If you’ve ever been around someone who has a startup, you might have seen the signs.
For example, they spend all day at their first office and are perpetually on the phone with investors;
they get to work at 6 am every morning and leave 10 pm every night; they do not want to go for lunch because it is just too busy.
You know these people are working hard because that’s what salespeople do.
They make promises so exciting that everyone can’t help but want to buy in–
even if it means throwing away your day job or putting your life
on hold for two years of entrepreneurship bootcamp in Silicon Valley.
I am not speaking here of startups. There are some good ones; I believe, there will be even more in the future.
These startups have real capacity to change the world, but they are the exception rather than the rule.
In general, I see a lot of failure in startup culture–not only does 90% of startup activity fail ,
but this failure is mirrored in many people’s lives.
about 3 months into “working on my dream” with a startup that seems
so amazing and disruptive, people start to get anxious:
“Will enough people buy our product? Should we be doing something else?” And then they stop working so hard.
They stop networking, stop talking to VCs, start thinking about going back to school.
They return to the place where they were well cared for, respected and paid for their labor: a salaried job.
And for the “lucky” ones, this is exactly what happens in another few months–they get back into a salaried position somewhere.
For others who are less lucky, it takes years before they return.
I call this phenomenon “startup addiction.” There are many signs of startup addiction that I have collected over time:
They tell you a story that is so inspiring, you can’t help but want to join them.
They start their own company because they do not like their job, or because the job is not challenging enough for them.
They want to “change the world” rather than making a living by building something useful
They leave their day job to work on their startup full time and then complain that they don’t have money in the bank, which is why they need your money/investment/time
They think of their startup as a job and it is nothing more than a vanity project.
They have quit their job so they can be like Steve Jobs, who worked on Apple while he was at NeXT, or Mark Zuckerberg, who was at Harvard…
They leave their startup so they can work on another startup and then follow the same life cycle again (addiction to entrepreneurship)
They are “always busy.” They are never really working on their startup because they are always talking to investors, other startups, customers and partners.
They think the startup is their baby and it is totally their fault if it does not succeed.
They are seeking “more” from work, i.e., more money, better titles, better respect
While they have yet to achieve this “more” since they left job for a startup, they feel entitled to it and will not be satisfied
until they have achieved it and then quit their job (again) to go back to their startup…
When on vacation, they are thinking about what could be improved in their startup (i.e., how to make the product even better while on vacation)
On meeting new people, they talk about their startup because they think it is the coolest thing in the world
They get excited about possible friends in their startup and are always asking for money or investments even
if it would be better for you to help them with a large loan because their startup does not yet have a revenue… And so on.
I have collected this list from my own observations and from those who have told me stories of how they got addicted to startups.
I am sure there are more signs,
but this list covers most of them. https://crunchtimenews.com/
Of course there is more to being an entrepreneur than just working on your business all day long; that’s not how it works.
This is not about whether you should or should not become an entrepreneur. There are plenty of opinions about that.
What I wanted to point out is how the culture of startups makes us addictions subscribers and compulsive consumers, which leads to all kinds of consequences.
One problem with being addicted to entrepreneurship is that it will eventually be the death of startups.
I believe there are five reasons why this will happen:
Entrepreneurship involves uncertainty: entrepreneurs are risk-takers who trade a known, predictable income (salary) for an unknown, but potentially better income (business success).