A Fighter’s Bandaged Hands. (from here)

💵 🎉 🍺 📈 🎯 And other emojis of The Startup Life

Yeah, not quite, innit?

Abhishek Agarwal
Pen | Bold Kiln Press
3 min readSep 7, 2017


So commented (on a LinkedIn post last week), that she’d like to write (and read) about the emotional journey and battles of being a founder. Here you go.

[Also, this is me only sharing the downs of it. I am blessed enough to also have a fair and large share of ups, and moments of unbridled joy. And it has all been 100% worth it.]

  • On the tenterhooks of breaking down, but you have to take a tele-interview. And you go on to sell your vision to that awesome person to convince him to join at 70% of his market salary.
  • Suffer the embarrassment of your ex-work colleagues being able to tell that you’ve lusted for the 5* (expensive) meal you’re having with them.
  • Picking up sachets of tea from a fancy office, to get them back to yours — cos who knows, your team may like the rare treat, or even better, someone checking your co-working space out may just dig it.
  • Telling the whole world how its awesome that you stay in office and have zero commute time — which it is! But also to convince yourself that getting a place for yourself nearby is a poor choice. Why? Rent.
  • Minimalism is a great discipline. It also makes all forms of cutting down lifestyle costs seem super fancy and sexy af.
  • Pleading Red Bull to send over those free cans, because lord knows you miss it, and P&L knows you can’t afford it.
  • Asking your most valued team members to take an IOU in place of a salary for that month.
  • Hitting your dog, when he growls at you at being woken up. And then hating yourself for taking out work stress on him, and breaking down.
  • Telling yourself it isn’t that cold (and bathe with regular tap water). Or that it isn’t that hot (and not use the AC); all because electricity bills have been rising.
  • Crossing the line of misusing a friends’ favour and kindness (& jugaad) that got you free cab rides. ‘Cos god-damnit surge is expensive, and time is major opportunity cost.
  • Watch prized team mates go on to other opportunities, because it truly is for their best. Try be happy for them while wondering just how(!) you will manage.
  • Finding ways to ask clients to be prompt on payments while continuing to be respectable (and hold yourself together).
  • Smile, as much as you can, as often as you can. When it is the hardest to. Team morale is a thing.
  • Equate people to costs or value. And dislike yourself for it.
  • Equate time spent with people to costs. And this one is worse.
  • Not being able to maintain friendships and relationships. Some need too much time. Some mean major expenses. Some…you just can’t.
  • Being insecure when someone special to you has a good time with someone else. & then hate yourself for not being able to make the time + expense (without mulling on it) to go have a good time.

PS. None of the above are hypothetical or made up. These are all truths from my life. I call a spade a spade.

This is the startup life, for me. I chose it. I love it. I would not have it any other way. It’s worth it.
If the world were to end at this moment; It’d have been worth every bit of it.

What is it, for you, the startup life?



Abhishek Agarwal
Pen | Bold Kiln Press

Founder & GP Appreciate Capital | via SHEROES, Ninjacart | ex-Entrepreneur (@BoldKiln) | IIM Ahmedabad, IIT Delhi | Runner, Triathlete