Entrepreneurship is hard. Period. There's no arguing that.
But you know what makes it even harder? Not admitting how hard it is.
Starting a business leads to a world of uncertainty and instability. It can put a strain on relationships. It can lead to doubts about our aptitude.
But we can't tell people that.
For some reason, there's a facade in the entrepreneurial world. Maybe it's because we want people to take us seriously. Maybe it's because we don't want to be a burden on others. Or maybe it's because we're afraid to admit failure because, deep down, we think it'll define us.
But ultimately, staying isolated is exhausting. There's only so long we can pick ourselves up by our bootstraps. Eventually, the straps will give out. And that often leads to a lot of anxiety and even depression.
However, the alternative (being honest with yourself and others about your deep struggles) leads to great things like growth and belonging. There's a crazy freedom that comes from dragging all our crap onto a stage in front of others and saying, "Here it is! I'm struggling. I don't have all the answers, and that's okay."
In an effort to take steps towards this kind of transparency, 36°N member Jessica Kinsey recently hosted a panel discussion titled #TheStruggleIsReal. Members of Tulsa's entrepreneurial community took a little time to talk publicly about the hard, "behind the scenes" feelings and experiences that come with starting a business (like not having a steady place to live and not getting to pay yourself and buying the wrong equipment and losing friends), and it was wonderfully refreshing.
The murmur of the audience after the event was light, and there seemed to be a collective deep sigh in the room coupled with the feeling, "I am not alone."
The audio from the event is below. We hope you find it encouraging!
PS: Another way to get out of isolation is to surround yourself with other entrepreneurs. We invite you to do that by checking out our coworking space. Join us for Free Coworking Day on the third Wednesday of every month or come in for a tour to take your first step.
PPS: There are a few words in this recording that might not be approproate for children.
Evan Gabbin, Intent Productions
Carter Jarrett, Buffalo Matcha
Tammy Torkleson, Indigo Technology
Jessica Kinsey, Prodigy & Co.