Category Archives: entrepreneurship

Why We Do This

Most entrepreneurs know the Starbucks fantasy.  One morning, you’re waiting in line to grab whatever revs you up in the morning.

You’re on autopilot – not thinking about what you’re going to order, but about how you’re going to get through the month.  Is that new product really the right direction?  Is your most recent hire worth it, or should you have hired the other candidate?  Or both?  Or neither?  every thought ends with a question mark.

And then it hits you: Life could be simpler.  By a lot.  You could have less responsibility.  By a lot.

If you really wanted to, you could just close down your company and serve coffee for a living.  Do something well defined.  Repetitive.  Screw up peoples names on cups and not really care all that much.

A job that requires skill – but a totally different set of skills then you have today.

And you spend the two minutes in line watching the people behind the counter.  “I could do that,” you think to yourself.

After all, you’re an entrepreneur, it’s not like you bring home a huge paycheque anyway.  And nobody ever gives you tips, unless we’re talking about unsolicited advice.

About a year and a half ago, I was having a bout of the Starbucks fantasy.  It was lasting for weeks.  All I could think about was how I had so many options, and almost none of them would take as much out of me as running a company.

I was in Toronto visiting my best friend when I let it slip out of my mouth.  “Maybe I don’t even need to keep the company going.  We’re at a good place this year to wrap up our lease.  And I know I could line up other jobs for people easily.”

We let that sit in the air for a minute.  I felt especially tired.  I was trying to launch a product that wasn’t going anywhere.  The airline had just lost my luggage somewhere in New Jersey.  There was money in the bank, but nothing in our sales funnel.

“I’ve known you for ten years,” he said.  “And all you’ve I’ve ever seen you want is to run a company.”

He was right.  When I’m not running a company, my brain spends all it’s spare cycles thinking about starting one up.

And the Starbucks fantasy went away.  And it’s stayed away since.  Ever since the moment when I acknowledged that running a company wasn’t just something I was doing, it was something I was wanting.  Because it’s funny how quickly your brain turns wants into obligations.

If you’re in this place, I hope it’s because it’s something you want to do.  Because it’s something you’re driven to do.  If it’s something you’re just…doing?  That’s not worth it.  Go work at Starbucks.