How a Startup Can Ruin Your Life

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Over on Medium, Ali Mese has some words of advice for anyone thinking of abandoning a regular job for the startup life: be prepared. Be very, very prepared.

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Once upon a time, Mese was a corporate consultant for a global firm, raking in enormous amounts of cash and jetting around the world. But the constant grind of that lifestyle didn’t sit well with him, so he decided to become the master of his own fate. Although he lacked entrepreneurial experience, he quit his job and founded his own startup.

And then his troubles began.

The troubles fell into a couple of distinct categories. His family and friends expected his business to take off like a rocket, not realizing that the building of a revenue-stable firm can often take several quarters, if not years. Mese reacted by caring too much what other people thought, which led him to self-isolate from people he’d known for years.

“Day by day, I was getting lonelier and more depressive as I avoided social occasions,” he wrote in the Medium posting. “My startup progress was not as fast as my social circle imagined it to be and I was fed up with telling people it took years for startups like Facebook and Twitter to arrive at where they are now.”

The other big issue was cash. His burn rate was incredible, placing his solvency at risk. The lack of funds began to affect his thinking and strategy. Although he survived, he reached the point where he had to borrow money from his girlfriend to buy a bottle of water.

For those about to plunge into the startup game, Mese has the following tips:

1. Get ready for the social pressure
2. Make sure you have a supportive partner (or are single)
3. Have enough cash to last roughly three years
4. Prepare to sleep only a “few hours a day.”

“Don’t be fooled by over-hyped funding news about startup founders becoming millionaires,” his post concluded. “The stories behind the scenes have so many painful days, sleepless nights, and continuous rejections and failures.”

But for many entrepreneurs, those pitfalls are worth it for a shot at success.

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