Ah, that emotional roller-coaster that is entrepreneurship--when you ask the question on "how do you manage it"- even the busiest entrepreneur has an answer. As I noted in a prior post, I decided to reach out to a variety of entrepreneurs (tech, established, funded, bootstrapped, local and global) how they deal with a particularly stressful days (which can be endless). Stress comes in an endless stream of forms--whether it is the stress which can arise from the drama of scaling a business or expanding into a new market or the stress which arises from juggling family commitments with the needs of a growing venture (and investor expectations).

My five questions must have hit a nerve, as Deborah Jackson, founder of PlumAlley.co (and my former business partner in a prior startup venture) fired back her responses in record time:

  1. Talk to husband, daughters or friends.
  2. Don't quit
  3. They succeed.
  4. Just get out there and learn and iterate. There is no straight line to success.
  5. Talk to someone who has started a company. Talk to a founder that did not succeed. If you do not have sufficient passion, conviction or an idea for something we actually need in the world, don't be the founder. Join a startup in another position instead to learn some skills and insights. Don't do something trivial. It is the same work to do something that matters.

Below you'll discover the answers from four more entrepreneurs on how they deal with stress, to their secrets to pushing forward to startup success and oh, those massive misconceptions of entrepreneurship.

Catherine Barba, Entrepreneur, Investor and Founder of #WinforumNY

How do you deal with a particularly stressful day?

I step back more than 30,000 feet (I use Google Earth a lot) to keep it in perspective. Viewing earth from space provides a "you are somewhere here" reality.

The secret to succeeding as an entrepreneur is?

Grow your confidence: There is no win nor fail, there is only MAKE.

What's the most commonly held misconception about startups?

The visible part is FUN: you dress casually, work flex hours, get equity and feel that your work is valued, the reality is a PERMANENT STATE OF WAR, because you know you are only a temporary organization with very little time to find a scalable business model.

Did you have doubts about launching your product? If yes, how did you overcome it?

My first company was a cash back website, I was A/B testing everyday, asking customers for feedback... Cooperation with customers is key to fine tune your product and make sure you adequately respond to a unsatisfyed need.

What's your advice for aspiring startup founders?

Go for it! There is nothing better than to be in the driver's seat. Surround yourself with the right advisory board, and be prepared to pivot.

Amy Pressman, President of Medallia

How do you deal with a particularly stressful day?

Do something that makes you sweat physically--it counterbalances the metaphorical sweat!

The secret to succeeding as an entrepreneur is?

Being motivated by the word "no"

What's the most commonly held misconception about startups?

That you need to start with the right idea--you figure out the right idea by getting started with an imperfect idea and iterating

Did you have doubts about launching your product? If yes, how did you overcome it?

No--we did not have doubts

What's your advice for aspiring startup founders?

Start something because you believe in it not because you think it will make you money. A startup is a labor of love. That said, your idea still needs to be commercially viable.

Sian Morson, Founder of Cast Beauty

How do you deal with a particularly stressful day?

Stop.Breathe.Walk.On stressful days I make it a point to step away from whatever it is that is stressing me out and take a walk. Walking is my meditation.

The secret to succeeding as an entrepreneur is?

The secret to succeeding as an entrepreneur is being sure to define what success means TO YOU. Not everyone else.

What's the most commonly held misconception about startups?

There is a misconception that all you need is an idea. You need much more than that.

Did you have doubts about launching your product? If yes, how did you overcome it?

Yes! If you have no doubts, you're doing it wrong. You overcome them by having a great team that includes mentors, advisors and friends.

What's your advice for aspiring startup founders?

Keep moving forward and keep iterating. It can always be better.

Gesche Haas, Founder of Dreamers // Doers

How do you deal with a particularly stressful day?

Journaling has been the single most helpful thing for me. It's meditative, calming, and extremely effective for identifying how I should be spending my time. As a founder, we're so focused on building a business, that we forget ourselves; even though it is *us* who is the most important building block of our company.

The secret to succeeding as an entrepreneur is?

Persistence, and being honest with yourself on what's working, and what isn't working.

What's the most commonly held misconception about startups?

There is nothing "glamorous" about 99.9999% of startups; although press makes it seem so otherwise...

Did you have doubts about launching your product? If yes, how did you overcome it?

There was massive self-doubt involved with launching my product. For any ambitious person, you can't help but wonder if you are doing enough, if you're on the "right" track. I overcame my self-doubt by trying enough things that did not work. I could not be more firm or determined about the path I am on now, because I've been able to shed my ego along the way, and introduce healthy habits. I can now focus on building a business out of a place of excitement, not fear

What's your advice for aspiring startup founders?

Every aspiring startup founder should dig hard within themselves, to really get to know themselves. The #1 mistake I see early-stage founders make, is making decisions for the wrong reasons. In the end, all our lives are, all that our companies are, is the result of decisions we've made. By knowing your "why", you will be a better, happier, more successful founder. It allows you to embark, and dominate, the path that is right for you.

Published on: Apr 9, 2016