Boredom - Founder's Super Power

Boredom - Founder's Super Power

Entrepreneurs have a challenging life. We need to switch contexts throughout the day. Context switching drains a lot of energy. A lot of people do it even without having a lot of responsibilities - like browsing social media and taking care of life tasks. People even text while driving nowadays.

However, for entrepreneurs, context switching is necessary. It is hard to do deep work. Though Cal Newport recommends deep work as a way to create impressive and world-class work, it can be good for creators who write books or just make recorded training videos. For someone running a startup, deep work is a luxury that comes far and in-between.

Here are just some of the major things that an entrepreneur needs to take care of, from the top of my mind:

  • Building the team
  • Talking to the team and making sure everyone's vibe is good enough to keep going forward.
  • Decide how much of the cash flow should be profit and how much should be reinvested. Are we driving too close to the cliff?
  • Keep an eye on the competition (but don't spend too much time obsessing over what others do). Get new ideas and keep the focus on serving customers.
  • Make sure that the team takes extra care of disgruntled customers.
  • Build (or direct the building of) top-of-the-funnel marketing assets for branding and traffic.
  • Build the middle of the funnel for nurturing the customers and making sure they upgrade to higher-end products.
  • Build products across the funnel.
  • Listen to customers closely via social media listening.
  • Build a strong sales engine that can convert warm leads into paying customers.
  • Pay taxes on time every month and work with CA to file annual taxes with as much accuracy as humanly possible.
  • Understand the percentages of spending in each category.
  • Have an intuitive sense of how the business is performing. Slow down or scale-up based on intuition while keeping ourselves financially safe. This includes carefully balancing the cost between hiring, ads, administration, software tools, company vacations, and so on.
  • Read journals and industry-specific publications to understand the general vibe in the market.
  • Spend enough time in solitude to generate ideas for long-term growth.
  • Write to investors to keep them informed about the growth of the company and its health.

A startup business is an entropy machine. It creates chaos if unchecked. This takes the mental space of the founder like a kid takes the mental space of a mother.

Coming back to the title of this post, why is it important to get bored?

Far too many people say that you have to find your passion and only then you will be happy. But that is a dangerous path to take.

If you try to avoid boredom and always chase something that gives you possible excitement, then you will not do the things that the hygiene tasks - the ones required to keep the business sane. Entropy will add clutter on top of clutter ultimately suffocating the creative work that it is supposed to support in the first place.

Hygiene tasks are boring but necessary. So instead of avoiding boredom to chase something that keeps you happy while you are doing it, look forward to boredom and just do what needs to be done.

This could be activities like:

  • Checking if all the invoices are created properly and match with the taxes paid.
  • Reading 1-star reviews on the platforms where reviews are collected.
  • Taking backups of important files
  • Make sure all the software tools are spending money efficiently.
  • Make sure they are updated with the latest corporate card number.

These tasks will pile up on the to-do list. It is hard to keep track of reminders and do it when it shows up. Instead, it can be batch processed on a monthly basis if the to-do list is reliable.

  • Get bored, do what's required.
  • Get bored, do what's required.
  • Get bored, do what's required.

That's the life of an entrepreneur.

Being an entrepreneur is not an identity. It is a state of mind.

It takes an insane level of psychological and emotional balance to build a successful startup. And irrespective of what the startup pays, the kind of person that you are forced to become in the process of building a startup, is a reward in itself.

Deepak Kanakaraju