As part of my job, I see a lot of ideas come through my desk. A few of them, I get excited about and decide to pursue. Many of them are not the right fit. However, the common trend between these ideas are the people - the startup entrepreneurs. They range from 18 to 60. Their eyes are glowing and they are passionate. They want it. Who knows what it is, but it is clearly important.
Despite most of my writing that focuses on the positive aspects of startup life, this post is not about the good things. It's about the struggle. Despite the glow in entrepreneur's eyes and the burning desire to succeed, what goes on in the background is crazy and insane. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemies.
These are people who have asked for money from their parents, friends and family. Yet, they have nothing to show for it.
These are people who have closed out their savings accounts and their paycheck is still $0.
These are people who have gone from living in a nice apartment to under their desk.
These are people who have gone into irrecoverable debt and sometimes into bankruptcy.
These are people who have lost family and friends because the time commitment to building this thing - which may or may not succeed - is inhuman.
These are people who have sacrificed the best part of their lives to focus on a dream.
And that's what is so scary about being a founder. Dreams do come true. Only if you want them to. And the reason I say "these people" is because I have been there. And it was terrifying. It still is terrifying. It keeps me up at night. It scares the living crap out of me.
But you know what? I am fucking happy. Every single day. Every decision I make is mine. Every word I write is calculated. Every person that has survived this shitstorm with me is family. And that to me is success.
The world will try to mold you into something that aspirational people disagree with. Every day. Every single minute. It starts off with your GPA, then your SAT scores, then your internship and then your first job. And you realize, during this process, you hate it all. It's not what you thought your life would be. And it sure as hell doesn't make you happy.
So, here's my advise: don't follow your dreams. It's fucking hard. Instead, follow your heart. It already knows what you can't admit.