In a moment of epiphany, it occurred to me that mental fortitude is by FAR the most important and underestimated requirement for a startup founder. What I mean by that, is there’s a lot of crap which comes your way when you decide to be an entrepreneur, and you need to be able to deal with it. You need to be able to roll with the punches, but even if you get knocked down, you cop it on the chin and get ready to do it all again the next day.

To begin with, there’s the financial pressures and the understanding of the risks you’ve taken. Statistically, start ups don’t have a high success rate, and the likelihood is that you’re going to fail, and lose out financially. But hopefully just enough so that you don’t face absolute ruin.

Then there’s this sense of being ostracised from society. Everyone wonders why you left your nice cushy corporate job to do something very risky. And you start doing things like attending networking events, working on weekends and sending emails to randoms which no one else does. I’ve often read that entrepreneurs feel so different from nearly everyone they know and it’s true. You start realising that other people don’t think like you do, and it feeds a sense of alienation from society.

And working from home doesn’t really help much either. While some people thrive in solitude, I’d say that the majority of people have been habituated to work in groups through schooling and work, hence losing contact with other people as you beaver away can cause stress in itself.

And finally, there’s the doubters and the haters. Disappointingly, these aren’t just randoms you barely know, they’re often people you know very well. In Australia, I definitely feel that tall poppy syndrome is not just rife, it’s thriving, and it’s even there for people who haven’t found success yet. As a startup founder, you do encounter a lot of negativity, discouragement and sometimes outright hostility from people, but you just need to put it aside and continue trucking along.

Maybe I’m coming off as a real whinger here. I’ll admit, these are probably what you call ‘first world problems’. Regardless, they do result in stress, so along with the passionate highs of doing a startup, there are incredible lows. It’s just all part of the entrepreneur emotional rollercoaster and welcome aboard!

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