Read this post on VentureBeat today which highlighted LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman’s 10 Rules of Entrepreneurship from a presentation at SXSW this week. In short, he makes some great points – worth reading.
I would highlight, though, that I think the mental challenges of entrepreneurship are harder than the strategic or tactical ones. As I’ve said many times to people who tell me “I’m going to start a company” – it’s not all Facebook and Zynga outcomes, SXSW parties, and quick M&A flips. I (somewhat jokingly) suggest – “Try flying to a random small city in (pick your state) for 4 days. Stay at a Holiday Inn/Red Roof Inn (pick your favorite low-cost hotel). Rent a cheap compact car. Drive around and knock on the doors of some local companies and pitch them on something – anything. Call your wife each night and tell her you think you’re doing something cool, but it might not work, and you have no idea if you’ll make any money doing it. Cap the night with a $10 budget for dinner. Get up and do it again.”
It may not translate well in a blog post, but the point I try to make – it’s the hard work, late nights on the road and unknown territory that really challenge an entrepreneur – not the board meetings, VC pitches, and parties at SXSW. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve been there.
My buddy Will Price linked to a post by Tim Ferriss which has a great graphic that I think does a great job of illustrating the emotional rollercoaster that entrepreneurship creates. I highly recommend reading Tim’s post.