As part of the process of founding a start-up, I’m learning how to be more independent than ever before in my professional career. I have always favored working independently, but this experience has taken solo to a whole new level. In the past, even if I was working on a project alone, there would be other people who knew about my project and were in on the endeavor. Now, my only allies are a few contractors and a couple of friends who let me bounce ideas off of them. Primarily, though, I’m on my own.
As part of this process of becoming more solitary, I have had to figure out ways to combat the bad parts of spending so much time alone, in my house, staring at the walls, for hours on end. One thing that I have started doing is working from home office in the morning, and then going somewhere that has free wi-fi for the afternoon. My current favorite places are Panera Bread and the Beverly Public Library. Both are comfortable, friendly places to work and they are packed with people. There is something about having background noise that really helps me concentrate.
Also, I also have started reading books written about, by and for people who have started companies. I’m not reading these books so much for the information that they are giving me about how to start a company (although I’ll use any tips that I get), but more for the camaraderie that I feel with the authors. There is something very helpful about knowing that other people have gone through this before me, that they understand, that I am not insane or losing my mind or crazy for doing this. (OK, well may be a little, but I’m not totally over the edge – yet.)
Currently, I’m reading a book called Entrepreneur’s Notebook: Practical Advice for Starting a New Business Venture, written by Steven K. Gold. This bit in Chapter 1 is something that I can totally relate to, something that I feel whenever I tell someone that I’m starting a company. And it’s for this encouragement, this feeling that someone else gets it, that I am reading this book and every one like it that I can get my hands on.
“…no matter what your age or experience, entrepreneurship involves such things as obsession, compulsion, creative surges, and a roller coster of emotional highs and lows. All of this can make you appear mad, whether or not it’s true.
The life of an entrepreneur does not resemble normal behavior by most people’s standards. This may explain why many of your friends give you a blank stare when you tell them you’re starting a company, or why you get the sense that family members are talking about you behind your back. Go easy on them. Few of us are fated to be entrepreneurs, or even to understand why anyone else would want to subject himself to all of the risks and hard work. It’s difficult for many people to appreciate the appeal of entrepreneurship versus the perception of stability and a regular paycheck that comes with a “real job.” The best suggestion is to swallow your pride and concentrate on building your new venture. Ultimately, there is nothing more convincing than success.”