I believe that running your own business is a lot like being in a committed relationship with a significant other.
At first blush, you’ll likely be so infatuated that you can’t see straight. You make impulsive decisions that go against your better judgment, and your fantasies run wild and keep you awake at night. This new entrepreneurial endeavor is all you can think about. Your time and money are handed over freely, and you forgo all the other things that mattered to you and made you who you are. In the beginning you’re incredibly smitten. But sooner or later, reality sets in and the business will start behaving in less-than-desirable ways.
Sometimes, the business leaves it dirty socks on the floor for the 50th damn time or starts acting petulant and uncooperative. Sometimes, the business takes everything you have and leaves you feeling downright unappreciated. Sometimes, the business changes into something you never expected and something you just don’t recognize anymore. Other times, your needs just aren’t being met and, yes, you’re tempted to indulge in other financial flirtations. But they only leave you feeling guilty and empty and more appreciative of what you have back home.
Then other times the business suddenly surprises you with a big, fat, juicy, sentimental kiss that you didn’t see coming and fills you with a joy you didn’t even know existed. Like life with a partner, you get to experience it all -the good, the bad, and the ugly – because this is what you signed up for. And what makes you stick it out? Being flat out in love.
That’s why most businesses don’t succeed. Love is a verb, not a noun. It’s about letting go of the entrepreneurial fairytale and hunkering down for the long haul. It’s about sticking with your commitment through richer and poorer, through the sickness of 16 hour workdays and the health of being #1 in your field.
In time, you find your groove and you wonder how you have ever survived with “The Man” before you found the love of your life. You look back and laugh at the hoops you had to jump through to try to make that situation mutually satisfying. And while this may be the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life, it’s truly the most satisfying…the most addictive. I recently celebrated the seven year anniversary of my business, and I’m more in love than ever. No “Seven Year Itch” in sight here!