Essays/ what i wish they told me before starting the entrepreneurial path
This article is marked as draft. It is not in its final form.
When my path took me into the entrepreneurial world, there were many aspects to it that I wish people would have discussed more openly.
- It is a lonely path. I thought a PhD was lonely enough, but nothing compares to starting your own business. If you are lucky you may start with a partner, but the overall experience is the same.
There's no context, no colleagues, no one to hear you out when you are frustrated. The feeling of loneliness can easily permeate other aspects of your life. It's easy to spend days in which you barely spoke to anyone else.
There are no rules. Something I find fascinating is that everything is possible, negotiable. Despite all the advice you may find online, almost everything is up for discussion. How to distribute shares, responsibilities, expectations. How to get money, how much money, how to price your devices, etc. Nothing is deterministic.
It can become overwhelming very quickly. The lack of rules and a somewhat defined path, can make the process overwhelming. There are way too many options, things to do, think and act. Learning to prioritize, focus, and sit down to do things that are not motivating at all is fundamental to keep moving forward.
Deep tech is scarily male-dominated. Although it was possible to imagine I was getting into a completely male-dominated area, I never thought how entrenched the masculinity would be. It's not just in founders and first employees, it's also within review panels, venture capital. It's not a diverse environment, which makes it extremely challenging. You can see people change their demeanor when there's a woman close by.
Motivation can easily dwindle. Without a support network, it's easy to find yourself trapped in days where you simply don't know what to do, or even worse, don't wanting to do anything. These days come and go. It's easy to see that the neighbour's lawn is greener and question what you are doing. In the best case, the feelings go away and you move on.
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