So I came across an article today on Inc.com discussing the emotional and mental price of being an Entrepreneur. That got me reflecting on my own situation. Now fortunately for me, it takes a LOT to bring me down and on the rare occasions it does, it’s usually not too bad and not too long (few minutes or maybe an hour). Most of the times, I’m happy to be alive, happy to “get stuff done” and happy to have my family and friends.
So while I’m fortunate to not have experienced any of the mental demons some of the other folks in the article have, I can totally see folks of a different mental makeup just get run over by it. In fact the issues people had in that article are a few orders of magnitude greater than anything I’ve ever experienced (or would want to experience). Having said that, in my attempts to build a scalable enterprise (vs a small business/lifestyle business), I too have had to pay a price. Instrumenting change in an industry, starting with absolutely nothing more than just thoughts (and the will) was never expected to be easy, but here are my struggles so far:
- Workouts: What used to be almost daily or alternate day routine is now just once or twice (if lucky) a week. It’s not because I don’t enjoy working out, I still do. It’s just harder to find time because your list of “high priority” items just gets bigger.
- Friends: I’m a very social guy – anyone who knows me knows that. I used to host parties at my place, call friends randomly to catch up, make plans to head out somewhere and rally the group. Again, with just enough time to sleep and spend with my wife and kid, that’s one aspect which has greatly suffered. Now it’s mostly relegated to text/email/Facebook messages. I need to address this moving forward because it’s important for me and my wife to have a fun social life – even within the context of having kids and building a scalable enterprise.
- Family: There were times when my wife would wake up in the morning (7am), getting ready for work and would find me still working. I hadn’t gone to bed because I’d lose myself in my work and wouldn’t get tired. From that extreme, I’ve been gradually ramping down, setting alarms to go to bed, setting out no-work zones. I have a “no-working” zone from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. That gives me, my wife and my son at least a few hours everyday to have some high quality family time. I’ve been video conferencing a lot with my parents and hope to do so with my brothers too (time zones are tricky). I’m also trying to keep one day of the weekend 100% free so we can head out and DO stuff. I’m also trying to have 3 nights a week for date nights with my wife (a date could be in-house too).
- Downtime/Hobbies: I used to read fiction, play tennis, work on my motorcycle, work on my car (I’d find something to tinker with), go out on twisty windy drives and many other random things. With close to zero downtime, you tend to drop doing any of those things. Even when friends invite you for golfing, lobster diving, motorcycle rides, out of town parties, Vegas weekends etc etc, you begin to say No and instead work because you know every day lost is a day of delayed revenue and missed opportunities. To be honest, I absolutely LOVE my work but that love for one thing needs to be balanced out. My friend Liz has a saying which I love – Everything in moderation, including moderation itself.
Is that everything? Maybe not. And since we’re specifically listing out the downsides, there are obviously business downsides too; like customers going bankrupt, contact signing getting delayed etc.
But I must stop here because I’m out of time and don’t even have time to proof-read what I just wrote above. Stuff needs to be done, so I need to get back to “GSD” mode (Get-Stuff-Done).