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Some ups and downs of becoming an entrepreneur

I promised you the highs and the lows. Here they are...

This article was originally published on my blog Wantrepreneur on May 30, 2016

Celebrating some micro-achievements

It's important to be positive in the face of adversity, so before I kick off this blog post, here are some stats for for this week.

  • 52 days till I leave my job
  • micro-actions completed towards getting my startup off the ground
  • micro-adventures
  • 10 useful lists made :-)

The week wasn't a complete washout, although did appear it was going that way until Saturday.

Pride comes before a fall

A few weeks ago, in a blog post on this site titled On abandoning corporate life, I posted the following picture.

It won't all be plain sailing, but reassuring to know that at least you aren't the only one who experiences the lows as well as the highs.

To nobody's surprise, least of all my own, I found that this week, things didn't quite go to plan, and my head wasn't properly in the game much of the time.

The ups and downs of becoming an entrepreneur

Using the very helpful criteria provided in the quote from Kazu Kibiuishi above, I felt that an illustration that visually reflected some of my frustrations was the best way to present this. The result is the following chart:

Bit of a tough week. Hopefully next week will be better.

My starting point for this was actually mapping out emotional state vs. exercise. Exercise is a big part of my escape and the first thing I turn to when I need to de-stress. Exercise doesn't ensure happiness or success, but perhaps I might have dipped into 'dark places' territory if those little red triangles weren't present.

To give a little context to the above drawing/chart/whatever it is, I first need to tell you that I'm currently living in London, and am planning on moving my base of operations to Germany at the end of July, to join my partner, Pete, who moved there in February. He's been splitting his time between two countries for the past few months, and needless to say, it hasn't been easy. This weekend, I flew out to Munich to spend the bank holiday weekend there.

Moving country, giving up paid employment, and simultaneously starting a new venture is daunting. All kinds of doubts can enter your mind when you're least expecting, and they can be incredibly powerful. Prior to this weekend, as you can see in the chart, I let some of the doubt gremlins enter my mind and was not in the best of places when I arrived. This in turn distracted me completely from the business of actually starting a business, and from progressing my idea.

Putting first things first

In Munich, despite my slightly fragile mood when I arrived, Pete and I went on some micro-adventures together. We took a train to an incredible lake, ran along a riverside footpath, took a bike ride to a spectacular Biergarten overlooking a forest, and went for a long walk along the Isar river to the Englisher Garten, ended up in another Biergarten and eventually found an amazing rooftop bar two minutes from Pete's flat.

This gorgeous rooftop bar is about to become my local. Could be worse.

It didn't take me long to remember what an incredible place Munich is, and what an awesome life I can - and will - have there. In the summer, the climate is great, people spend most of their waking hours outdoors, and everything appears to be geared towards quality of life. It will be a huge change from the cramped, concrete chaos of London. There's so much to see that we will be able to have micro-adventures every weekend.

Once I realised that life in Germany would be OK, and I had allow myself to relax a little as a result of the micro-adventures and time outdoors (exercise important in no small way), my mind became freer and I felt able to think about my startup venture again. Throughout Sunday, it popped into conversation many times and I felt my enthusiasm bubbling over again.

On the plane journey on the way back, I was feeling inspired enough to scribble a rough version of the chart you see above you into my ever-present notebook, as well as the 10 lists of action points and things to remember, which I will work on over the next few weeks (you might not be surprised to hear that improving my blog writing is on one of those lists). I also set some 6-month goals and long-term goals for my new entrepreneurial life.

And in case anyone needs a close-up of the powder pink rental bike I was given, here it is. I fully intend to find one of these and buy it when I get there in August.

Das Fahrrad.

Hey guys, if you liked this blog post, you might like some of my other articles on Wantrepreneur. The articles here document my journey from wannabe entrepreneur to entrepreneur: all the highs, all the lows. It's a work in progress and I'd love to hear what you think, so drop me a line at or on Twitter.

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