I thought that would grab your attention? But probably for the wrong reason.
‘Men wanted for hazardous journey’ is the open phrase of the newspaper advertisement that was reputedly placed by Ernest Shackleton to recruit for his ill-fated South Pole expedition.
‘Men wanted for hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success.’
But it strikes me that this is also a pretty good description of a start-up.
Is a start-up Hazardous? Certainly. There are pitfalls, things will go wrong. Some pitfalls can be foreseen, others are unforeseen. So planning is important but so too is the ability to adapt to circumstances as they arise.
Is it a Journey? Absolutely. A start-up takes you from your current position to a future desired position and like any journey, there may be distractions, detours and delays along the way. Whether you get to your destination or not depends on how you manage the distractions, the detours, the delays.
As for Small Wages? I’m afraid that goes without saying. And sometimes there are no wages at all, so it’s essential a have a good plan to cover your essential costs of living while building your start-up.
Bitter cold? Maybe not literally bitter cold but start-ups can be lonely. Unless your friends and family are involved in start-ups, they won’t understand what you are going through, and it can be difficult to find someone understanding to talk with when times are tough.
Long months and, depending on the nature of the start-up, maybe even long years!
Complete darkness? Maybe not complete darkness but there will definitely be times when it’s hard to see how to proceed and it’s difficult to be positive. Perseverance and resilience are important.
Constant danger? Not only is the journey hazardous but it is always hazardous. It’s important to be vigilant at all times. It’s necessary to stay focused on the destination but keep an eye open for pitfalls every step of the way.
Safe Return Doubtful? I’m not so sure about this one. You can always back-up from starting a business and what you have learned along the way will stand you in good stead whatever you decide to do next.
But all the downside is made up for by the upside, honor and recognition in case of success, and maybe even a significant financial reward also.
But the big difference between Shackleton’s South Pole Expedition and a Start-Up? Both men and women are wanted!