The stuff that entrepreneurs are made of


I have mentioned this in previous posts but I cannot stop emphasizing how entrepreneurship is about setting priorities and this means sacrifices. Summarized:

Entrepreneurship is about sacrifices, if you are not willing to make sacrifices, you should not try to become an entrepreneur.

I can tell a lot of anecdotes of cofounders and startup employees complaining that their girlfriend complains for their long work schedules or using every little flu as an excuse to take sick days or regularly leaving work early (with early I mean before 9pm at an early stage startup or 7pm at a more mature/European one) using family/partner/girlfriend problems as a justification. If you see that type of situations or YOU are that situation,then you should ask yourself if the level of commitment and sacrifice you and your team are willing to take is high enough. Someone once said:

Entrepreneurship is going through a tough valley to come out at a great valley.

and this is so true. Yet, very difficult to accept…

Personally, I rarely get sick (good nutrition, good genes, exercise, a mix of all of them) and since I am 15 years old I have never had sick days for more than 1 day per year. I try to adjust my lifestyle so I can perform better (less party in exchange for more sleep or additional physical activity in the morning). In general, the only days, where I was not at the office, were holidays.

However, my experience says that this is a very rare exception. Even people I worked closely with (cofounders, team mates, etc) would show behavior patterns, which I describe as “low sacrifice will / not high commitment.

Obviously, this type of commitment comes at a cost: Friends and family complain that I do not spend time with them, I lost a serious relationship because I started to neglect it, I have little time for hobbies and other activities, and so on.

Real entrepreneurship is very, very, very hard and requires a lot, lot, lot of hard work and often sacrifice to arrive to the final goal. There are no sunshine entrepreneurs, there are no lucky entrepreneurs.

Hard work and a lot of sacrifices are the stuff that real entrepreneurs are made of. Remember this next time you say/write/hear/read things such as “Not today”, “I cannot”, “I am sick”, “My girlfriend will kill me if”. Yes, you can! You just have to go the extra mile if you want to win.

Be a role model for your peers and subordinates, foster this mindset in your company, and everyone will follow.