I haven’t really blogged since I got back from Peru. Well, I have, but it has been for the startup I have been working for over the last 9 months @FiveStarsCard. Just because I haven’t blogged, doesn’t mean my life has become any less exciting. In fact, I haven’t had time to sleep let alone post a reflection of what my life has been over the past few months…
I had no idea what it takes to start a company. Late nights out of a living room, a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (ok, none of those really), and a good group of people. At the end of the day, it hasn’t been easy… Realistically, it is one of the most challenging things I have ever done. The best metaphor to working in a startup is running a marathon at a sprint pace. All the training in the world won’t prepare you for the emotional, mental and physical investment of getting a great idea off the ground. And to beat the competition, you have to run faster than you have run for longer than you have ever run.
So here is what I have learned:
- Your 100% isn’t quite enough. At one point it was. Maybe in college. Maybe in a 9 to 5. But in the startup world, all you previously felt you had to give isn’t quite sufficient to do what is necessary. You have to rise to the challenge and make efforts above what you previously thought your were capable of.
- You have to learn to work both smarter and harder. Busy work doesn’t exist in a startup. Neither does “spinning your wheels”. If you are doing the same thing day in and day out without results, you are doing something wrong. Revise your approach until you find something that works!
- Get innovative. If you are in a startup, you are an entrepreneur. Don’t expect others to think for you and don’t expect the answers to just drop into your lap. Actively search for creative solutions to any and all problems that you encounter.
- Rest strategically. If you work a 100 – 120 hour weeks back to back, your actual productivity will being to decline over time. Taking a break from the day to day allows you to take a step back from your challenges and think about them more creatively.
- You can’t do it alone! Surround yourself with people you can trust and rely on. People that will both help you through all the difficulties that the startup life brings.
Just my reflections on the last few months working with @FiveStarsCard! Do you work with a startup? What has been your experience? Do you have any other advice?