The start of a new year always sparks reflection for me, both on where I’ve been and where I’m going.
I’ve always been an adventurous guy, but since I’ve been running Bluffworks full time, my definition of adventure has changed a bit. Starting your own business is an adventure unlike any other.
Before starting Bluffworks I had:
- Sailed across the Atlantic.
- Walked barefoot for weeks alone in the jungle of Irian Jaya.
- Narrowly dodged getting nabbed by some nasty guys in Eastern Turkey.
- Hopped a freight train down the Columbia River Gorge.
- Married a girl who had a dog that bit me.
- Ran naked in front of Nike Town wearing only a pair of Nikes.
- Convinced Barbara Corcoran to launch my Kickstarter project.
- Worked so hard, I kept a sleeping bag under my desk.
- Let spell check miss-correct "warehouse" into "whorehouse" in client-facing documentation.
- Messed up a software configuration that caused a whole team of programmers to chase their tails for a day.
- Cried at work.
- Fathered a son whose energy eclipses mine.
- Wrote software overseas for $4 an hour.
- Stomped grapes all night for a ride out of wine country.
- Went on business trips where I shared a bed with my boss.
- Went on business trips where I shared a bed with bed bugs.
- Sat in first class without a ticket.
- Shoveled piles of cookies on the Oreo production line.
- Bought a black market video camera that turned out to be wet newspaper.
- Had my camera stolen right out of my pocket in Morocco.
- Dated a woman twice my age.
- Convinced my father-in-law I'm not a bad guy.
- Cheated on an exam to become nationally ranked in Latin.
- Knocked-out a bully with one punch.
- Learned to survive speaking only Vietnamese.
- Crashed a car driving the wrong way down a one way street.
- Went head to head in corporate politics and lost.
So, I’ve had no shortage of life experiences. And yet, I can tell you without a doubt that:
ENTREPRENEURSHIP is the toughest, most arduous adventure I've ever undertaken.
Why is it so hard?
Because entrepreneurship takes a range of skills, most of which I had to learn or cultivate along the way. It’s like holding up a mirror to yourself, and no one is good at everything.
All of the above things look hard, but they were things I loved. They felt challenging, but still fell into the category of things I was good at.
Unlike becoming an entrepreneur, which took me way outside my comfort zone. Realizing, “I need a new career,” and changing careers at 40 wasn’t easy. It has required me to dig deep, face some fears, and go against the grain more often than not. If you want to know how to become an entrepreneur, I think the first step is being willing to face your fears.
You think running naked on the street in NYC is scary? Try starting a business is what I’m saying!
But now — just like all those other crazy adventures — I wouldn’t have missed this one for the world.