Back in September 2013, I finished university, baby faced, a little immature, lacking responsibility and completely uncertain of the future.
The way forward was unclear. There was little to no suitable jobs in the field I had spent four years studying in. With a lack of available options in front of me, panic and stress began to set in, and make itself very comfortable…
Then something happened. Something that opened my eyes to a new path in front of me, and put control of my future in my hands.
I founded a startup.
Fast forward to 2019. I am still baby faced — although I currently try to wear some trendy facial hair to no avail — but so much is different.
I am battle hardened. I have dealt with failures and successes. I have expanded my skillset, abilities and knowledge. I am far more mature and experienced. And far more certain and confident about what lies ahead.
Founding a startup has changed me. Completely, totally and forever. And it will change you too.
Why Will It Change You?
You will change as a person because the journey will throw you into the unknown.
It is like being dropped onto a deserted island like some kind of Bear Grylls survival show, assured there is enough resources and potential around you to make it to the end.
As you try to make sense of your surroundings, you will quickly realise that while there is enough around, you have no idea how to make any of it work.
You look for the map to find there isn’t one, and you couldn’t read it even if there was. There is no compass. No direction. No mentor. No Bear Grylls.
“Small business isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s for the brave, the patient and the persistent. It’s for the overcomer”
As you begin to stumble around aimlessly, the heavens open. Your boots fill with water and your sleeping bag gets wet. Your fire goes out. Then your tent blows off in the storm. You fall to your knees and scream “fuck you!” at the sky.
The sky returns a bolt of thunder, and even heavier rain.
Out here it is sink or swim it taunts.
I am going off on a tangent here, but the Bear Grylls island is a basically a metaphor for starting your own business.
A startup throws you in the shit.
And this is the knee deep kinda shit.
It leaves you vulnerable, alone and lost.
And when you are faced with those moments, that is when you will change.
When you push through challenging times. When you break down the barriers. When you beat the self doubt. When you make something, from nothing. When you grasp onto some kind of success at the end of it all.
These are the moments will change you for the better, forever.
How will it change you?
1. The problems you solve will make you smarter
You will become more prepared. More efficient. More capable. More confident. More trusting in your judgement.
2. The projects you work on will improve your skillset
Your abilities. Your ability to work with teams. To work with strangers. Your ability to organise, manage, time keep and meet deadlines, will all develop and improve.
3. Your successes in the startup will improve your confidence
This will translate into your day to day life as well. They will remove your fears and barriers. Break down the self doubt. They will make you feel ready to take on anything. They will make you happier and shoot your job satisfaction through the roof.
4. Your failures will build a protective coat around you
Every mistake will teach you something new. Everything you get wrong will enable you to get more right in the future. The mistakes you make will keep you humble. Grounded. Approachable. Understanding.
The startup journey will improve you in every way.
You will learn so much, meet so many people, achieve great things and undertake challenges and projects so far out of your comfort zone that you will learn invaluable skills and lessons, and become adaptable and ready for anything the future holds.
It really will change you instantly, forever.
And that, is the beauty of a startup.