I wish I could blame the queasy feeling I have had for the last few months on bad food choices or the blessing of another baby on the way. Entrepreneurial nausea is a common condition experienced by those pushing their limits in the pursuit of some milestone for a venture. The eternal optimism of most founders is the best explanation of why anyone would choose the path of new business creation, which many would consider sadomasochism.
When I started my first real business in high school, I remember feeling sick a lot. I was balancing six advanced placement classes and going out almost every night to see bands and have meetings, so I chalked it up to not sleeping much. Then I spent years developing content, connecting entertainment industry entrepreneurs, and traveling on tour buses, so the rush was always there to keep me focused on building my business rather than questioning the unique (read: crazy) situations that became my norm.
I have to admit that it is scary to be an entrepreneur in startup mode again. Every day is a rollercoaster of emotion. I left the comforts of steady income, a clear role, and a consistent schedule and dove headfirst into the great unknown, which I have the pleasure/pressure of designing and executing every day. I know we are going to be great. My team knows we are going to be great. I am not running for homecoming queen – my role is to lead a team to build the best content and technology to create scalable programs and processes to empower entrepreneurs and support their development, and that is all I do every day.
There are four key ingredients needed to create a business that has staying power:
1. A clear vision. Why does the company need to exist? And what impact will your product or service and team have over the next 20 years on an industry, a continent, or population? If it seems achievable, you aren’t thinking big enough.
2. Share your vision through your story. The tale of Venture Hive starts 25 years before it opened and has lots of twists and turns. If I wrote my vision without referencing my past, any rational reader would dismiss it as fantasy, but once he knows my values, my love for Miami, and my passion for supporting entrepreneurs, it is hard not to cheer for the underdog.
3. Lead your team to greatness. This was the biggest hurdle for me to overcome. I love being in a team and working together as equals, but the brave souls who have decided to join me on this journey aren’t there for my friendship. I have to be clear about what I am doing and what their roles are in supporting my vision. Being a leader is lonely but the power contained in the gift of trust that one’s team bestows is enough to fuel a city for 100 years, and makes the impossible feel attainable.
4. Build a team for sustainability. I hire and develop to create redundancies. My team must breathe life into the seeds I planted or else our growth will be limited by dependencies.
If you want to change an industry, a mindset, or millions of lives, be prepared for battle every day. Having to be strong is exhausting – for my team, my family, and for the entrepreneurs who call Venture Hive home.
What keeps me going, with a smile at least 80 percent of the time, are the founders that we support. And if you are addressing a problem, providing a solution that transforms lives, your drive will overpower the doubts that may surface, including the notions that seem innocent and rational but can usurp the confidence that an entrepreneur musters daily. If we don’t do it, who will?
“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” – Apple Inc.
Susan Amat is the founder of Venture Hive. You can follow her on Twitter at @susanamat.