There's been a lot written on the solitude of founding a company. The lonely nights, the emotional ups and downs, and the almost-bi-polar nature of entrepreneurs. It's the way entrepreneurship happens. There's no work-life balance. It's a work-work balance (as I explained this to my business/life coach). You don't go on vacation. And if you do, you bring your laptop and setup an office in the palm trees or on the beach. Heck, I hear the Greek ruins make a great standing desk.
My point is that entrepreneurs need help.
We live, breath, eat, sleep, support, damage, build, and love our start-ups. They're children who (for most of us) live in the cloud. But, you still have to get up at 3am in the morning and feed it. You still have to cradle it to make it stop crying. And you have to pay for it to live. The time and effort you put into your baby (and the resources), the better your child is going to turn out.
While I do realize while, unlike a living-breathing human, you can shut your start-up down and no infants die. I get that. But, for me personally, I have three children. My full-time job, my fledgling food company, and my software start-up. And they're all just starting to walk. Sometimes they fall over. Sometimes I capture their first steps. And other times, I have to clean up what they spit-up.
And I'm doing this (for the most part) as a single parent.
Single parents need help. We need resources. We need people to talk to. We need someone that understands what we're going through. (Now I get why there are so many single parent support groups).
Entrepreneurs need help in three areas:
1. Life coaching
As part of the LaunchVT win a couple weeks ago, one of my in-kind services was a local business & life coach. I met with her for the first time last week. And she gave me homework. I need to go to two networking events (which I have planned for this week). This is the start of an awesome relationship. I immediately felt connected. I could be honest, she laughed at my jokes, and it helped to think through my life problems as an incredibly busy entrepreneur. I'm looking forward to getting my life together in ways it's never been together before.
2. Business coaching/mentorship
It's like an advisory board. A small group of people who help you make tough decisions, provide feedback, and let you know when you're off your rocker. I have a small group of five people I call on for help. They're local and scattered across the country - but they're all honest. Brutally honest. They make me think. They keep me on my toes. If I didn't have them, I'd be coasting along - business as usual. And who wants that? Get an informal advisory board together. You sure as hell can't do this alone.
3. Lifestyle coaching (eating and exercise)
Programmers, coders, entrepreneurs, and start-up teams have a stigma against them: staying up until 4am, covering Doritos in sriracha sauce, shoveling entire pizzas, making a dent in the office couch, and well, not moving at all. That's why I invested in a personal trainer. Sure, it's expensive, but in many ways, it's the only way I'm going to get to the gym. But, my trainer has been so much more. He's changed my perspective on life. He's helped me eat better, get stronger, sleep well, and increase my self-confidence. He knows when we need to lift heavy weights because I'm frustrated. But most important, he keeps me focused on my fitness goals. If you can afford it, get a good personal trainer, and your life will never be the same.
These are the three areas I'm getting help in. And I think it's keeping me from going crazy (friends and family may beg to differ). Do you think entrepreneurs need help in other areas?