My father was a business person who worked in a corporate environment his entire life. He did well for himself, my mom, my brother and I, and he always discouraged me to become an entrepreneur.
He said being an entrepreneur means crazy long hours, a lot of stress, that it was insecure, too much of this, and too much of that.
My father was RIGHT: Being an entrepreneur requires a lot of work and it’s really, really, really hard!
Finding the perfect cofounder, finding customers, growing a user base, raising capital, bootstrapping, building a rock-star team, keeping the team happy, etc. Nailing all of these are hard.
Today in 2015, we’re all well-aware it’s easier than ever to launch a business, and since more and more people are giving it a go, a lot of founders are learning just how hard it is, well, the hard way.
When I meet struggling founders I listen, I empathize, I try to point them in different directions, and I offer introductions when I can, but there’s one thing I hate hearing from founders in a rut and unfortunately it seems like people are saying it more and more:
“Things would be so much easier if my business was in the Valley.”
It discourages me and even angers me when people say it. I spent 4 years in the valley building a mobile startup. Our company raised a total of $11M from Reid Hoffman, Joey Ito, Mohr Davidow Ventures and Draper Fisher Jurvetson. We grew the team to about 40 people and eventually exited to Shutterfly, and let me tell you, I experienced first hand just how hard it is.
Yes, of course, there’s a bigger startup community in the Valley.
…a stronger entrepreneurial culture.
…more engineering talent.
…more potential partners.
…more. more. more!
But, they don’t realize there’s a lot more competition.
…talent is paid much, much more.
…engineers hop from one startup to the next.
…rent and other fixed costs are higher.
…there’s no tax incentives like SR&ED.
(and this list goes on and on, and on)
Thinking it’s easier to build a business in the Valley is nothing more than an easy excuse, and it’s lying to yourself.
Plain and simple, it ABSOLUTELY isn’t easier to build a business in the Valley.
Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy. Not in Montreal, not in San Francisco, not in Boston, not anywhere!
The entrepreneurial journey actually, truly is a roller coaster of ups and downs. That’s not just something people say.
The Lows are really low, the highs, well, they’re really high and one of the best feelings ever. Remember, if it was easy, everyone would do it.
An old friend of mine always says, “Excuses are for losers.”
Entrepreneurs will certainly never be losers, so buckle up, keep going and remember that it well get great!