Setting Sail Without A Map

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You have your gut. There is no map.

By Nayia Moysidis (Founder, Writer’s Bloq)

One of the most daunting things about being a CEO of a startup is that no one else has done it before you. Sure, people have been CEO, but no one has been the CEO of this startup. This puts you in the position of navigating a directionless ship.

Think: Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean. Throughout the entire series, he always knows what he wants, but he constantly finds himself without a map. But at least he has a compass to lead him in the right direction.

You have your gut.

So here’s where you find yourself. You have a problem, a solution, a concept, and a method for implementation. What next? What is the next step, the most correct path to choose? There is none.

If you are a young entrepreneur, no doubt this will be the moment when you begin to wonder why you’ve chosen this path and if you should stay on it. Your friends all chose conventional jobs, a steady stream of money providing some very reliable comfort. You’re not sure if this idea is worth the risk, the stress, the sleepless nights of brainstorming that are to come. If you feel this way, get out now.

Because for the older entrepreneurs – who have already felt dissatisfied and unchallenged at a conventional 8 to 5 – and the young ones who know what they want, all of this is part of the appeal. Their minds are quite creative, their souls crave risk. The idea of being in a cubicle from 8 to 5 seems to them like a slow descent into an early death. They would be captured. They would be trapped.

The beauty of this moment in the decision process doubles as the most frightening element. There is no map. What you have is a blank parchment with a key on it – dare I reference Pirates once again? You know what you want, but you have no idea how to get there. You could ask people, learn from the experienced ones before you, but chances are, they will be wrong. For you. Each particular case will require a different next step. Ask yourself, what do you think you need?

In my case, I knew my perspective was lacking. I had the problem of the industry from one angle. I couldn’t understand in its entirety until I pushed myself to experience it from another. So before I embarked on starting my own company, I went to work for another.

And good thing I did; because what I found there, was far from what I expected. The villains in my plan suddenly became a part of the victims. This was the first moment when I began to learn that our concepts should be fluid, flexible, molding along with our educations. If you are set in stone, your startup will be too. When tossed into the ocean with more buoyant prospects, it will sink to the bottom.

Allow change, embrace it, and develop a well-rounded perspective… regardless of what stage you are in. Because if you don’t, your competition will. And you’ll be left decorating the bottom of the ocean with pretty-colored stones.

Women 2.0: How do you as an entrepreneur sail without a map? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo credit: John Morgan on Flickr.

About the guest blogger: Nayia Moysidis is the Founder of Writer’s Bloq, a literary collective that helps great writers get discovered. Nayia graduated from Columbia’s Creative Writing program in May 2011. During her years at Columbia, she played Division I soccer, explored six continents, and held positions at Film London, VISA, SportsMark, and Simon & Schuster. She has been published in Women 2.0, The Levo League, The Daily Muse, The Huffington Post and Forbes. Follow her on Twitter at @NAYIAisms.