Business Is Terrible. April Fools’!

April 1, 2013

1:00 pm

This April Fools’, I want to encourage entrepreneurs to tell the truth – because it’s the opposite of what many do for the rest of the year.

In The Entrepreneur Mind, Kevin Johnson puts it like this:

“Rarely do entrepreneurs talk about how bad times can get. If we do talk about them, we gloss over them, minimizing and maybe even making light of the experiences. We joke about eating ramen noodles or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We laugh about not having any money to pay bills or messing up our credit. All of these experiences are much easier to talk about once they have passed, and we find ourselves in a position of relative comfort.

“Instead of avoiding the difficult conversation or glossing over it, remember every now and then just how depressing times can get. Contrary to popular belief, even as an entrepreneur you won’t know where your next dollar is coming from, and you consider filing bankruptcy. You may feel like you have to role play among friends and family who admire your fictitious bank account. You’ll have days when you want to curl up in a ball and sleep your worries away.”

So when your mom or your friend or your girlfriend asks how business is going today, tell them the truth: “Terrible. We have five users, no paying customers, and 20 daily pageviews – if you count my obsessive clicking around. Investors aren’t interested, the designer is a diva, and I’m so tired I’ve started hallucinating.”

See what happens. You might meet with a much-needed dose of sympathy, understanding, or love. And if worst comes to worst, you can just say, “April Fools’!”

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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