Momentum out of thin air
Imagine you were given the following task: You have to get from point A to point B, and you are allowed to use this car right here to get there faster. Theoretically the car has gas in the tank and a working engine, it does however have problems starting. So in order to get the motor running, you have to push it until it is fast enough that you can jump in and start the motor.
Sounds almost impossible, right? Well, that period of pushing your car with sheer willpower and physical strength until you can start the motor is a lot like starting a company.
At the beginning you are pushing and pushing, but it feels like you are pushing against a wall. Nothing is moving forward, not even a little bit. Nobody is helping you push either, it is not going downhill, so it is just your determination against a ton of metal. And that ton of metal shows no intention of making your job of getting from A to B easier, much less do the job for you.
Starting as company with pure determination
So what do you do? The only thing you can: you keep pushing and just hope that at some point this goddamn vehicle will move. And then, when you were just about to give up and acknowledge what a stupid idea this all was, something amazing happens: the car rolls forward a bit. Not much at first, it is barely noticeable with the naked eye. But you notice it, and you double your efforts. Your sole focus is to not let it come to a halt again, and as you keep pushing with all you got, whattayaknow: you gain some momentum. Slowly, very slowly, the car is picking up speed.
While you move forward meter after meter some bystanders notice you and come to help you. On the one hand you are thinking “Well damn, where were they when I really needed the help before?” but on the other hand you are thankful for every helping hand. Pushing together you gain further momentum and reach a place where it goes downhill. As the car is speeding up more and more you are finally able to jump in, start the motor and let the car do what it is supposed to do: drive you forward.
How determined are you?
As someone who is experiencing the struggles of being an entrepreneur right now I find this phase extremely interesting. You have this elaborate idea for a company in your mind, a company that will smoothly run by itself once – well, once you get it running. But how to get there without employees, without help, without resources, without fuel? Everyone is telling you how to ‘hack the system’, how to ‘use leverage’, how to this, how to that. But in the end, as far as I can see, it really comes down to crazy effort and pure determination. No one will do it for you and you won’t have any leverage. The energy you apply and the results that you see will be hugely disproportional. So you just have to buckle down even more and hope – pray! – that for some miraculous reason you can create that tiny little movement that gets you started initially. And then you leverage the shit out of it and hopefully gain momentum. Because once you have that everything that was previously working against you is suddenly working in your favour.
But that is a different game then. It becomes a game of allocating your resources effectively, picking up speed, maintaining the car (metaphorically) etc. At the beginning though, the game is raw and simple. You have nothing but your body and mind to overcome insurmountable challenges. The only question is then: how determined are you?