Running a start-up – Forget rest

Since I started fuelmyblog life has been a roller coaster of emotion.  I know people always compare things to a roller coaster but there really is not another comparison.  You have amazing highs and dreadful lows.  Sometimes you have zero emotion.

One thing that exaggerates emotion is the total and utter lack of rest.  When I say rest I mean, “tools down” rest.  The kind of rest you can only have when you are employed.  I remember that 5.30pm on a Friday, the last work day before a fortnight’s holiday.  That feeling of elation, recording your voicemail “I am now on vacation until..”, typing your out of office message for your emails.  When you have a start-up, this never happens.  Firstly, you are never away from the office (you’ll have a Blackberry, your laptop etc).  Secondly, you can never switch off your mind, welcome to the world of “always on”.

I remember planning Christmas last year with my wife, we were invited to spend it with my in-laws in Provence, the South of France.  Their large new apartment had just been built, they still lived in Paris and wanted to basically invite all the family to their new pad.  The first thing that crossed my mind “have they got wifi or internet?”.  The answer was no, we had to book into a hotel nearby with wifi, away from the family.  Of course the wifi didn’t work, apparently I was the first person ever to use the wifi, “people generally booking our hotel are here on holiday”.  I had to go into the Managers office, get on my hands and knees and fix the bloody wifi for them.

You see, when you have a start-up, more so an internet start-up, Christmas for you, is not a holiday, it is a time when users are away from work, a time when users are on the internet.   Granted, generally people are not using blogging networks on Christmas day, but picture this, on Christmas day in Europe, it is 26th December in Australia, Malaysia etc it is also Christmas Eve in the USA, Mexico etc..So you see, although there are days of rest, we are not all on the same day at the same time.

Having a day off means getting up at 6am, reviewing blogs, checking the servers, making sure the blog posts are up to date, checking the forums, answering 2-300 emails and then, at 10am, going out for the day.  Arriving back home late, the day off is over..time to review blogs, check the servers…

So if you want to enjoy the riches presented by having a start-up be prepared never to rest.  Ever.  But be prepared for the most amazing highs (and of course sometimes, big big lows).

But most of all, be prepared to meet the most incredible people on Earth, people like you.

Next post – time away from the family is part of the parcel.

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3 thoughts on “Running a start-up – Forget rest”

  1. Ah Kev, you know that rest is an illusionary concept created by the French so they can have another reason to skive off from work 🙂

    Only kidding!

    You’re dead right though. When I’m not at my desk or in some sort of mobile contact with what’s going on it can start to feel like a cloud of anxiety building inside you.

    The only way to alleviate it, besides checking in, is to build a good team that you trust and are confident leaving the “day to day” stuff running so you can focus on the creative and actually enjoy your free time.

    Unfortunately with start-ups it takes a while to get to that point because the cash has to satrt rolling in before the team can be built.

    I’m just really hoping you had a good Easter and didn’t take every possible opportunity to check the laptop like I did while I was away…

  2. Kevin,
    Having bought one struggling business and made it go, started another and sold it after 25 years and worked with my kids to start a cyber-cafe, trust me, your blog hit home. My boys cyber cafe stressed no bullying and maximum peer support. One Mom told one of my son’s that her kid showed more social progress in 6 weeks at Cyber-Stop than he had in 3 years of therapy. So again, you nailed it, the people are what makes the astounding hours worthwhile. Keep up the good work.
    Bill

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