No Freakin’, Entrepreneur

In a recent blog post Dharmesh Shah cites 8 examples of  things entrepreneurs freak out about. Do any of them sound familiar?

1. Your lead investor in a funding round backs out in the final stages. (By the way, when this happens, you’re almost never going to hear what the real reason is).

2. You get a certified letter in the mail from some big law firm you’ve never heard of (nobody’s heard of law firms, until they they do). The envelope the letter came in is the nice, creamy, heavy-stock kind. It’s more expensive-looking than the one you used for your wedding invitations. The letter uses a lot of words to basically say “you’re being sued”.

3. Your lead developer leaves. This is about half way into a project to rewrite your product in Scala, which he convinced you to do.

4. A very big customer deal you were just about to close falls through. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal, except that you spent a bunch of time and money trying to get this deal done. Time and money you couldn’t really afford to waste.

5. You were about to be acquired, and now the acquirer has “gone dark”. Despite your best intentions, the team and you have been making decisions based on the impending acquisition. “It would be silly to do X, Y and Z when we’re going to be acquired next month…”

6. The production system that hosts all your customers came crashing down. And that live backup system you thought you had isn’t all that live.

7. One of your competitors just went and raised a ton of money. They’re blanketing the industry with PR, marketing, fancy new booths at tradeshows, local events involving a winnebago and taking out ads, seemingly all over the Internet. Potential customers, investors, friends and even your mom ask you about this big, bad competitor. You get tired of saying: “But their product sucks!”

8. Co-founder takes a job somewhere. Feels really badly about it. Promises to help out nights and weekends. You don’t have the heart to say: “Yeah, but it’s the emotional support I’m going to miss the most…”

Any one of these events can cause an entrepreneur to overreact. Rash decisions are often made to the detriment of the business and its team. Instead of knee-jerk reactions, try to remain calm and seek the counsel of your mentor(s). For perspective, consider that many others before you have encountered and survived similar challenges.

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