This is my daughter. I am probably sharing her pic on this blog for the first time. She was was born last year and she is now over 9 months old. She can now stand on her own and can walk a little bit. She is probably the best thing happened in my life. Now all I do everyday is think about playing with her. She is very active child, me and my wife are always running around the house to control her.
You will be surprised to know that we have not given her any formal name yet. I ijust can't think of any good name for her. I need to do it really soon I guess.
Running a startup is extremely stressful, it affects everything in your life. When I started my startup journey I didn’t realise how much easy or difficult things will be ahead. Having a technical knowledge is one thing but managing clients is another. In my case this has been the number 1 source of unhappiness.
I am successfully managing many clients mostly alone for so many years. I feel happy when I successfully win a project, even more happy when I get paid. Believe me getting paid all by yourself is something that cannot be explained. However winning a project is one thing but actually developing the project, handling client queries, resolving their issues and delivering the project is the part which gives lot of tensions. You can’t run away from it also. You have to live with it. Due to all these tensions I feel frustrated and depressed from time to time. There is no escape from it, keeping your clients happy should be your prime task, being a startup company you have to always do something extra and not always stress on the contract.
For the past 2 years I am tracking my daily Work, Happiness and Motivation on a scale of 1 to 10. Yes I actually do it daily, strange but when you are running a startup company you will do strange things to keep you going. Tracking this information helps me to identify and analyse the reasons why I feel depressed sometimes. I have realized if you are in service industry dealing with clients you will have to live with it. You can’t just be rude to your client or fight with them. You have to be polite all the time or most of the time.
So in this blog I just want to share few tips on how to manage your stress. Remember there is no escape from it, you just can't be happy all the time. If you have started your startup journey or want to start then ups and downs are part of life. Infact you have to struggle for years before you achieve something great. Just be in the game no matter what and believe in yourself. I have learned myself over the years how to manage my work and more importantly how I feel about life in general.
So how to deal with your unhappiness?
1. Look into your past - you old achievements
The first thing I do when I feel bad about something is that I think about the happy days in my life. Over the years I have learnt that ups and down are part of life and you have to live with it, it is just not possible that you will stay super happy all the time. Life is not that easy, especially for startup founders. Deep down you really want to pursue your passion but we live in a world full of distractions and everyone will seem happy to you and enjoying life but the fact is that entrepreneurs have to sacrifice something today to achieve a lot more in future. Just live with it and keep going on, don’t give up. When there are moments of sadness you need to think about all the great achievements you have in your life starting from your early days. I often think about the day when I received 25 out of 25 marks in my Maths exams in 5th standard, everyone in the class clapped for me and I just feel awesome thinking about it. I also think about the time when I was given Employee of the month award in one of the companies I worked in the past. There are many moments that will bring a little smile on your face and makes you proud. If you think you will surely find lot of happy moments that you are proud of in your life.
Anything that makes you feel good in just enough to change your mood for few minutes. There are are hundreds of things to keep track in your daily busy schedule, there is no time for enjoying stuff that other 9-5 office goes can afford, you have to work extra hours. You are bound to feel stressed, after all we are all human beings not machines. Just take small breaks, close your eyes and think about those wonderful moments in your life that makes you feel good about yourself.
2. Build some great habits
Ok so you are all tired and nothing seems right in life and don’t know what to do. Startup founders often over work and rest very less, this results in burnt up feeling. We all need to rewind and spend time with family and friends, another thing that you can do is start pursuing a hobby, all these years you wanted to learn playing guitar or learn new foreign language. Join these hobby classes for weekends and you will have something to look up to during the week. This will also takes your mind away from daily work which is very important if you want fresh ideas to come in your mind.
3. Exercise regularly
This is the most important thing that you should do in your life. Everyone knows the importance of good health. In startups we need to work continuously for long hours which affects body and mind. Working long hours on computers has really bad effects on eyes, back, neck and other parts of the body. Unfortunately we can’t do much about it, we have no option but to deal with it. You can prepare your body for this tough work. Go to gym everyday, do exercises that tone up your body. If you are not fit then you can do much at work too. Exercising daily also builds up the determination of the person which is much needed for Entrepreneurs. When you work out your body releases hormones that makes you feel good and positive about everything in life. Exercises has multiple benefits, we all know it but in my opinion if it makes you feel good then it is totally worth it.
4. Generate multiple Sources of happiness
Do not let go of any single opportunity of laughter and fun. It is important to be serious about your work but your workplace shouldn’t have a tense environment. It affects your employees too. Your startup should look like a place where people can do amazing things.
5. Watch at least 1 Movie in a week in theatre
Watching a Movie on your Laptop is such a waste of time. Whenever there is a new exciting film I book the ticket well in advance and watch it with my family. For 2 or 3 hours we just have to watch the film and nothing else.
6. Don't work on Sundays
I stopped working on Sundays completely. When you are starting up you can't stop yourself working 7 days a week. Things are exciting and you feel compelled to work. I was working 7 days a week for so many years but recently I started this practice of not working on Sundays. I don't even open my Laptop. It is very important to rejuvenate yourself.
