I remember my first year in business. It was a perfect storm in the making: electrifyingly interesting, beautiful even, and equally terrifying. I had no clue what I was doing, and I felt overwhelmed most of the time, never getting through all that had to be done. The ‘to do’ list grew and grew and alongside it, my inability to manage it adequately.
I was in the process of completing my MPhil Entrepreneurship thesis, which I would be presenting at The Babson Entrepreneurship Conference in Boston. I was suspended between two worlds, the academic entrepreneurship holding no correlation whatsoever to the real thing I was engaged in every day. Think ice cream and boiling milk: complete opposites.
These cycles represent fairly accurately the phases I went through as a start up tech entrepreneur:
This theory of ‘crossing the chasm’ between early adoption and mass adoption in order to scale a business is like manning a production chain: every step that happens in the process is key to the success of the next phase. The business was doing one thing, and I as the entrepreneur had to be thinking within that phase while simultaneously managing the previous phase and planning ahead for the next one.
This meant, of course, that the to-do list was always growing while some activities settled in to become status quo: long hours, short lunch breaks, no fixed working time, the struggle of work/life balance, and the reality that this is a chasm after all.
But in this tempest, I stumbled over the truth from science once again—that entrepreneurship can be taught, teaching me even the things I didn’t know I needed to learn.
This article is part of an ongoing series on business lessons learned in the day to day setting of a small business tech environment. Other articles in this series are linked below.
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