Why a Startup is a Crying Baby

A few months ago, I first joined a new business. Did I give it much forethought? I can’t say that I did. It was an opportunity that presented itself out of the blue and I thought, “Why not?”

The entrepreneur was someone I respected, the founding partner is my best friend and I was very proud of the work that the business was doing.

This is a good starting point.

As time went on, problems arose. Some minor and some major. Was this unexpected? No, it wasn’t. It is a known risk in business that things don’t go according to plan. But the foundation remained firm, even when everything was shaky.

In the early days of building a business, we cannot have the same goals as big businesses that have a steady stream of everything. Our goals are daily, weekly and monthly. Anyone who says that they can plan for anything more are kidding themselves.

All we have is the bare bones of what it takes to start something. If you’re expecting it to look like something out of a magazine, let me tell you that those things are written later on to make it look glamourous. The early days are messy.

People who have not had the experience of having very little will not be able to understand why everything has not been provided for. I hear of big grants, loans and seed money and I think, “Most of it will be wasted.”

Young people these days have bought into the false hope that a business is a vehicle to fulfil your passions and your dreams. Imagine their horror when they wake up one day and realise that it is no different to having an unpredictable crying baby on their hands whose demands change from moment to moment.

People who are used to being provided for cannot take on the role of having to provide for others. Instead of viewing a business as a vehicle to pursue your passions (in the old days, they were called hobbies and past times), we need to be very pragmatic about what a business actually is.

And in the early days, it is a crying baby. It will poop and vomit all over you from time to time. You have to clean up its messes. And if you are a woman, which I am not, you also have to nourish and nurture it with your own body. And let us not underestimate the toll that entrepreneurship can take on your body.

After all that is done, you still have no idea how the business is going to turn out as it gets older and more established. It may be ‘a good kid’ in its younger years and could turn out to be a brat and a headache later on. Or maybe the reverse turns out to be true. Who knows?

Whatever the case is, the entrepreneur is like the mother or father of an enterprise. One day, that baby will grow up and stand on its own two feet. But while it is a crying, pooping mess–be prepared to change some diapers. Doesn’t sound like a glamorous job to me. So why did I agree yet again?

I’ll tell you why. I was excited to be a father.

So I’ll clean the poop and the vomit. It’s what I signed up for, anyway.

A parrot because I like them.

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