Last week, I met a young college grad who decided to join the entrepreneurial bandwagon and do his own thing. He was very excited and full of energy. His startup is 3 months old, and he?s made some great choices and progress. You could see the energy in his eyes.
I remember those early days like it was yesterday, even though it was 21 years ago. Bill Spruill and I both joked about it, wondering if this young kid will still have that kind of energy 6 months from now. The thing is, odds are pretty high that life will beat him down, to the point that he won?t pop back up because it?s too painful, too much work, too unrewarding, or any one of a multitude of reasons. It?s not easy to break out on your own, but it?s even harder to keep at it when the euphoria of a new thing wears out and life beats you and your idea down. In my experience, this usually happens for the first time within about 6-9 months.
If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, you have to be willing to take the licks and keep on keeping on, to keep popping up after you get bonked in the head by the whack-a-mole mallet, even if you don?t see any tangible results from your efforts for quite some time and everyone is telling you that it can?t be done. Easy to mentally understand, but hard to actually go through. ?This is something that you will need to expect, not something that you think you can avoid. In fact, I?d argue that no one can really avoid it.
In my experience, I still to this day get whacked on the head by that mallet. It happens nearly as frequently today as it did in my company?s infancy. I still make bad decisions. I still let myself down by not doing all that I know I can do. People I rely on still let me down, and vice versa. Assumptions I make are sometimes still way off reality. I?m still overly-optimistic. That whack-a-mole mallet keeps bonking me on the head again and again.
But I keep on keeping on, wholeheartedly believing that one day I will make my mark, that one day it will be my turn in the limelight. And this is one of the most important lessons I have learned throughout my life as an entrepreneur: believing that if I keep getting up and trying again, I will eventually get there. So, if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, then you too will have to learn this lesson: keep dodging that whack-a-mole mallet, keep popping back up, no matter how hard it hurts.