It’s a wonderful feeling to be on a roll when you’re an entrepreneur. Everything’s going your way, “Eye of the Tiger” is playing on radio, and the world seems like it’s nothing more than your playground.
The question is, how do you keep the momentum going? When you’re on a roll, is it possible to keep it that way?
I’ve been on the exciting but excruciating journey of funding and starting up Qeryz, a SaaS company. Every day that passes me by is a day of money burned away soothed with a hope of getting closer to ROI. However when you’re trading solid, hard earned cash for a hope you’re not even completely sure of, it gets a little unnerving.
Perhaps someday I’ll be able to hold my head high when we finally hit our revenue goal. Perhaps someday I’ll be able to sit back, relax and move on to another start-up. But until that day, I’m on a sailing ship in uncharted waters – braving unforeseen storms while drinking from its rainfall.
The funny thing is, people will be able to see your success and your smiles. The media will highlight it. The press will zoom in on it. But what really matters is what happened before – all the anxiety, fears and tears you’ve bled. And yet, at the end of it all, when you’re finally “there” – it’s what will really make you look back and smile and feel a sense of fulfillment.
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I believe that brilliance comes in sprints. As a writer, I get that whiff of awesome ideas every once in a while. I jot it down my notebook or put it in Evernote. Most people are aware that great ideas come seldom and “opportunity only knocks once”. What they don’t know is that those ideas are really not what will win the race.
90% of businesses fail. And not because they didn’t have an awesome idea – in fact, it’s the opposite. 90% of businesses start up with the founders having an ‘awesome idea‘ to run with. The reason why they fail is that they think sprinting with that idea is all that matters.
Sprinters don’t win the start-up race. Marathoners do.
That awesome idea can’t fuel you all the way. Endurance comes in all sorts and sizes. I’ve seen entrepreneurs who do not have an awesome idea and yet they’re able to make it – and make it big – just because they were able to pace themselves, endure the heat, take the hits and run and run and run.
They don’t stop. They have momentum – no matter how slow they’re moving, they are moving.
Guys who are workaholics – who neglect family, work-life balance, social responsibility – they stumble and fall somewhere along the way. Sure they may say, “I’ve had a good run.” But they never win big.
It’s the guys who run steady who are able to have the endurance to run til the end. They draw their strength from family, friends, fellow entrepreneurs, social and spiritual fulfillment and contributions. These are guys who are not just ‘all about work’ – guys who are not all about that one ‘awesome idea’.
Lows and Highs
I’ve been low. Yep. Just recently in fact.
There’s something that just struck me – I couldn’t explain it as well but here’s the root of it all: I felt unproductive. As if the pace I was going has come to a screeching halt. Was it my fault? Perhaps. I let some things get in the way of my supposed working hours.
You see, when you’re “on a roll“, you find yourself needing to work. Needing to push the flywheel. Needing the momentum.
I wasn’t able to do that – and it was just one day.
Thank God for my wife who prayed for me that night. She made me feel that it was alright. That tomorrow’s gonna come and it’s gonna be awesome.
And she was right. Tomorrow did come and I started running again. Slow at first but little by little I was able to burst into a sprint.
Just what I needed.
You see, along the journey, you will have sprints of brilliance – enjoy it thoroughly. It doesn’t come as often as you think.
One thing I learned that night: Don’t forget the lows so that you’ll cherish the highs. And when you’re low, have someone who you think can bring you back up. Talk to a mentor, a friend, a loved one.
Ultimately, when you’re “on a roll” remember that you’re at one of the most important time of your entrepreneurial life.
At the end of it all, you’ll find that the destination isn’t half as important as the journey itself.