A day in the life as an entrepreneur


This past week I learned (again) that this graph is completely true:


Note: this isn’t a year, month, or even week.

It’s a day.

Building a company brings a daily roller coaster of emotion. And building anything – a product, a career, a home – can share that up-and-down.

Risking is hard. Creative work, the kind where you’re experimenting and building, grappling with the unknown, brings challenges that simply don’t exist if the future is mapped out for you. But this type of work sets the stage for value.

If you’re feeling that up and down, you aren’t alone. Nobody ever did anything great without risk, breaking norms, and trying something that might not work. Lots that I’ve been doing has been working, but plenty hasn’t. It’s sometimes hard to see from the outside, but success usually isn’t as simple as it looks in that visible moment. Success usually comes because you endure and adapt through failure.

What can you do to bring some balance to the roller coaster of emotions that comes as you dare to risk?

1. Surround yourself with encouragers.

Find people that lift you up, that bring out the best in you, and that believe in you. Spend more time with those that encourage. My wife does this. My business partner does this. My mom, other family, and my team at work do this. They help me to keep moving even in the face of discouragement. They are there to steady me both when I’m in the troughs and at the peaks. Find someone to encourage you, to teach you, and to challenge you. Ask them for more and thank them for what they do.

2. Put first things first.

First thing in the morning answer the question “What’s the most important thing I can spend my time on today?” Then spend an hour doing that thing. Turn off email and notifications. Delete social media apps or find a way to be deliberate about using them. And instead of wasting time at the beginning of the day, go heads down and create.

3. Exercise.

Mark Zuckerber, Richard Branson, and Mark Cuban all agree it’s a key habit for success. I began exercising again this week for the first time in a while. Strava is one of many potential tools where you can track your progress and share it with others. Knowing that others are watching is one thing that encourages me to stick with it a little more. This week has been a good personal reminder of the influence even a small amount of exercise can have on your work productivity.

In addition to steadying your own ups and downs, remember that everyone is having them. Many people feel inadequate. Treat everyone like they are on that roller coaster and you’ll probably be right.

Good luck riding the waves.


Ryan Seamons writes about more human approaches to modern management.

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