Exit is the main idea and goal many entrepreneurs start their businesses with. It looks interesting thanks to huge amount of information in news covering the latest sell and the new millionaire, or billionaire. This idea of becoming rich early enough so you can enjoy your money before getting too old is thought so seductive, it is able to turn young, and older, minds around to start something. No matter how you might like this idea, there are some things you should consider before taking this path.
Exit as a goal
Before starting a company, you should have some goal or at least idea. Otherwise, what’s the whole point of it? Different people start their businesses with different ideas. They can vary from filling the gap on the market to fulfilling their needs or changing the world. Don’t follow their paths just because they succeeded. You have to find something that resonates with you. And, yes making money through exit can be one of goals for starting a company, no matter how useless it sounds.
If you decide to choose the exit as your main goal and strategy to start a company, keep in mind that this is a long run. You can point to the news full of many successful startup exits their founders becoming wealthy before thirty. However, this is just one part of the picture, the more visible. The other side that is often hidden from public eye and is not included in those stories is how long it took that founders to get to the point of exit. In most situations, it were years of hard work, huge amount of effort, big sacrifices and also defending their ideas or goals. That one day where sale occurs is just one little drop in the ocean.
I wanted to mention this because it is very important to understand. Whatever the reason you want to start some business for, you will have to keep yourself going through many difficult situations, some of them might be even existential threats to you. Many of your “friends” will turn their back to you. Your family (parents or spouse) might try to convince you to change your mind and look for some steady job instead. Only few will stay with you on this path. Here, I am speaking from my own experience.
You have to understand all these consequences before doing any next step. You must be dead-sure you will be able to stand this, so you had better choose your main goal wisely. Exit as a strategy can be seductive and sweet, but will it keep your enthusiasm along the way? Will you be able to go through situations looking like hell without losing confidence in yourself? Starting a business will fill the majority of your daily life for a long time. Are you sure about your “why”?
The exit paradox
The last thing and also the main point of this post is the paradox you might experience after selling your company. The thing is that many entrepreneurs become so attached to their companies and daily routines that after exit they feel empty. They have nothing to do during the day. Nothing to wake up for in the morning. When you do something for a long time, you will get used to it and it becomes a habit for you. Managing your employes every day and solving problems emerging along will turn from unpleasant obligation to exciting challenge and then maybe to just a regular every day stuff.
This is the reason that so many first-time entrepreneurs are immediately after exit seeking new opportunities for business. They don’t now what else should be doing. This is the way they relax and live. They would simply burn from the inside-out while lying on the beach and doing nothing. Entrepreneurship as many other things in life is like a fire. Once you ignite it and fall in love with the feeling of heat, you have no other option than to add the fuel to keep the fire burning. It will spread through your veins and fill your body with energy and enthusiasm. If you remove that fuel, this internal fire will die and it will take you with him.
The idea of selling your company for a big check looks very interesting for many people. Some of them will even start companies just to make some many and become wealthy. However, with this often comes a curse of falling in love with your business. Before you make the final decision, ask yourself “What will I do a day or the month after?”. Are you ready for exit?
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