7. Join a Hobby Club
I am a member of running group, cycling group, coffee club and couple of other online groups. It is nice to meet people with similar interest. You always learn something new from others. There are such groups in every city. Find one near you and join them.
8. Dress up nicely everyday
Whether you work from home or have an office. Dress Smartly. That's it. As a founder you will meet new people, have to sell your product or service. Don't think that you are cool in torn jeans and T-Shirts. Wear a nice shirt, trousers. Shave regularly and act like a smart person. It is not only good for your business but also you will feel good about yourself. There are many times in the past when I had to meet people in casual clothes. I admit that I felt little less confident about myself. Now I try to wear formals or at least semi formals all the time.
I hope these tips will help you. I am not really an expert but I am just sharing my experiences with you. If you are also in the same boat then share your thoughts too.
Since my early days when I was small Kid I have an habit of waking up early, for me anything beyond 5 AM is late. I have been getting up at 3:55 AM and my day starts at 4 AM. People always tell me that you are lucky guy, you don’t have this in life, you don’t have that in life. When you will get married you will not get time for anything else, they also blamed their small kids for keeping them engaged. In my opinion if a task is not important to you then you will not do it and if it is really important, I mean if something really matters to you then you will give your 100% to it. The problem with people is that they crib a lot and are usually jealous of successful people. What they don’t realize is that those people who achieved success in life paid a price for that. They worked hard, gave up the comforts in their life and made sacrifices. You too need to work little harder to do things that you wish to do but never get time.
Most of us brush our teeth every morning because we know it is important of our good dental hygiene, not because we have to. Similarly if a person has to do something that really matters then he/she will do it. No matter how badly busy they are in life.
Since past few months I am getting up even earlier now. I now get up at 2:55 AM every morning. Why? because my little lovely daughter keeps me engaged all day now and I like to be with her as much as possible. Earlier I used to wake up at 4AM and work for just 2 hours and go to Gym. Now I get up at 3 AM and I work continuously till 9 AM. So I work 6 hours non stop in the morning when I am in my best mental state.
I have started going to Gym in the evenings now. During this time I do all my most important work of the day. My day routine is never certain, people call in the day, I have to go out to meet someone. The day is usually full with little activities that keep me away from doing something productive or valuable. I have done this adjustment in my schedule ever since my daughter is born. I just can’t resist playing with her during the day at the same time I also want to stay productive. So that’s why I decided to wake up 1 hour early. I do this everyday without fail.
During those 6 hours in the morning I do the hardest work, that requires lot of thinking or which is very boring work :) and rest of the day I just do tasks like reading/replying emails, doing mundane tasks that can’t be ignored. All the high intensity work is scheduled in the morning.
One tip I can give all of you is that never start working on the tasks as they come, no matter how small or easy they are. Put them in your backlog. I personally use JIRA for my startup and I put all the new tasks in the backlog. You never know when these small tasks consume your 1 hour of productive time and it is also not good to distract from your planned work.
Long story short if you are like those people who always blame lack of time for not able to do something extra then without thinking just start waking up early. No other time in the day is better than mornings. Just wake up 1 hour early in the beginning. Do whatever little you can in that 1 hour, do that everyday so to keep the pace going on. Once you are comfortable getting up 1 hour early then start waking up 15 mins early. Getting 1.5 to 2 extra interrupt free hours just for yourself can really change your life. You can really do lot of things. Work on your idea, study new programming language, or build your product.
If you do that everyday you will also feel good about your life and you will start your day on a good note.
It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom. -Aristotle
I have mentioned this before so many times that writing on this blog is one of my favorite things in life. Here I just share my true feelings and I let out everything. This is just a short post as I am really very occupied with work these days. I don't think I was this busy before. I have so much work that sometimes I get little frustrated but end of the day I feel satisfied that this is exactly what I wanted to do when I started my company. When you start a business doing what you love and also earn money from it is the the best thing. There are times in the week when I feel little tired and exhausted but I am learning how to keep a balance of things.
I am working hard everyday trying to build a stable company. When I look back 3 years back I remember I had the same feeling. That feeling of restlessness, instability and an urge to do something more, better. Once you achieve your short goals then you should not stop but set new challenges for youself, this is how you grow.
I have grown my startup really well in the past 3 years. My turnover has increased 10 fold and I now have good client base. I am still not satisfied with that as I have some difficult goals to achieve in the next 3 years.
If you want to start your own venture then the first things you should do is to become very strong mentally. Without focus and determination you can't do much. You have to be ready to give sacrificies - that means giving up things that gives you comfort and pleasure. I have hardly seen a movie in theatre in the past 3 years, I stopped watching Television, reading newspaper. I stopped being in touch with my friends. Earlier I used to spend regular time hanging out with friends atleast 3-4 times a week now I don't even talk to them regularly, this is not good thing to do but you can't have fun as well as start a company at the same time. It is just not possible. You have to be ready to give your 200% in it. If you really want something badly then you need to give up everything else in life. If you can't make that sacrifice then no point starting up, just go back to your normal 9-5 job and stop cribbing.
These days I am starting some really nice Drupal projects. I am going to be even more busy in the coming few months. I hope I will be able to find time to write.