I’ve been lying a lot lately.
One of the most frustrating things about being an entrepreneur is that few people really understand what we do. When business is good, friends and family are impressed. You’re so smart. You’re going to be so ridiculously rich, and everybody wants a bit of your time. More importantly, everybody refers you to anyone they can. They want to be a part of it.
When business is bad, friends and family start sending you job ads (some of them do it all the time anyway, because they seem to equate self employment with unemployment) and being worried about you. Maybe you should have gone into medicine. It might not be too late to go work for Uncle John. Worse still, they stop referring you to people. Nobody wants to refer a loser.
It’s frustrating because those states alternate so quickly. Young businesses oscillate between extraordinary vitality and almost certain death every week; sometimes every hour. So we lie. Not, as is often assumed, to fool ourselves. We’re perfectly at ease with the uncertain truth. By virtue of being entrepreneurs we are, almost by definition, comfortable with a higher amount of risk than the rest of the world can stomach. We lie because we want to keep the party going. Because we like the attention. Because our businesses need to be perceived as winners. And because it’s super annoying to have people worry about us.
So here’s the truth: the big contract negotiation really is going just fine, but it’s still weeks away from being finished and the whole deal could vanish at a moment’s notice. New sales are particularly poor right now, and I’m not sure how I’m going to fix that but I’m sure that I will. I have too much going on, and that might never change. I’m a bit sick of business partners, but that will pass. Clients owe thousands of dollars more than usual this month, which will significantly complicate bill payments. I don’t know if the bank will approve the financing, or if it’s even a good idea. Business isn’t “good”, but ask me again in a week—and for God’s sake, stop worrying about me! I love this stuff.