Being friends with an entrepreneur can be difficult. Wanted to go a few things that I face (and others in the field too I guess) that can make it easier?
Before I start off, I wanted to make it clear that being good friends with someone is a two-way street - you can’t expect the friendship to last without making any effort from your side. I don’t intend this blog post to be a “get out of jail free” card for entrepreneurs. Just that, I don’t think a lot of people have spoken about this aspect of entrepreneurship before..(?) Also, my perspectives are from being the founder of an early stage startup..things might change be different as things go along.and my opinions do change (I am ever confused..remember?) So with these disclaimers in place, lets move on..
So, how is your startup going?
Still working on your startup?
It may not seem obvious, but this is one of the most difficult questions for me to answer - especially when a friend asks it. When an acquaintance or investor asks this, the answer is simple, we are crushing it. But, when a friend asks it, you would want to give a more (honest) answer. I try to come up with a high level answer without actually getting into the nitty-gritty (fundraising, about to launch a new product, etc) to keep the conversation going. I usually have this answer ready beforehand cos even coming up with this on the spot is pretty hard.
A better question to ask would be “what problem are you working on now?“. This is a much easier question to answer purely cos of the phrasing of the question. How is your startup going almost instinctively begets a “Its going good” response, but the latter question makes it easier to share the challenge I am facing then.
This is what makes it much easier to share with other entrepreneurs. I met one today and the first question he asked me was “So, what’s keeping you up tonight?” :D
We know challenges are part of the deal
You might get the feeling that we are a depressing bunch of people if you hear what we do on a day-to-day basis. Why is this guy talking about But solving (so many) problems everyday is what makes this so exciting! I have mostly made peace with how hard things are going to be - the potential positive impact a startup can have more than makes up for it. Most of the time, we are just looking for a friendly listening ear?
Things move extremely fast
Things in a startup move extremely fast. I have both exhilaratingly happy and sad moments in the same day. My thoughts, perspectives, defense mechanisms, everything is changing all the time. Sometimes I really need someone to talk to about what’s happening in the startup. Sometimes, I want to grab everyone on the road to tell them about the new deal we have just signed up. Sometimes, I just want to have a fun time without thinking about work. Sometimes I am a bit silent and prefer just listening to my friends talk. This oscillating nature makes it hard to be good friends with an entrepreneur I think.
So when you are done reading this, go and give a hug to one of your entrepreneur friends - they might need it more than you think they do!