Are you working over the Easter holiday break? If so, you may well be a startup founder. Funnily enough, I agree a lot of what Tim Ferriss says in his ’4-hour workweek’. He is right, especially in a tech startup it’s important to break away from the constraints of the corporate lifestyle, work extremely efficiently, outsource as many small tasks as possible but you then need to multiply the time he suggests spending on the business by about 20 times. Very few early stage tech startups will survive without their founder working flat out for the first 2 to 5 years of their business. Let’s look at the reasons;
Lack of resource – Tech startups drive efficiency from limited resources. Before the first round of funding startups are boot-strapping. Once the early rounds of funding are received founders are under extreme pressure from investors to meet deadlines. Even with funding they will still rarely have enough resource to fully meet the potential of the company, and from usability and simplicity to disaster proofing and recovery, things will inevitably slip.
Low probability of success – Startup founders face an uphill struggle to succeed in the most competitive market places on earth. With less than a 10% chance of hitting the big time, every little bit of effort put into the business increases that chance. If you don’t grab market share by working all hours, you can be sure your competitors will.
Continuous work cycle – luckily for workaholics, the startup work cycle never really stops. Operational activities such as dealing with customers, suppliers and investors, take place during the normal working week. However, marketing is a 24/7/365 activity. Most startups need to create maximum buzz in order to drive traffic across multiple time zones, so the more that goes in, the more that comes out.
High rewards – We shouldn’t forget that most tech founders are out to change the world in their own little way. This can bring massive rewards both in terms of satisfaction and personal wealth. There is plenty of time to sit on the beach when you are retired. Who wants to look back upon what could have been if they had only put more effort into executing their dream.
In summary, tech startups are not lifestyle businesses, unless your lifestyle is to view work as pleasure, which is possible. Work-life balance is not achievable unless you see work as your life. There will be a period of intense work where you will have to sacrifice some of the things that you hold very dear to you. However, you also owe it to yourself to maximise the chance of success and this can only happen if you are prepared to put 100 percent into achieving your dream.