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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Year of Entrepreneurship

Wow, what a year!

As I write this I have no doubt that 2014 will go down as the hardest year of my life, period.

That is saying a lot, I know. Hard to quantify too. But the challenges that I faced this year were so deep and overwhelming that I have no doubt what I am saying above is true.

Everyone goes through hard times and I am no stranger to them. But the challenges of this year really tested me to the core, to who I am, what I am capable of and what I can tolerate and still move forward.

After leaving my corporate job in 2013 and going into business for myself I had no doubt there were challenges ahead. But there is no way that you can get a clear idea of what’s coming until you are facing it. Many days I felt like I could not go on. And of course the allure of quitting is always sitting in the back of my head.

The Hillary Step. The last hard section climbers face before
getting to the summit of Mt. Everest.

I wish this was one of those blog posts you read in so many of the entrepreneurial blogs out there where I tell you how I left my job, started my own business and now I am free from the “man” and making a ton of money and I am so much happier, blah, blah, blah….

I am not happier now than I was when I was in corporate America.

There, I said it.

I am however, without a doubt, more content with my lifestyle and feel satisfied that I have created my own business, that I am in control of my day to day life and that, for better of for worst, I have control of where I end up tomorrow.

What has been so tough about this year is how emotionally powerful the challenges of this year have been. To feel scared, anxious, stressed, worried (in the same day) over and over again, throughout a whole year was something new to me. I can tell you that I did not deal very well with it emotionally.

I felt myself getting depressed, lost way too much sleep night after night, my mood changed, my enjoyment of life really went down. If you asked me to summarize in one word what I did this year it would be: work.

I feel that’s all I do and everything else comes second. I know this is not a unique situation and there are plenty of stories out there of successful entrepreneurs that logged 80 hour weeks for who knows how long until they “made it” whatever that means. The big difference for me is that I do not know if I am going to “make it”.

So I find it a big leap of faith to keep on logging the 60 hour weeks, 12+ hour days, week in and week out without no assurance or even feeling that I am going to “make it”.

Don’t get me wrong, I am significantly farther ahead than I was at this point last year. I have built a book of clients, I have been profitable every month I have been in business. I have established relationships with clients and vendors. I have a sales pipeline, repeating customers and proposals out with potential customers. 

Maybe my "worrier" attitude is not letting me fully appreciate the progress I have made and where it will take me. But like I have written before I am a person that likes stability and security. Even if that security is only an illusion, I still like it.

Throughout this whole journey I have been reminded how fortunate I am of having the unconditional support of a wife that loves me and is willing to put up with this shit out of deep and true love. So she has taught me what being a partner truly is. I am also blessed by having other people around me that believe in me.

Is this what the path of entrepreneurship before success is supposed to look like?

Am I at the Hillary Step, that last hard and dangerous section in Mt. Everest climbers face right before getting to the summit? Or am I still waaay down in the mountain with the hardest sections still to come?

Am I fooling myself thinking that I am making progress when I am just one bad month away from going out of business?

I got no idea. I don’t know what is going to happen...

The only alternative I got left is to get up every day and make a choice…fold or keep moving forward. My intention tomorrow is to keep moving forward. 

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