How Not To Let Your Startup Business Fuck Up Your Life
Some wise words from a dude who knows what's up.
“If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to help build theirs.”
Ali Mese is a start up marketer and growth hacker who writes essays about entrepreneurship, startups and life hacking, and has had his stuff published in Business Insider, Tech In Asia, Lifehacker and more. He recently wrote a no-bullshit, hugely insightful essay on Medium called “How quitting my corporate job for my startup dream f*cked my life up,” wherein he speaks of his transition from an employee of one of the top three global strategy consulting firms, to go out on his own start his own business.
The essay scored over 386,000 views in 24 hours, and was then syndicated by Tech In Asia and was even shared by Mark Cuban from television show Shark Tank. In the essay, Mese speaks of the social pressure and loneliness involved in going out on his own - how starting his own business was at the sacrifice of his social life, and outlines the difficulty of trying to live up to the unrealistic expectations of family and friends regarding his progress, with them all expecting him to be a multi-millionaire overnight (“You are going to be the next Zuckerberg, right?”). He then takes us through the panic of starting to lose money, of needing to ask his girlfriend for money for a bottle of water.
Today, Mese doesn’t make millions, but he’s worked out a way to make his business consistent and profitable. In the essay, he shares his Top 5 Tips for every future entrepreneur looking to take the first step - you can read the full thing HERE, otherwise we’ve made a handy summary of Mese’s tips for you below - and no, none of them include calling your startup the Washington Redskins:
Five things you should ask yourself before becoming an entrepreneur/kicking your job for your start-up dream:
1. Are you ready for the social pressure?
“If you have friends and family who are not entrepreneurs, they won’t truly understand what you are trying to achieve… I cared so much about what other people think of me– so much that it ruined my life.”
2. Are you single or do you have an extremely supportive partner?
“Many of my entrepreneur friends broke up with their girlfriends along the way. Doing your own business is tough – your mind is constantly f*cked up with a million things going on inside and no other person - including your girlfriend - has a single clue what is going on in there.”
3. Do you have enough cash to last at least a year?
“Good, then multiply that amount at least by three because you will be running out of your savings way faster than you ever imagined… Success will come slowly, and cash will burn fast…Get ready for a smaller apartment, smaller food portions.”
4. Are you ready to sleep only few hours a day?
“It all started by little wake-ups in the middle of the night... I was too excited about my ideas and simply couldn’t wait for the morning so that I could start working again. Then I was working too much because I never had enough of working for my idea and I wanted to do more…the more I worked and the later I went to bed, the lower the quality of my sleep became… I was having days with almost no productivity.”
5. How do you define success?
“Each of us has a different priority…for most people, money is the number one priority, while work-life balance ranks higher for others. If money and public success are what matters to you the most, you are likely to have a hard time. Successful entrepreneurs are not necessarily those who raise millions of investment rounds. Don’t forget, they are one in a million. There are, however, thousands of dreamers out there who manage to bootstrap their start-ups or live so well off on their own, but even they do not make it to the top of tech news."
“No matter how much your journey f*cks up your life or how difficult it will be, enjoy the ride and keep following your passion. As Tony Gaskin puts it perfectly: “If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to help build theirs.”
Ali Mese will be coming to Australia to give a TED Talk on December 6 – keep your eyes on his Facebook for details.
header photo by Brad Westcott