It should have been. We launched our product into the market, the social media campaign was underway and started the week with high expectations we were on to a winner.
But as the week continued, the adrenaline, from the previous week, wore off, and a couple of the team were off sick. Business admin, pushed to one side whilst we launched, was now urgent and the filing of the year end accounts imminent. By Thursday, it felt like we were wading through mud with no momentum.
My co-Founder and I were becoming irritable and detached. We could feel the tension and frustration. Not with each other, but with the feeling of constantly pushing water up a hill.
I took the initiative and asked my co-Founder how he was feeling. Without hesitation, he replied that he was pretty down, frustrated, irritated and was worrying. I did the usual up -beat “it will be ok’ and got a bland ‘yeah’ back.
But, as we talked, a couple of things came out from the conversation.
With colleagues off sick, we had both been working in isolation, in the office or home. However, I’d been out to meetings and an upbeat networking event. Plus I had managed to get to a couple of Spinning and pilates classes. But, my co-Founder, the CTO, had his head down constantly checking the code, the uptake stats, working alone and not getting to the gym. He has young kids and the previous two weeks had included sleepless nights, busy weekends and his batteries were flat. He needed a break.
Collectively, we have worked for Large Corporates, mid-sized firms, scale-ups and start-up’s. With over 45 years of working experience, we both have extensive experience of the ups and downs of working life.
However, as entrepreneurs, the sense of loneliness, frustration and generally feeling down can be much harder to handle.
Having a co-Founder, a Mentor or a Coach
Being an entrepreneur and building and running a business can be a very lonely place. Sometime you just need to have someone who you can ‘check-in’ with and be open with. You cannot build a business without a strong support network that is beyond the family.
We are lucky enough to be co-Founders which was a very deliberate decision. We had some insight on how lonely it is when you are the sole person responsible for growing a business.
We have both spent much of our careers working in teams and it was important for us to replicate that support. With similar values, we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and how we can compliment each other. Before we started, we shared our MBTI and similar personality tests, which was fascinating and supported what we already knew.
If you don’t have a co-Founder, and even if you do, you owe it to yourself and the business to have a Mentor or a Coach (<< working with a business coach/mentor>>.. Someone that will check-in with you and you can reach out to. IT makes all the difference
It’s good to talk
Last week, we made time to talk. None of us like having difficult conversation, but with a few open questions and a willingness to chat and to listen, often you can work through to solutions together. Our solution was easy, to take some time out
Being an entrepreneur can be a very lonely place and knowing who to talk to, a challenge. But you would be surprised how easy it is to find a mentor
Think about who in your network you admire and who has been supportive. Ask them to be your mentor and you will be surprised how delighted they will be, to support you. Agree how often y0u would like meet and off you go. You may even decide to have more than one mentor.
If, however, you have specific goals or challenges that you would benefit from working through with someone, then look for a business coach. A business coach is trained to work with you to achieve your specific goals, they can also advise if you would like them to.
If you speak to anyone who has had a coach, more often or not they will tell you that it has been transformational and helped them make a step change in their career. Deputi cares about building better business and that starts with supporting the Founders. Deputi can help you find the right coach for you who will work around your time constraints and budget.
We have had co-founders, mentors and coaches and it has made all the difference for us.
Do something other than work
We find the pressure and responsibility of running a business, huge. When we raised our first round of investment, if felt ‘personal’. These were our friends and family. With all the paperwork and wanting to make sure we were transparent and communicated well, time disappeared.
We are thinking about Deputi, the whole time and that’s not good.
Everyone needs down time and we find the best way to do that is not to stop, but to channel our energy into something completely – long walks with the dog, exercising, socialising or just getting outside. << LINK .>>>.
Networking & Meeting: Getting out and talking about the business
We call it the pub conversation. Have you had that experience when someone asks you ‘what you do’ or asks about the business and then you start talking and suddenly you think – ‘I’m good at this’; ‘I’m passionate about this’ and ‘this sounds real’.
Nothing boosts our confidence and momentum more than talking about our business and getting a reaction. We love a networking session or a meeting that challenges us to think and answer questions about our business. It forces us to look up and out and often to think more broadly about what we are doing.
This is the best antidote to a working week that has seen us with our heads down, developing the product, writing content and managing admin. Suddenly, we have a purpose again and we are stimulated by the outside world. Loneliness and introspect just seem to vanish.