Many adults say that one of the greatest gifts in life is having the opportunity to watch their kids grow from infants all the way to adulthood. While some may say otherwise, there is nothing more rewarding than watching something that you have invested a great amount of time in and watching it flourish. As an entrepreneur, you are the parent and your projects are your children. Whether you are a startup tech company looking to create the next best thing, or just trying to start your own restaurant, whatever it is you put those extra hours in becomes your ‘kid’.
Speaking with many entrepreneur’s one of big reasons that they chose to leave the corporate world and enter the startup life is because they wanted the satisfaction of being able to create their own project and help guide it in the right direction. So what the big question then becomes is what drives an individual to continue to put in the time to make a project grow. To best understand this it is helpful to use the analogy of being a parent and watching your child grow.
I myself don’t have any kids, but from what others who have kids have told me, you lose a lot of hair along the way, but in the end, it’s worth it. Just like when a child is in its baby stage and they need your attention 24/7. So is the same with a startup project. When you have a great idea you can’t wait to get started with it. You love it so much that you are willing to work late into the night and live off only powerbars and energy drinks. Sleep is hard to come by, but you tell yourself that it is all worth it. Why? Because the project is yours.
As a child grows from infant to adolescent, this is where they learn by exploring and they begin to ask questions. As a parent they are proud to bring their child to school and are eager to meet other parents to setup play dates and to share tips on the best way to pack a lunch. Similar to that, as your project begins to take form and you are eager to share it with your close friends to get their opinion as well to show it off like a prized possession. For an entrepreneur, hearing positive feedback from others is equivalent to your child bringing home a good report card. Still, it is a growing process. During this time, you still need to put in those long hours for your project, but you are beginning to have an idea of what exactly your finished project may look like.
As an adolescent turns into a teenager, parents begin to worry whether they have brought them up to be ‘model’ citizens. In the same sense, entrepreneurs go through a stage where they wonder if they have built their project the ‘right’ way. This brings up the good question though of what is ‘right.’ What is considered ‘right’ is typically just a reflection of what society as a whole or majority thinks. For the entrepreneur, this doubt or questioning of one’s project can be crippling. During this stage entrepreneurs will find themselves struggling over not only the project itself, but also variables indirectly connected to it. From internal issues within the project team, to funding issues, this is when an entrepreneurs composure is tested most.
In what can be considered the final stage of growth, teens eventually enter adulthood. While the law views children as adults when they turn 18, parents still want to hang on to them as long as possible. It is hard to believe that after years of watching them grow, they are almost ready to be on their own. For entrepreneurs and startups, the final stage is when the project is ready to be released to the public. While there may still be ‘bugs’ in the project that still need to be worked out, the project for the most part is completed and is ready to be presented to the world. The hours of designing, planning, and sleepless nights have paid off. While I described the final stage being the release and completion of the project, this doesn’t mean that the project is left alone. Just like how parents check up on their kids to see how they are doing and to see if they need any help, so is the same with a project turned ‘product.’ Entrepreneurs will continue to monitors its progress and make any necessary adjustments to help it run better.
Entrepreneurs always have great ideas for new projects and are always excited to see them come to life. Perhaps this quote explains it best on what it means to think up or start a project:
When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.
If you have an idea for a project, remeber that there is always room in this world for one more great idea.