Dear Human: Does it really matter?
Wednesday, August 28, 2019/
I’ve lost my way. I’m in over my head, trying to do and be all things in my early-stage, purpose-driven, startup. I care too much about everything.
I’m struggling trying to promote my business and not be a sell-out. I’m not a big fan of social media and yet here I am on it every single day, promoting what I’m doing, which is beautiful by the way, but I feel a little gross.
I’m spending so much time doing things that you’re supposed to do to grow my company but honestly does it really matter?
Do I stop doing those things and find another way? Is there another way? Can I just be and do what feels right or do I need to change how I feel about it all? Is it me or it? I really don’t know anymore.
Does It Really Matter?
~ ~ ~
Dear Yes It Does.
It matters you’ve lost your way. It matters you feel in over your head. It matters you are driven by purpose. It matters that you care. It matters that you are struggling. It matters that you don’t want to be a sell-out. It matters that you don’t love social media. It matters that you feel gross. It matters that you FEEL something.
That’s a lot of things to matter.
Welcome to startupland.
And let me give you a big, fierce hug. And then we can both take a few deep breaths.
I know you know that all of these things matter. I know that you know it’s right to care about all of these things.
What I think your question is, really is: AM I THE ONLY PERSON IN THE WORLD WHO IS STRUGGLING WITH THIS??!!
And I think you’re screaming it.
And the answer is no. No, you’re not the only one. Let me speak on behalf of every early-stage startup founder who is reading this, and every founder who isn’t.
We all feel this. We are all trying to bring something into the world that we care about. We are trying to create something that might make a difference. Something that might matter.
We all feel overwhelmed trying to do all the things. The same things that with a team of 20 we would need to do, and here we are with a team of one or two or maybe three.
You are not inadequate, not in any way. In fact, quite the opposite. All the things that you are screaming — these are what make you perfectly made for this.
As I sit here writing to you, I too am spinning and restless thinking about all the things I have to do, and the limited time I have to do them, the impossibility of that equation. Oh, and I’m picking the kids up Thursday, and I haven’t got food in the fridge, and I still haven’t done my tax, and it’s Father’s Day coming up and I haven’t booked anything, and, and, and …
And now I’m laughing. Out loud. LIFE! What a life we’ve chosen. How nice it would be not to care so much.
Oh. Hang on. That didn’t feel right. That’s not what we want. How about this:
I’ve lost my way. I’m in over my head, trying to do and be all things in my early-stage, purpose-driven, startup. I care too much about everything. I’m struggling trying to promote my business and not be a sell-out. I’m not a big fan of social media and yet here I am on it every single day, promoting what I’m doing, which is beautiful by the way, but I feel a little gross.
And then stop.
Go back to your vision. What is your vision for the world, and what is your vision for your startup?
Which little part of this vision feels the most important to start with? Okay, what are the steps to bring this part to life?
Clear the board of all the other things, as best you can (put blinkers on), let them wait. They’ll wait. You’re building something. You can’t build it all at once. The rest will wait.
How can you be of most value to a few people to start with?
The most impact with the smallest thing for the fewest people.
That’s a good place to start.
And good work, Yes It Does. Most people don’t start.
Can’t wait to see what you build. Sounds important.
~ ~ ~
One of the most important things in business is to be human, and this is exactly what old-school advice column Dear Human aspires to encourage. If you have a question for Good Empire founder André Eikmeier, please email him at [email protected]
From the frontlines
Five critical questions: Are you listing your startup too soon? Lisa Schutz Verifier founder
Ignoring your ‘obnoxious roommate’: What this founder learnt when she met Arianna Huffington Michelle Gallaher ShareRoot CEO
Sex appeal, runways and mature markets: Everything Guy Pearson learnt during his $26 million Series B raise Guy Pearson Practice Ignition CEO
Barriers from the outset: Why the government’s Boosting Female Founders Initiative is unlikely to succeed Laura Keily Immediation founder