Starting up is definitely an emotional rollercoaster, so the founder of Six Twenty shares her tricks for getting through the down times. By Angeli Reddy (Founder & CEO, Six Twenty)
It’s been two years since I first came up with the idea for Six Twenty and there is no doubt that starting a business can be an emotional rollercoaster. If you’re an entrepreneur, no matter what industry you are in, there’s always this excitement that comes with starting a new idea… the possibility of creating a product that becomes a household name, a service that revolutionizes its industry, or even a social enterprise that changes lives is a powerful motivator.
But of course it’s not all dream clouds and rainbows. There are plenty of days where you feel isolated or depressed because you got a big “NO!”, or you begin to realize that big risk you're taking isn’t paying off and it seems like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. These are the days that are extremely difficult. But with the right amount of drive and the right mindset these days can be far and few between.
Here are six things that I found that really help me be a happier and more efficient person amidst the madness that is starting a business:
Developing and keeping up with a weekly workout routine amidst a hectic startup schedule was a big challenge for me. But once I found out what works best for me, exercise has had such a profound impact on my happiness and well-being. Not only has it been proven to make you a more positive person but it also allows for boosts of energy when you need it the most.
This may be easy or difficult for some of you. But we all know how good it feels to cross things off the list. One thing I’ve found that really helps me is to stick to one notebook (or application) that rules them all. I used to work across multiple "platforms", which included the occasional piece of scrap paper shoved into my work bag. While I was still able to get my work done, I soon realized that I was definitely using more time than necessary towards certain tasks, and when starting a business time is money.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
At the beginning I used to stress about every little thing, from size of the fonts on my website to the lead time of my product development. So I can tell you that it’s easy to get too close and forget about the big picture. Trust me, no one is looking at your work as closely as you are, so don’t sweat the small stuff - it will only cause you wrinkles.
Whether it’s pushing yourself at the gym or speaking in public, learning new skills has been scientifically proven to bring a sense of happiness.
As an entrepreneur it’s essential that we wear multiple hats and do whatever it takes to accomplish our goals. It’s important to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. One instance that comes to mind is when I was at an event and I was unexpectedly called on stage to tell my story. I’ve never been very good at public speaking and I was petrified about speaking in front of all these successful entrepreneurs. After going through a few of these experiences, I can tell you first hand that it gets easier and I am happy that I learned how to conquer that fear.
Learn to Disengage
Working on a startup is a 24-hour gig. It is hard to learn when and how to disengage. Tim Ferris, from the 4-hour work week puts it perfectly:
“If your entire ego and identity is vested in your startup, where there are certain factors outside your control, you can get into a depressive funk that affects your ability to function.”
When we first launched our site, I was up for 48 hours straight making sure the programmers fixed all the bugs. Despite my efforts, the site wasn’t ready, and I definitely had a mini meltdown (well not so mini). Looking back, it really didn’t matter if we spent a few more days working out all the kinks, it was my own emotional ego that was so vested and making me feel so terrible. It would have been better if I had gotten some sleep, gone to yoga and started fresh the next day.
My husband wrote about this recently on his blog and I can’t help but to quote him because he writes so beautifully, “Dreaming is where the innovation begins, change is made, multi-million dollar ideas await, and where we can tap into our truest potential. So take that extra time to dream about that hobby you wanted to pursue or that career switch you wanted to make or that idea that you were once passionate about but never pursued because of x, y, and z.”
When you are building a startup, you’re not only building a business but you are also developing yourself. There will always be those days where you ask yourself “Am I Crazy for Doing This?” and the answer is yes, you are, and that’s okay, because that is what makes us entrepreneurs. Just remember that amidst the rough days there will be some extraordinary ones and that living a happy and healthy lifestyle will make your start-up journey that much more fulfilling.
How do manage your negative emotions?
About the guest blogger: Angeli Reddy (@ShopSixTwenty) is the founder and CEO of Six Twenty. Six Twenty offers designer quality clothing at disruptive price points through a direct to consumer online only model. She brings her extensive marketing background, entrepreneurial knowledge, and her relaxed, sophisticated aesthetic to the business.