Startup Roller Coaster

Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster. You see the ride from a distance and get excited. Once you step on the coaster and buckle up, your adrenaline skyrockets. But then, there’s the upward trek before momentum takes over. Your stomach rises into your throat, you look at the people on the ground who look like ants and wonder why you stepped foot on the ride to begin with. From your new vantage point, those not on the ride seem to be in a much better position.


When a startup entrepreneur invests his or her life savings into a cocktail napkin idea, he or she is on the upward slope and the 9 to 5ers on the ground look like the sane ones.


Remember: Without the upward slope, you can’t fly. You were brave enough to jump on the ride, don’t stop until you get the reward.


If you’re an entrepreneur on the startup business slope, keep these three things in mind:


Know your purpose. You’ve thought of a concept or product that will entertain, improve, help or heal people. Define the true WHY of your work and keep it in front of you and your team at all times. Get a tattoo of your purpose if that will ensure it’s top-of-mind. If you believe in your startup’s purpose, reminding yourself of it will keep you moving. Recite that purpose when you’re still at the office and your friends and family are posting their Saturday night highlight reel on Facebook. Better yet, just don’t check Facebook when you’re in the office on Saturday nights.


Find other crazies. Surround yourself with other entrepreneurs. Find a group like the Entrepreneurs’ Organization and dig in. Get in a forum where you can talk about how this new venture is affecting you and those around you. When you realize others are on similar coaster, or better yet, jumped on the coaster before you and are now flying high, you’ll gain confidence and feel rejuvenated. Further, like-minded folks may have ideas and input that could make your upward slope a little shorter.


Celebrate the little wins. Create daily, weekly and quarterly priorities to move your business forward. When you reach them, celebrate. You may be the only one at the party, but that’s okay—more cake for you. Since you’re a startup entrepreneur, you may not be able to celebrate with Cristal and Ferraris, but you can reward yourself with three technology free days. No email, texts or excel sheets for three whole days. Now there’s a reward. Motivate yourself to reach the big milestones by celebrating the smaller ones.


If the roller coaster were easy, everyone would jump on. That upward slope separates the successful entrepreneur from the wannabe. The steeper the incline the more momentum you’ll have for the rest of the startup business ride.

Originally published in The Tennessean.

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