The Startup Life Isn't For Everyone; 4 Questions You Need To Ask Before Taking The Plunge

If you're out to disrupt the world, expect your life to be disrupted first.

Quit your day job and be free, they said. Being your own boss is so fulfilling, they said. Starting a startup is so liberating, they said.

That may be true for some people, but not everyone is built for the startup life.

Yes, founding a startup is a great way to test your mettle. You'll be part of a smaller team, which means you'll have more responsibilities and more learning opportunities. You'll be working with ambitious, innovative people with big goals, and your days will always be action-packed.

But it's not for everyone. That's why you should think long and hard before you take the plunge and abandon your cushy corporate job to found (or even just join) a startup.

Here are some questions that you need to ask yourself before starting a startup:

1. Are you prepared to put in the work?

"The journey to success is long," GrowthSupply founder Ali Mese writes in this Medium post. "Very long. Very often, too long."

If you thought your corporate desk job was demanding, wait until you have your own startup. Yes, you're saying goodbye to the 9 to 6, but you'll be trading it in for longer hours. In this Inc. article, Mesosphere CMO Peter Guagenti writes:

"Be prepared to work all day (day after day), and then be on your phone all day (day after day), and then be on your phone after hours, prepping for the next day and constantly reading to keep informed in this ever-changing market. Be prepared to do whatever the job requires, regardless of your level."

2. Have you found the right people?

The success of a startup depends on its founders. You can have the best idea in the world, but without the right team, you're doomed to fail. The founders set the tone for the company's culture and practices. If you or the other senior people on your team have questionable judgement or are just plain incompetent, you better have a good exit strategy, cause you're probably going to use it soon.

3. Are you ready and willing to tighten your belt?

Starting a company will eat up your savings faster than you'd think. Be prepared to live on a shoestring diet and to cut costs wherever possible. Why do you think so many startups began in garages, with their founders sleeping on friends' couches?

4. How much do you really want this?

In his blog post, Mese details how he struggled with dealing with other people's expectations and finances. He was so strapped for cash, that at one point, he had to borrow "a few cents" from his girlfriend because he couldn't afford to buy bottled water.

He lost friends. He lost sleep. He lost money. It all paid off in the end, but it was a long and difficult ride.

Bottom line? If you're out to disrupt the world, expect your life to be disrupted first.


We hope this article on starting a startup gave you some food for thought!

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