Photo by Shes_Jack
Statistics show that 9 out of 10 businesses fail. Heck, I have already failed several times, so I only have a few more startups to go before I make it big, right?
I don’t think it’s that simple. It can’t just be a numbers game; there has to be an X-factor that all successful entrepreneurs have that others do not. There has to be a reason why some entrepreneurs make it, and others go crawling back to the corporate world.
My parents have been divorced since I was 10 years old. I’m not sad about it anymore; I actually think it was for the better. Since the age of 10, my brother and I have visited my Dad every Sunday to spend the day with him. Every Sunday we have gone to my Dad’s to eat dinner with him, rent a movie, and spend a few precious moments learning from his experience.
Because I spent my Sundays with my Dad, I would usually reserve my Saturdays for my Mom and Thursday and Friday nights would be when my friends and I would hang out. Things were solid, my life was balanced, and everyone was happy.
Enter the Startup Life
Ever since I started Future Delivery, the time that I am able to devote to my family, friends, and girlfriend has significantly diminished. The reason is pretty simple: I work until 2am most nights and work on weekends as well.
I went to San Francisco this week for the Web 2.0 Conference. Naturally, my girlfriend missed me and expected to hang out with me once I got back. But unfortunately, I had to cancel our Sunday evening and Monday morning hang out because I have so much work to do tonight. There was no way that I could have gotten everything done today if she had come over.
I had to cancel on my family dinner with my Dad as well. My aunt and my dad made sashimi just for me this week because they know how much I love it. And even though I really wanted to go, I knew that I couldn’t because I just didn’t have the time tonight to be away from my laptop.
This got me thinking: “Am I a terrible person? Am I being selfish for choosing work over my loved ones?”
I suddenly had an image of the movie Click with Adam Sandler. In the movie, Adam Sandler is a workaholic who consistently chooses his career over his family until they finally leave him and he’s left with nothing but his millions of dollars and his CEO position. Though he achieved everything he wanted in his career, he was left alone and unhappy.
What Twitter Peeps have to say
I started feeling like a complete douche bag. I pictured my Aunt, Dad, and Brother sitting around the dinner table eating their lovely sashimi without me. I pictured my girlfriend lying alone in her bed watching the latest episode of Rock of Love (man I hate that show). Am I a loser for choosing my work over my loved ones? I had to ask Twitter this question: “Who would you choose: Work vs Family/Signficant Other”
@20orsomething: Family, hands down. Family – whatever family you make for yourself – will always be there for you, even when work might not be
@norcross: family wins everytime. not even a debate
@hakimsonsfilms: I’m a small business owner and family is always first
@sparklytosingle: what kind of person would pick work over family and relationships?
[Luckily, I did find some people that chose my lifestyle]
@brianlinton: I’ve chosen work over my fam before – the key is having their support
@nikipaniki: Work. Family would always understand
An overwhelming majority of people who responded on Twitter would choose their family over their work. So does this mean I’m the worst son and worst boyfriend to ever walk this earth?
There can be no balance
You cannot please everyone; you cannot have a successful startup while devoting your time to family, friends, and your significant other. You can only choose one. This is what I feel separates the successful entrepreneurs with the wannabe entrepreneurs:
The Wannabe Entrepreneur cannot give up his apartment, movies, eating out, or current lifestyle
The Successful Entrepreneur cuts costs by moving back home, cooking instead of eating out, hulu instead of watching movies, and cuts costs in every way possible even if it means an uncomfortable lifestyle
The Wannabe Entrepreneur tries to maintain a 9-5, 40-hour work week
The Successful Entrepreneur works from 8am – 2am every day, including the weekends
The Wannabe Entrepreneur tries to please everyone and gives into peer pressure
The Successful Entrepreneur says no to friends, family, and the girlfriend, even on a Friday night
I met up with my good friend Neil Patel about a month ago and we spoke about his experiences as a successful entrepreneur. I asked him about his friends from High School and this is what he told me:
“I’m no longer close friends with anyone from high school. Not that we got into any fights or anything, but we just didn’t have the same life goals.”
Is this my future? I WANT to become a successful entrepreneur and rule the world, but what is the price that I must pay? Do I really have to give up my best friends and girlfriend just so that I can have a successful startup?
What are you willing to sacrifice?
A very important characteristic of a successful young entrepreneur is the ability to sacrifice everything to create a successful company.
How much am I willing to sacrifice?
- Would I sacrifice all future dinners with my Dad on Sundays? “Yes”
- Would I sacrifice hanging out with my high school or UCLA friends at bars, clubs, or even weekend basketball games? “Yes”
- If my company received funding to move up to Silicon Valley, would I jeopardize my relationship with Kim by doing a long-distance relationship? “Yes”
Does every entrepreneur have to make these sacrifices in order to become successful? I honestly believe we do.
The X Factor
Andrew Warner said it best: “If you live and die in the corporate world, no one will ever remember your name!”
My biggest fear is to be forgotten. People ask me how I’m able to work on so many projects at the same time (which I will answer in detail on a later post). Whenever someone asks me this question, I turn around and ask him this one: “How are you NOT able to work on multiple projects at once?”
After a year and a half of being a full-time entrepreneur, I now understand the X Factor. It is the relentless, unwavering devotion to the success of your company.
If you devote every second of your time, every ounce of sweat in your body into the success of your company, I promise you that you will succeed. If you do nothing but work every single moment of your life, your startup will reach success.
Is it worth it?
Some people are happy having a stable job, steady income, and loving family. I want more.
I want to be remembered as a man who made a positive impact on this earth. When I die, I want my name to live on and to be talked about in history books. I want my grandchildren’s ‘ grandchildren to be known as the great, great, grandchildren of the Jun Loayza.
Yes, for me it is worth it, because I will be a successful entrepreneur.
It’s 2am on a Sunday evening (or Monday morning to be exact) and I still have to finish editing Nisha’s Awesome Bloggers episode, not to mention finishing Blog Pushup. I’ve been sitting in front of this laptop ALL day, and I still have 2 hours of work ahead of me. Can you work as hard as me?
Discussion: What’s more important to you: stable life with a happy family or being remembered in the history books?