One day you're on top, the next you couldn't feel lower. Entrepreneurs share their tips for getting through dark days.
Every entrepreneur goes through highs and lows. You come up with an idea: high. You tell your idea to a close friend or mentor and they knock it down: low. You hire a brilliant development team: high. Your star developer leaves for a better offer: low. You launch to great fanfare: high. After the celebration is over, nobody returns to your site: low.
It goes on like this. One day you are on top of the crest, the next you are at the bottom. The only thing that remains constant is that the next day will probably be different from today, which is something to celebrate on low days and fear on high days.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was to avoid public statements and big decisions when at the bottom of the roller coaster ride (advice I'm not entirely heeding in this moment). But you cannot bury your head in the sand until you get to the next upswing. You have to do something while you are feeling the doldrums. So I asked a group of entrepreneurs what they do to get through the low days and here is what they told me:
1. Seek solace in solidarity
"I remember being in one of those moments, and then seeing the story of Evernote on the cover of Inc. I read about the moment where it was all about to be over because he was about to be out of cash and then he got an email from an investor to give him money to keep going. Just hearing that made me think, well I can figure out how to keep going too."—Emily Olson, Foodzie.com
2. Think about the big picture
"Remind yourself that you are building a business, not a hobby and it takes time. Overnight successes do not exist. But if you know why you are doing what you do, and believe in what you are doing, don't stop doing it. Be willing to try just about any tactic."—Tracey Solomon, Hoseanna.com
3. Take the time to re-assess
"It's hard, but sometimes the low is a gift. It's a sign for a course correction before you hit the wall. Sometimes it means you could be doing something different to make it better. So, instead of running from it, analyze the heck out of it."—Erin Newkirk, RedStamp
4. Do something else
"Bake something. Clean your home. Finish a book. It's nice to do a task that has a tangible beginning, middle, and end. Start ups rarely have that same sense of completion."—Nancy Lublin, DoSomething.org
"I've found it best to take some yoga/Pilates classes to relax and breathe and try to see how far you've come. I also strongly believe that in my darkest moments I've thought of some of the best ideas. My mom always said, 'Through the dark there is always a light.'"—Limor Elkayam, Dealery.com
Whether you use those low days to be productive or to just take a break, the most important thing to realize is that everyone has highs and lows. You are not alone. I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes (which is sure to make everyone feel good):
"One reason we struggle with insecurity: We're comparing our behind the scenes to everyone else's highlight reel."—Steven Furtick
And here's a little image that helps me: The best start-up--no, life--advice I ever got, sent to me by Marci Harris at Popvox.com.
TARA HUNT is the CEO & co-founder of Buyosphere and previously worked with over 30 startups, including Like.com (acquired by Google in 2010). She wrote the bestseller, The Power of Social Networking. @missrogue