Shutting Down to Starting Up: Being Hooked on Entrepreneurship
Shutting down a business is never easy. Between the logistical nightmares and the constant elevator pitch you have to give to friends, family and customers as to what went wrong, it’s emotionally and mentally draining. After going through that experience and knowing the vast amount of work required to start a new business, it was scary to think about doing it again.
But entrepreneurs are masochists in a sense. I equate it to everything I’ve heard about childbirth. When you’re going through it, it’s the most severe pain you’ve known, but when it’s over you have this beautiful creature that is yours and you begin to forget all of the pain. (That, and the hormones of course.) Entrepreneurship is similar. You tell yourself you’ll never put yourself through the insanity of running your own business again but before the scraps are even cleaned up from your last venture, you’re at it again. And it’s thrilling
When my last venture, healthy restaurant Green Bean, closed, it wasn’t long before I was sifting through the sticky notes of business ideas I had and having conversations with close entrepreneur friends about what they were working on. When Chris Fetter came to me with the idea for GoodFoot Socks, a performance-focused sock for the business world, I jumped at the opportunity to fill his need for a more tech-savvy and marketing-oriented co-founder. Chris, along with the other co-founder Tim Fetter (also his brother), and I got to work right away doing market research and prototyping a sock.
As we got going, the familiar excitement of starting up a business came rushing back. And as we move forward, there are a few major components that I am most looking forward to experiencing again -- those crucial elements of entrepreneurial life that keep us coming back. At the end of the day, most of us entrepreneurs are just plain hooked on entrepreneurship. Here’s why I’m all in:
A sense of ownership. When I owned a restaurant, there was nothing that beat the feeling of making someone’s lunch, accepting money for it and watching them enjoy the delicious food that I had prepared. It was profoundly satisfying.
While many employers try to foster a sense of ownership in their employees, there is no faking the feeling of owning one’s own business. I am beyond excited for the first moment I see a stranger wearing GoodFoot Socks on the subway, standing in line for a coffee or simply going about their day.
Unexpected challenges. Again, entrepreneurs are slightly masochistic. While most people tend to avoid and even fear the unknown and dislike risky situations, entrepreneurs thrive on it.
Every day in the restaurant was spent putting out fires (not literally), and I expect nothing less from e-commerce. While it might not be face-to-face interactions with consumers, we will be presented with a whole new set of hurdles, and I’m ready to tackle them head on.
Related: A One-Page Business Plan in 5 Steps
Limitless possibilities. In entrepreneurship, you’re never working toward a confined goal that someone else has set for you. While it’s important to set targets and hit milestones, the ultimate potential of your vision and your efforts is infinite. And it’s OK to dream big. It will ultimately be up to you and your team to decide which growth strategy is right for your product and that approach may change a dozen times along the way -- based on shifts in consumer preferences, market changes and more.
I like knowing that the path is unknown. We could start out selling socks online, but we may find ourselves distributing socks to a chain of department stores or boutique shops or swallowed up by a technical-clothing company. The thrill is in knowing we don’t know where it ends up.
Entrepreneurship inherently comes with risks and challenges, but if you’re like me, you thrive on the excitement that those challenges bring. Whether you’ve seen failures or successes or a little bit of both, I’ll bet you’re as hooked on entrepreneurship as I am.