinking partner. What emerges is a common set of messages that are meant to be helpful, but makes our blood boil and say to ourselves “they don’t get it”:

Take a few days off. It’s good advice that none of us have ever taken. Do they understand all that needs to be done? Do they think the marketing materials will write themselves? It is incomprehensible that we could take a day much less a few days away from the business. In our mind, this would be the equivalent of abandoning a baby in the middle of Central Park on a Saturday afternoon in August.

Even if it doesn’t work, you’ve already been a success. Boy this pisses us off. This is what people say to losers. “Even if you lose, you are winners in my book.”

We don’t think enough about how we define success. In the mind of the entrepreneur, it has to be measured by an event or an achievement. This could be positive cash flow, going public, or selling the company. It can be many things, but it is not the fact that we have moved through the process. When people say this, it makes us feel like they are preparing us for an impending failure.

It should be easy to raise money. This is only spoken by people that have never raised money. It’s never easy to raise money. It is hard even in a well established business. In an early stage business, it is even harder. Combine new business models and unproven concepts with anything involving lawyers and “easy” is hardly the first thing that comes to mind. PowerPoint presentations, financial models, talking points, consistency with team members, valuation of a new business in a new market. Let me know what part of that is easy.

Go slow to go fast. This is great advice but who has time to go slow. If we slow down, the competition will pass us by.

If it is killing you, you should quit. Easy for you to say that. You haven’t invested your heart and soul into this.

You Get To Make Your Own Hours, Write Off Expenses and Take Vacation. That’s right. We get to make our hours — they become twenty-four hours per day. We get to write off expenses — but the money for your expenses are coming from our pocket. We can take vacation whenever we want — but haven’t even used the word vacation in years.

It used to drive me crazy when people would say these things. It turns out that many of them are correct. Don’t forget that the people saying these things are trying to help.

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