Not everyone is born to be an entrepreneur. It takes an incredible amount of hard work, and dealing with the highs and lows is not for the faint of heart. Marc Andreessen, a legendary entrepreneur turned venture capitalist, famously said that when it comes to starting a company, “You only ever experience two emotions: euphoria and terror. And I find that lack of sleep enhances them both.”
It’s true that there are ups and downs in every situation, but as an entrepreneur, the responsibility stops with you. How do you deal with that?
Celebrate Wins. When you have something good happen, remember to pause and enjoy the adrenaline rush and the moment. That said, there’s no time to bask in it. The next day, you need to be working on the next step for your startup.
Learn from setbacks. When you have something bad happen, realize that it’s OK to fully embrace it as a setback. At the same time try very hard to discern the lessons that come from the experience, and don’t just focus on the severity of the issue. Also keep in mind that most things look and feel far worse than they really are.
Keep getting better. You have to have a firm idea of what success looks like. It may be getting a product shipped, or landing that first customer or raising a round of funding—all of which you should celebrate and feel good about. But very quickly you need to ask, now what? Because one shipping product, one customer, or one round of funding is very likely not enough to truly succeed in a startup. The best entrepreneurs always take a long-term view and always think beyond the immediate win.
It’s not always easy being an entrepreneur, but ultimately it is very rewarding to be the CEO of your own destiny. I believe Eddy Lu, founder of Grubwithus, expressed the feeling of being an entrepreneur well in my book: “It’s a lot more work and pressure, but I’m happier…. I work harder than I ever did, but I don’t think about it as work because it’s fun to me and I want to make something cool.”
In other words, the ride is worth it.