Confessions of a Millennial Entrepreneur

This is my attempt at telling it as it is; the confession of a millennial entrepreneur.

I have been struggling lately. This isn’t something to admit to a stranger but since I have your attention, I might as well tell it all. I have been struggling in all areas of life.

Entrepreneurship is hard. Even when you can see the road and make plans with projections in mind, 2020 has not been the year of plans and projections because everything went out the window since the pandemic.

Every year, I come up with a theme to move forward with and my word for 2020 was: Evolve; I was going to steadily come forth into the life that I always wanted. Instead of evolving and coming forth, I have instead been surviving.

I tried talking to loved ones but they try to sell me on something.

They tell me to be positive and pray, but I have been there and I know it doesn’t work. It has always been a case of 50/50 when I calculate it. Then they push it further down your throat; I know they are trying to help, but all they do is make it worse.

We live in a society where we talk much about mental health, but when someone admits weakness or shows a sign of struggle; we tell them to man it up and forge ahead.

This creates men and women dying on the inside but forging ahead. They arrive at the finish line if they ever arrive at all deranged and defeated.

The Lockdown and Its Effect on the Entrepreneur

I wrote about ways to prepare for the pandemic but that was written in retrospect. I can now sit back and review past events to know how I can prepare for future ones.

In reality, this lockdown took a lot from me than I could afford to give. I was drained and battered; watching as my business candle dwindled in my eyes and there was nothing I could do about it.

I have bills to pay to keep the business afloat and those bills can’t wait, my clients have bills to pay to us and they prioritized food over their websites; who can blame them?

The funny thing is, I have to put on a brave face. I was the guy everyone was calling. I was the one giving, paying salaries, and smiling. Telling fellow entrepreneurs, colleagues, and mentees that everything will be fine.

Deep down, I was torn and dejected.

Car on fire:

I was sure the worst is over, getting ready to resume work and get the stream flowing again when I saw smoke coming straight at my window; I peeped outside to find my Honda car on fire. There was a wiring issue and the whole engine was burnt.

Replacing it will cost more than the car is worth, so I had to get rid of it. That created an additional problem- transportation. Public transport costs more than driving and taxis are not exactly cheap.

You also have to consider your family and emergencies. So I had to get another car, even though I was not ready for it, and so I did.

It was a case of being reactive. As plans are thrown up and down by events with circumstances standing against you, the only thing you can do is react and try to do the best you can do. This was amplified this 2020.

High blood pressure is no respecter of age:

I was not expecting to have high blood pressure. At least not at my age; I always thought it was a sickness reserved for the obese, old and inactive.

With my family not having any history of the disease, I thought I was home free. I was wrong. High blood pressure is a thing and it can strike the young and old alike.

I started feeling my breath becoming elevated and my chest beating more than usual. It went for a week and I knew something was wrong. A trip to the hospital was all I needed to confirm, my blood pressure was high.

As I got to learn, not sleeping and overworking can kill you. Who knew?

So I was denied the only weapon I had to save my company as a bootstrapping entrepreneur – my hardwork.

The doctor told me if I continue like this, I was going to die. I mean when a medical professional tells you that you might die, you have no choice but to sit up and listen.

Stoicism was helpful until it wasn’t:

I have 3 philosophies that I try to live by:

  • Pragmatism – Do only what works
  • Minimalism –  Buy only what I need
  • Stoicism – Endure anything.

I know this is an oversimplification of life but this is the basis on which these philosophies were built. Marcus Aurelius once said “Don’t be overheard complaining… Not even to yourself.”

To a stoic, complaining is both futile and useless. You must find the next step or plan to fix the problem or not think about it at all.

In most cases these statements are true, in some, you just want to speak up. Discuss, tell someone about your problems. As an entrepreneur, that discussion might be what you need to stay sane in the midst of the storm.

You are not alone:

The purpose of this article is to let you know as an entrepreneur, you are not alone.

Your struggles might not be the same as mine but it is not going to defeat you. Don’t buy the narrative of manning up and swallowing things until it drowns you.

If need be, talk to a loved one who will just sit back and listen. Someone that will provide a solution beyond positivity and generic answers. Make out time to care for yourself, breathe, and be yourself.

Do the things that you love. Being an entrepreneur is a full-time job and you get to work on weekends too. It can be very encompassing and difficult to breathe and to be honest, the stress can get to you.

This is the reality of it, so find yourself and keep sane in the midst of the storm.