Asked on 25 Oct 2019
Startup vs Life: What's Your Choice?
I was asked this question recently by a mentor.
If you had to have your life cut short by 20 years, but your startup would be successful and impact millions of people, i.e. your 'why' is fulfilled (ref: Simon Sinek's Start With Why), which would you choose?
Great question and one I wished I asked the bosses I work for, some of whom are successful entrepreneurs and investors in their own right. I guess the answer to this question is what one deems as a measure of a life well-lived. There is a quote by poet Maya Angelou that reads, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. In a similar thread, we all have different definitions of what makes our lives meaningful. I am sure we have all seen seemingly successful people and founders actually silently suffering from depression, we have also seen founders be very fulfilled with the work they are doing. Some of the warmest and genuinely joyful people I have personally met are also not rich or successful from the career perspective, but they are rich in other ways.
Why NOT both?
Running a startup does NOT mean
You have no time in the evening or weekends for life, friends and family.
running the business itself is a pain in the ass.
Most startup owners I know do enjoy their work, so their usual grinding, even in weekends is not as frustrating or painful as in like working for others. To us, it's not OT. We mostly enjoy it.
Of course, there are aspects of it we do not, for example, we may have to handle complicated admin work on the weekend, nay not a favourite of mine. But the overall goods the bads.
This is why we enjoy working for ourselves.
2ndly, working does not mean you have no family/leisure.
granted at the beginning we are busier than the usual office workers.
But sometimes we do have leisure, and in fact BETTER leisure options too. I choose to go work late every day at 10plus (no fixed timing) because I like to take my kid to childcare late :)