Un­wind or die!

Don’t lose your­self in your start-up, writes Char­lotte Kil­bane

CityPress - - Business - Fol­low @AmargiMe­dia on Twit­ter for more on the #StartUpDiaries

So, en­trepreneur­ship … You might be en­am­oured of the idea of start­ing some­thing of your own be­cause you think it will dra­mat­i­cally im­prove your life­style. Think about it – no an­noy­ing boss to run around af­ter, no wran­gling with HR over leave, no clock­ing in or count­ing down the min­utes to 5pm – your time is all yours. You want to take your part­ner away for a ro­man­tic long week­end? Just do it…

Sounds amaz­ing, right? I hate to break it to you, but the re­al­ity is quite dif­fer­ent, es­pe­cially in the early days of your busi­ness. You will feel like a new par­ent – har­ried, out of your depth and sur­rounded by full nap­pies. Okay, maybe not the nap­pies part, but you get my point. When you’re try­ing to craft a rep­u­ta­tion, the qual­ity of your work needs to blow po­ten­tial clients away. You’ve got to pro­duce your A game all the time.

As the founder or co-founder of a start-up, you will learn that the hours are long and the de­mands un­re­lent­ing.

If you think this road will cut your work hours in half, you’re in for a rude awak­en­ing.

The very tech­nol­ogy that al­lows you to work wher­ever you are also serves to in­vade and take over your life. You’ll find your­self work­ing in bed at 2am just to get a jump on the next day’s to-do list.

Mon­days flow into Sun­days, pitches and crises flow into cel­e­bra­tions and more pitches and, be­fore you know it, you’re fa­tigued, ratty and los­ing the plot.

Here are some ran­dom signs that you might be over­do­ing it:

Rac­ing around the house for 15 min­utes, fran­ti­cally search­ing for your keys, only for your part­ner to gen­tly point out that they are, in fact, in your hand.

An­swer­ing the phone and for­get­ting the name of your own com­pany.

Re­peat­ing some choice piece of gos­sip to your part­ner two weeks af­ter she told you said news (this ac­tu­ally hap­pened, and I have yet to live it down).

Mis­plac­ing your phone. Three times in an hour. The bot­tom line is that this is hard work. When you are an en­tre­pre­neur, you are “it”. There is no backup, no slick cor­po­rate mech­a­nism that kicks in to sup­port you. It’s all you, baby, so you’d bet­ter take good care of your­self.

Both Nikiwe and I are run­ners, and we’ve both found this to be a stress-release god­send.

Dur­ing the first few months of Amargi’s ex­is­tence, I was train­ing for my first marathon (Nikiwe set the bar in 2014 by run­ning a re­spectable time in the New York City Marathon).

The train­ing was time-con­sum­ing, but it was amaz­ing. Run­ning is sin­gu­larly self­ish – a time to think and be in your body.

Ev­ery­one needs an ac­tiv­ity that gives them that, es­pe­cially peo­ple who are try­ing to build some­thing that will last.

Make time for your friends and your fam­ily – as much as you pos­si­bly can. They will be your pres­sure-release valve, and your san­ity check­ers. They will af­firm you, bring you back down to earth and in­sist on talk­ing about some­thing other than your start-up woes.

This en­trepreneur­ship kick is a marathon, and keep­ing up will be a chal­lenge.

Ul­ti­mately, you need to give your start-up your all with­out let­ting it con­sume all of you in the process.

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