Why running a startup hurts so good

Today I am tired. The kind of tired that burns your eyes, and fills your vision with a soft haze.

I am writing this because out there some other entrepreneur is tired too. That person may come across this post and see that they aren’t alone.

What is an entrepreuner? Well if you read any of the hundreds of blogs related to the topic it is someone whom lives in the valley or some other area where VCs give out cash and dudes are eating ramen, working 23 hour days, and creating the “next big thing.”

The reality is an entrepreneur is any person whom had courage as big as their dreams to create a business of their own. That means your local pizza restaurant owner, the pool guy, that kid mowing your lawn this summer for $15, and the next crop of venture funded hipster coffee addicts.

Here is something you won’t read in one of those blogs, running a startup hurts. The kind of bone crunching, skin tearing, chest pressing pain few people will ever feel.

Think about the concept:

1) You turn your ideas and dreams into a living breathing entity

2) This little baby needs food to grow, capital. Everywhere you turn to get this capital you are told that your baby is less than attractive.

3) So you take capital where you can, you scrape, and you move along the business plan you have created towards the promised land. But what no one tells you is that the finish line is mobile in this game, everyday it will move, sometimes closer, but most likely farther, or a little to the left.

Unfortunately for some of our families we were bitten with the entrepreneurial bug when we had other responsibilities. Eating ramen and working 23 hours a day isn’t exactly an option for someone like me, because I have 3 young boys I am looking to grow into men, and a beautiful wife whom didn’t exactly sign up for this.

My startup has a team of 50 people. It puts it in a weird category. We aren’t big and we aren’t small. We are a wild teenager that needs all the newest gadgets and a healthy allowance so that they don’t implode like a black hole. Every payroll run is marked on our calendar, and every major payment from a customer that comes in a day early is praised, and every major payment that comes in late is cursed.

And we do this all for the big payday right?


In fact if you are an entrepreneur just in it for the big payday, I am willing to throw cash down on your failure.

We are in this because we don’t know any other way. We are in this because of passion.

When I met my wife, I knew from day 1 I would marry her. This is the kind of passion I think few people ever realize in life, but it is something every real entrepreneur can identify with.

You love your idea.

You love your team, and what you have built.

You love the joy of every major win, and the pain of every major failure.

There isn’t a slot on your pay stub for love, but it is important to remember the benefit we get from loving what we do every day. We get to live our dreams. We get to help our teams realize theirs.

Today I am tired, but I know all of the energy has been exerted in an act of passion. The kind of passion people will talk about after I am gone, and that changes the people around me for the better.

So today it hurts, but it hurts so good.

Where are you at?

13 thoughts on “Why running a startup hurts so good

  1. This is an awesome post Dave- It wasn’t my dream to work for CopyPress after I graduated college almost 2 years ago.. I worked a couple horrible jobs that stunted my creativity and passion.. as fate would have it, the day after I left one of my miserable jobs I came in for an interview with CopyPress. As time has passed CopyPress has grown into my dream.. I feel the passion and understand the struggles. But, I continue to push because I truly believe in the company and the management! Thanks for this Dave

  2. …and people like you that believe in the company, renew managements passion for what we are doing

  3. Love this! Seeing how much you care for the company and all of us gives me that extra push to try even harder. Really happy to be a part of the CopyPress team and can’t wait to see what the future holds!

  4. I know you’ve been through it Dan. Similar paths. I am happy to see you succeeding and creating a family centered business.

  5. Dave – Great post, inspiration. Seeing CopyPress grow and change over the years has been eye-opening. Unreal the journey you’ve lead the team on. Best of luck on the continued success.

  6. Kevin that means a lot coming from you, a tried and true entrepreneur. Hopefully we can find other people in the valley that at least see what we have been able to accomplish and are willing to take a shot on where we believe we can take this thing.

  7. Oh for the will of the freelancer. The entrepreneur life is not for the weak. You come from a place with passion and drive for the other small businesses out there to strive for. Great Post!

  8. Dave….. man am I tired…
    but that last line did it.
    I wouldn’t have it any other way.
    1:30 here in LA and I’ll be up up at 4:30 after a quick few hours sleep to deal with the waking clients on EST.
    My wife didn’t sign up for it, nor my 4 kids… but there it is.
    Not moaning either… wouldn’t have it any other way…
    (well, a little more sleep would be good).
    I know they and I will reap the rewards for all that we have sacrificed this year and pretty much for the last 10 years. Just like you will….
    Oh how I loved reading this tonight. Much respect buddy.
    That’s where I am at.

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