More thoughts about start-ups from 30,000 feet in the air

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Last night, after an association meeting, I came home at 8:30 p.m. to three intense hours of work, pulling together the threads of existing publications and the new Ontario Construction News daily e-newspaper. And, yes, I needed to organize my personal affairs and pack — because Vivian and I were booked for a 7:00 a.m. flight to Vancouver from Ottawa (meaning we needed to be up at 5:15 a.m. to make it the airport in time.

For about an hour last night I felt anger and frustration — what the heck am I doing at 65-years-old with this much business stress.  My inbox with emails and various tasks seemed to be impossibly full.

But something happened as the clock struck 12 midnight. I had managed to push through, complete the files, and would soon finish the packing.  It is a lot of work, I realized, but I’m alive and living with optimism, adventure, and dreams of exploring as-yet-unknown opportunities.

Of course, there are advantages of experience in running a start-up. I know the game. I appreciate the value of delegation and making sure that resources are sufficient for the tasks. But equally, as I reported yesterday, I also appreciate that it is generally very unwise to pour significant amounts of capital into an untried product, concept, or business. The right way to do things, in my opinion, is to bootstrap the operation until we are sure there is a real market and revenue. If this means some long hours of personal work, so be it.

And there is the awareness that even with the long hours, I still have a “life”.  This visit to Vancouver and Chicago won’t be a total vacation — heck, I’m working on the flight out west — but it won’t be a hardship experience either. The work will get done. If all goes as I wish, by mid-May I’ll be able to justify hiring and contracting with competent talent to take up the load and I can savor the new business success. Time will tell.

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