Commitment vs Involvement

Commitment vs Involvement

This cartoon reminded me of the old saying: “At breakfast, a chicken is involved, but a pig is committed.”

I wrote a post about how you should work until your eyes bleed. The post is very short, but to summarize: the post is about how entrepreneurs need to step up and kick their own ass in order to succeed. Go read it. I’ll wait.

Read it? OK…

A very successful entrepreneur, Steve Kiene, posted a comment that I thought needed to be shared.

Seriously dude? You are spending all your time building your business and you think it sucks? Welcome to the real world of building a successful software business. It’s not all drinking beer with your friends and spending entire evenings “meeting” with your business partners at dinner. It’s work. Long days, nights, and continuing into the mornings. Month after month. It’s days when you skip meals because you don’t want to break focus. It’s a case of soda each day. It’s 18+ hours non-stop. It’s working longer, harder, and more focused than the month before. It’s about being able to be deep in the forest and staying there even as you come back out for a high level view. It’s total committment to success and the love of the work that pulls you back after 3 hours of sleep because it’s all you can think about.

This is the #1 reason why most software startups fail early- the principals didn’t put in enough work to create enough value in a short enough timeframe. It’s effective output times hours times days times the right focus. You have to have all four. If you put in long hours once a week, it’s not enough. You have to be able to generate effective results from long hours. If you can’t, you need to train yourself to do so.

Or maybe all you want is for your business to be a little side project that fades away without making a mark. I don’t think so based on all your other posts. If you truly want to succeed like I think you want to- and like I think you can be, then you have to be committed, not just involved.

Wow. He’s right on the money! I use to believe that all that was needed for a company to be successfully bootstrapped was to have enough positive cash flow. In our case, I figured if we could average \$350 - \$400 in revenue a day for at least six months, that should be sufficient. Assuming very little expenses, 10.5k - 12k per month isn’t bad for a small three-man startup, right? Monetarily speaking, of course.

But you see, startups need more than money. A startup is you and your business partners’ baby. It needs love, time, attention, and most importantly commitment. Much like rich parents can be crappy parents, high cashflow startups without commitment can and will fail. Don’t delude yourself on believing that just because you’re involved that you’re committed. You’re committed when your startup comes right up to the point we’re you’ve considered prioritizing it above your most basic necessities.

This requires you to give up drinking with your buddies as much as you do. This requires you to stop watching TV. Quit taking naps. Movies on Sunday? Forget about it. Your startup is your first priority. I’m not claiming that you should completely neglect your family, as you need to keep some perspective. But you can definitely cut a lot of crap out of your life.

To quote Paul Graham:

Economically, you can think of a startup as a way to compress your whole working life into a few years. Instead of working at a low intensity for forty years, you work as hard as you possibly can for four. This pays especially well in technology, where you earn a premium for working fast.

Think about? It makes a lot of sense. Work your ass off now so that you don’t have to later in life. So that you can make decisions on how to spend your time any way that you like. Reclaim your time.

To paraphrase Gary Vaynerchuk:

Come home, kiss your dog, kiss your wife and get to work. I’m completely obsessed with the fact that most people own 16 hours of day to do things as they please. A person working from 6 PM - 2 AM a few nights a week can do a lot of damage. You need to work your faces off.

Do you have it in you? Are you committed or are you just involved?

If you enjoyed this, you may enjoy:

  1. So You Want to be Rich?
  2. Starting a Business is Like Getting Married
  3. Detoxify Your Life

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