Entrepreneur: “if you’re not in a constant state of TERROR, you’re DOING IT WRONG”



Fear is the startup entrepreneur’s constant companion, as we discussed with Whiteboard readers earlier. It’s not just you, it’s just that running a startup is so incredibly hard, lonely and fear inducing. This is what Ben Horowitz, now a VC legend at Andreessen Horowitz and investor in Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, but once a startup CEO:

But don’t worry, says “entrepreneur, ruby hacker and cook” Yongfook on his blog: fear is A Good Thing. In fact, he says:

“If you are running an early stage startup and you are not in a constant state of terror, you are doing something wrong.”

“If you are running an early stage startup and you have no fear, you will fail. If you have no fear, it means you don’t have enough on the line. Perhaps you’ve raised a lot of funding and think your worries are over. Perhaps you don’t have any rent or bills to pay or a family who depends on you.”

“No fear results in zero business model “traction first” startups that only Silicon Valley can sustain and reward. This is not your goal.”

Fear is an exceptional motivator:

Fear is having quit your $200,000 a year job to now earn zero.

Fear is a day going by with no customer signups.

Fear is having no Plan B for your life. This startup is your life.

Fear is your market hypothesis being wrong.

The dangers of having no fear:

No fear results in frivilous spending and high burn rates.

Early stage startups – please be more afraid.

Read the whole post at Yong Fook.

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Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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