"Necessity taught me the very fine art of bootstrapping," Uber founder Travis Kalanick writes. "Blood, Sweat and RAMEN", is how he described it.
I see lots of entrepreneurs who don't understand this mantra. They believe, apparently, in the good 'start up fairy' which comes down and helps them solve all their problems with the wave of a wand. And they think that their potential investors have the same powers--banish competitors, make customers sign up, deal with difficult employees, etc., etc. They wish...and I wish...but no go.
In the end, it is hard work that gets it all done. Hard work that is mixed with a big dose of passion, a feeling that you can develop that world-class service (like Uber) that is going to revolutionize an industry, a spirit that cannot be dampened by short-term failures are all the characteristics I look for in an entrepreneur.
I don't like to see the drag of a messy social life, distractions around holding another job, problems with co-founders, or the myriad of other issues that can draw energy away from the entrepreneur. Like Travis, I prefer people who I have to convince to come out of their basement apartment, joined an incubator (Thanks, Matt, of Placester, for believing me!), networked like crazy among the investor community and successfully raised millions in multiple rounds of funding--all with my encouragement and help, but not active, daily involvement. That's an entrepreneur...
It's tough being an entrepreneur and most will fail at it. Those that stick to the program have huge rewards awaiting them--not just monetary, but the satisfaction of building something that advances society.
So take some time to congratulate that entrepreneur in your life--a kid, friend, head of one of your portfolio companies--they deserve the love for all the blood and sweat and RAMEN (consumed).