Why start-ups hate Christmas!
Throughout my corporate life, I always looked forward to the Christmas break. It meant I would get some time off, in the middle of summer (I’m an Australian), and I could just relax and recharge myself for another long year! However, as this festive season rolls around, the first I am facing as a self-employed entrepreneur, I feel quite the opposite.
When you are in the early stage of your start up, there are generally two things that stop your company from progressing: time and money. Because there’s just you (or in the case of Senior Living Services, two of us), only one thing can be done at a time. Whether that’s designing the platform, creating a pitch deck, marketing and selling, or creating a realistic cash flow for investors, we can only do so much in so much time. The other side of the coin is money. It takes money to build the platform (when you are both non-technical and you can’t find someone crazy enough to quit their steady job to become your full-time full-stack coder for 33% of the business), it takes money to create and build a brand, and the longer things take in time, it means it takes money away from us in terms of a salary we can not afford to pay ourselves.
So with those two things lingering over my shoulder like the ghost of Christmas past, I am seeing this holiday period in a brand new light. No more is it about relaxing, recharging, spending time with family and friends. Now it is all about stressing over how much “dead time” there now is where the developers won’t be building, the angel investors will be shut down and on holidays, and how four more weeks will pass without us being any closer to receiving a pay-check. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but I am comforted by the fact that it is just part and parcel of the ups and downs of running a start-up, and that these downs will be countered by some ups further down the track.
Despite the negative slant I am putting on this upcoming time, it’s not all bad. There are definitely positives to take out of it. I will get to continue to read more books on self development and entrepreneurship without thinking “I should be working”, with The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz, Zero to One by Peter Thiel, and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho high on my list of books to (re)consume. I also get to spend more time with my two boys (11 and 9), which is great over the summer months with the warmer weather and longer days. I also get time to think about our business strategy, and try to think of the thousands of directions we could possibly take the company and the millions of iterations of outcomes from those thousands of directions.. hmm.. maybe that’s not such a positive thing! :)
Ultimately, there is also the motivating factor that I don’t want to be in this position next year, so I need to make sure that we get far enough down the track by Christmas 2018 that we don’t have to worry about closing down for 2–4 weeks because things will be humming along already!
What are some of the ways you will be spending your down time this holiday period?