The Enthusiasm Gap
Entrepreneurship is a ever-lasting sales pitch. From the time to start until the day you call it quits, you’ll find yourself trying to coax someone down some path. For most, it’s one of the most enjoyable parts of the journey, for others it’s the most frightening.
There are many kinds of “sales” made once you get going. Here’s just a bunch of the ones I’ve personally experienced:
- Pitching anyone who might be able to validate my idea
- Pitching my spouse for the green light to pursue my vision
- Pitching my co-founder to continue and/or change directions
- Pitching investors to invest in the future we see
- Pitching contractors and employees we are the future they should build
Oh, and at some point in time, you eventually have to:
- Pitch new customers to convince them that their problems dissolve base on your solution
- Pitch your customers that the next shiny object is just shiny
- Pitch partners that you will make their business better
So yeah, there’s a lot of pitching. But there’s a secret.
Most of us aren’t salespeople at all. We’d do horrible if put out in the world and told that our survival depended on how well we could sell Product X to customer y.
The secret is that we’re all passionate evangelists. We don’t sell our startups nearly as much as we believe, often to our own detriment, so blindly in what we’re doing that we can’t exude enthusiasm for it. It’s infectious and most people can’t resist that charm.
The real challenge, then, is not learning how to sell better (we can all benefit from that). No, the real challenge is to make sure there are no gaps in our enthusiasm.
The last thing you want in your startup is to be chasing the shadow of the dream you once had.