18 months ago, I stepped down from the company I birthed and led for 11 years. One of the (many) reasons I did this, is because I was eager to start other companies. I had so many ideas brewing, but while you are running a company, you really don’t have time for much else. I was hungry to have the space and freedom to scratch that itch.
18 months later, I’m prevaricating. I have come up with a mission and company I want to start after the initial experiments I’ve been running, but… I’m hesitating making the step forward.
The truth is: I’m scared. I already ran a high growth scale-up, I already spent a majority of my adult life on one business… I *KNOW* what it takes to do this successfully, and there is no way to sugarcoat it. It’s fucking hard. It requires commitment, focus, dedication… and an acceptance that most other things will take a backseat. I did that already, and I’m understandably hesitant before making that kind of commitment again.
The alternative is the easy life I have now. I sit on Boards, I coach and mentor founders, and I do some advisory and consulting work now and then. I’d like to write a book, I’d like to do more talks, I’d like to do some fun side-projects. I want to read more. I want to learn more. I want to be a well-rounded and happy human.
It is very very very tempting to stay here. In this healthy, happy place, where I can take my time, where I can enjoy having a puppy, where I can enjoy the absence of stress on a daily basis. There is a lot to be said for this kind of ease.
We put so much pressure on people who can be founders to be founders. Heck, I put so much pressure on myself to be a founder. It has defined me for over a decade, it has given me a lot of my best friends, it has exposed me to some extraordinary people and world events, it has fulfilled and inspired me. I get invited to fascinating events, I get admitted into circles I would never ever have imagined I’d be privy to when I was a little girl in suburban Sydney… its an intoxicating world, and you are admitted into it if you decide to give up your life for the pursuit of creating something ostensibly great.
The question is… do I need to do it again, or is once enough?
On one hand, clearly once is enough. I did good. Skimlinks is by any measure a great company: profitable and growing, a celebrated culture, a recognised brand.
On the other… gosh, I’d really like my legacy to be more than one company, to be something I genuinely believe will make an impact on the world, and make it greater, stronger, better. And there is SO much knowledge and experience in me now, surely it will be easier a second time?
I honestly can’t decide. I’m stuck. I’m revelling in the simplicity of my life at the moment. The quiet joys of coaching others and seeing them flourish. The ease of waking up *not* in a cold anxious sweat every morning. The guilt-free pleasure of being able just to read a book during the day.
I find compromises by thinking that my next company will start from day 1 differently. I’ll start as a B Corp; I’ll start with a remote first culture; I’ll offer 4 day work weeks for everyone. If my company is innovating the future of work, I may as well begin from my own culture, right?
But will it be enough? I pitched yesterday to a friendly angel, and it brought back memories of the exhausting slog it is to pitch and put your heart and soul on the line, numerous times a day, for months and months on end. The toll it takes on your spirit. The ever present shroud of exhaustion. Can it be different this time?
What do I do? How do I decide? Help!
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