The word ‘startup’ has created a false reality.
When we think of startups we now think of the following:
- Cool kids wearing their startup t-shirts
- Co-working spaces
- Lots of lattes with a picture drawn in the froth
- San Francisco and how perfect it is (I’ve been there and it’s not perfect: #HomelessPeopleEverywhere)
- Unicorns (not the ones you see on kid’s shows)
- Made up valuations (a GFC fixes this problem nicely)
- Accelerators (an overload of opinions that are just that)
- Pitch nights where investors are made to look like Fortune Tellers and experts when the reality is nothing more than this: they’re guessing
It’s time to bin the word startup.
The word has no meaning. Day one is the start and then everything after that is just business. By continually using the word startup we’re implying we’re still at the start when we’re not.
“The word startup makes us feel crappy because it puts us in the amateur, early stage, “I’m still learning” category which never expires”
We never know what we’re doing in business completely and that’s a good thing.
Everything is constantly changing and so we’re going to be lifelong learners in the business world whether we like it or acknowledge it.
The word ‘Startup” means business so let’s call it that.
Just like a penis, big or small, it’s a fucking penis. Let’s call it what it is.
Maybe you’re a small business with one employee.
Maybe you’re a large corporation with 35,000 employees
Maybe you work one day a week on a side hustle.
Maybe you have two freelancers working for you one day a month.
It’s all just business. Sorry cool kids, the word ‘startup’ doesn’t make business any easier, different, simpler, funkier or any other description you can give.
Can everyone really be an entrepreneur?
I’ll give it to you straight amigo: no, they can’t.
“Some of you suck at entrepreneurship even though Instagram sells you on the dream that you can sit on the beach with your laptop, sip a cocktail, take a selfie and do one hour of work a day”
This is all a lie designed to mess with your head and force you to suffer FOMO thus resulting in social media engagement for someone with a landing page that leads to a digital product where there’s a payment wall for you to insert your credit card number and add money to a bank account that’s not yours.
Many of you can’t handle:
- Stupid amount of stress
- 12-hour days
- Managing other people
- Having to be creative
- Customers whose demands never stop
- The game of money
- Soul crushing failure
The list could go on forever. There are so many components to entrepreneurship.
Only about 1% of people are truly cut out for it. Just like not everyone can be a leader - otherwise there would be no followers - not everyone can be an entrepreneur. And that’s okay.
You’re human - you’ll be okay.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try entrepreneurship. Sometimes giving it a shot and doing it is the only way to find out.
Life is not all about startups and entrepreneurship - there’s more to it than that.
When does the ‘Startup Phase’ end?
Some people say Stripe is a startup even though they do billions in revenue now. Some people call my side-hustle a startup even though it’s just me.
The word ‘startup’ keeps getting used because somehow it puts you in a different league where growth hackers (I call it sales), dev-ops, UX designers and a whole bunch of other words that describe a team that does sales or builds software exists.
A startup is not a startup; it’s called a business.
No more buzz words.
No more unicorns.
No more thinking you’re smarter than your competitors.
No more BS valuations.
No more naming and shaming people who don’t want to be a founder of a startup like you.
Not everyone is in love with startups and not all of us want to be founders. Some people want to be stay-at-home dads or stay-at-home moms.
Some people want to raise their kids instead of being on the front of Startup Daily with a bunch of cool kids.
There’s more to life than fucking startups and #StartupLife.
Business is business.
- You build a product or service with you or a co-founder.
- You attempt to see whether it solves a problem
- You continue validating the idea beyond your mom & dad, friends and work colleagues
- You make some money - $1, $100, $100k - it doesn’t matter
- You continuously improve the product to make your customers happier
- You make them happy and the business makes more money
- You build out a team so you can grow the business to be bigger
- Then you either stop at where you are and be bloody happy, or you raise money in some form - VC, bank, angels, parents, ICO (insert trendy way to borrow more money)
- You hi-five everyone, sell the business and sit on a beach or you keep going because it becomes about more than money
Final Word On Startups.
If you want to create a business, then do it. If you don’t then that’s fine too.
Find a problem, solve it and be humble as hell about it if you succeed. There’s more to this world than the ridiculous label that is startup.