The stress of entrepreneurship--it starts early and hits often--and when you ask the question "how do you manage it" even a first-time or "young" entrepreneur has an answer. As I noted in earlier posts, I decided to reach out to a variety of entrepreneurs in my network (tech, established, funded, bootstrapped, local and global) to ask them how they deal with a particularly stressful days. Whether it is the insane pressure that can arise during the launch of a new app or when pursuing a "non" tech market opportunity to frankly, addressing the perceptions (or more accurately, misconceptions) of startup success--being a startup or founder or entrepreneur is a crazy, anxiety causing pursuit. In this post in the series, I get answers and insights from younger entrepreneurs.

Kiki Schirr, Founder of Valley Girl Magazine

Entrepreneurship is an emotional roller-coaster. How do you deal with a particularly stressful day?

On particularly stressful days, meditation is what saves me. I thought it was cheesy at first, but just taking a moment to clear my mind of thought really energizes me! I would recommend watching some guided meditations on YouTube in your spare time to prepare for the busy moments ahead.

The secret to succeeding as an entrepreneur is?

Take time for yourself.

What's the most commonly held misconception about startups?

The most commonly held misconception about startups is all entrepreneurs are tech bros wandering around in hoodies, but the truth is that entrepreneurship spans age, class, race, and gender. One of the fastest growing segments for entrepreneurship is black women, for example. Not everyone is a Zuck.

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

Oh hell yes, I had doubts about starting Valley Girl Magazine-but the idea kept haunting me, I couldn't ignore it. Finally I decided to just suck it up. I felt a little like I was driving in fog -- I might not know exactly what's ahead of me, but I have to trust the path to get where I want to be.

What's your advice for aspiring startup founders?

Never put your startup above your health. I made this mistake on my last venture -- and gained 15 pounds! Now I face the challenge of starting a company while losing weight, but I can tell you that the morning runs only make me sharper. I'm a better entrepreneur when I take care of myself.

Mary Lemmer, Co-Founder, Iorio's Gelato and Foodscape

Entrepreneurship is an emotional roller-coaster. How do you deal with a particularly stressful day?

Cooking dinner is one of my favorite ways to get my mind off a stressful day. It allows me to be creative and focus on something outside of my company. Combine that with yoga and coloring and my evening becomes a much more relaxing time than my day!

The secret to succeeding as an entrepreneur is?

Figuring out how to manage your own psychology.

What's the most commonly held misconception about startups?

That you have flexibility because you're "your own boss." Actually, more the opposite, because you are the driving force behind your company and oftentimes everything rides on your shoulders.

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

Yes. It helps to talk to enthusiastic customers.

What's your advice for aspiring startup founders?

Figure out WHY you are starting a company. If for any reason other than because you deeply care about solving the problem, be aware that the journey is hard and there will be lots of ups and downs. Understand what's driving you, so during the down times you can refocus on the reason why you are starting the company to help you move forward.

Arti Anand, Co-Founder + CMO of Prevoo

Entrepreneurship is an emotional roller-coaster. How do you deal with a particularly stressful day?

I try to meet friends who are not associated with startup world for some face-to-face time, where possible. Most aren't looking at my problems-du-jour through the same lens, and thus provide great perspective.

The secret to succeeding as an entrepreneur is?

Ah, I wish I had a good quote for this--but I don't consider myself a successful entrepreneur YET! Hope to have share some pearls of wisdom if/when I get there.

What's the most commonly held misconception about startups?

A common misconception: You'll love your work everyday. In reality, you will (hopefully) be passionate about the big picture--but the day-to-day work to achieve that vision will be anything but glamorous. The good news? The passion that brought you there in the first place will get you through the most grueling tasks and days.

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

Yes, absolutely. Acknowledging that the start of any product is imperfect has helped me get mentally prepared for the leap forward. I tell myself "It's okay if our assumptions aren't 100% correct--we'll see which portions are, and keep growing from there."

What's your advice for aspiring startup founders?

I'll leave the advice part for those who are further along in their ventures (we're getting close to launching Prevoo, so hopefully will have some advice for you soon).

Felicia Schneiderhan, Cofounder of 30SecondsToFly

Entrepreneurship is an emotional roller-coaster. How do you deal with a particularly stressful day?

I put on my headphones, turn on some good music and wander around in the city, aimlessly. In my business, I always have to be efficient and goal-oriented. Wandering around without destination helps me to free up some mind-space. It's the opposite of efficiency and feels really nice for a change.

The secret to succeeding as an entrepreneur is?

Critical to entrepreneurial success is the ability to handle a consistently high intake of information, identify connections and rapidly reflect these in your decisions.

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

I never stop doubting my products, before launch and after. The thought of getting comfortable with what we've built makes me feel very uncomfortable, actually. I continuously try to ask my team, our advisors and customers for what still sucks about our product/what we can improve.

What's your advice for aspiring startup founders?

There might be a long period of time when you and your cofounders are the only ones believing in your idea. There was a point when I actually dreamt I had lost my sanity. These tough times do pay off and will help you become a better founder.

Amrita Aviyente, Founder/CEO of Date My Wardrobe

Entrepreneurship is an emotional roller-coaster. How do you deal with a particularly stressful day?

Sometimes it is ok to accept the situation and give yourself some time to recover, accept and move forward. Also, chanting helps me tremendously. I practice Buddhism.

The secret to succeeding as an entrepreneur is?

Being honest with yourself and others. Be prepared for change.

What's the most commonly held misconception about startups?

Build the product and they will come. The team should be able to build it and sell it. Do not underestimate selling.

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

It was all about talking to users, partners, learning & executing.

What's your advice for aspiring startup founders?

This was one of the best advice I heard at a conference: "You should be a founder when you have nothing better to do" - Rich Miner.

If you have doubts about whether you should pick that great consulting offer or do a startup, go with the former. You have to be honest with yourself, and be 100% sure and ready to launch a company. It is extremely hard and challenging and that can't be expressed in words. You can only know once you do it.

 

 

Published on: Apr 16, 2016