In this post, I wanted to keep on the topic of the previous one by talking a bit about the  startups and entrepreneurship worlds. Concretely, about the emotional roller coaster that entrepreneurs go through and the ups and downs we have to deal with. The idea is that this information helps us better understand the stages of the journey. That it gives us some visibility about what is to come and thus be able to anticipate.

To give you an idea, this is what the path looks like. On the vertical axis we represent our happiness level. In the horizontal one, the time as it goes by. Let’s see what awaits us at each stage!

startup emotional curve

1. Living our day to day

We could say that before that great entrepreneurial idea comes to our mind, we are in a neutral emotional state. Neither necessarily happy nor sad, just living our day to day.

2. The big idea enters the scene

One day a brilliant idea breaks into our head. We start to shape it. There’s no doubt that it is a revolutionary idea! Our happiness and motivation levels skyrocket. We share the idea with our friends and family. Everyone loves it. It seems like it has great potential!

And one day we see it clear. We embark on an adventure and even start looking for a team to start working on this idea. We are going to take on the world!

3. And reality strikes

But after a while, reality appears and problems begin. The first surveys don’t give the same results as what our friends told us. Work is going slower than expected. New areas to pay attention to that we had not considered begin to emerge. The initial motivation slowly declines and the initial vision is being lost. A thousand things can really happen here.

It seems that everything is no longer going smoothly. That we may not even be able to move our startup forward. Our motivation and happiness plummet.

4. It’s time to stand and test

Reality has put us in our place. Now we have to go through a valley of low motivation. A hard road in which we will have to experiment, pivot and adapt to that reality. Someone may even decide to leave the project for another offer. Or we may have to rework or reevaluate our value proposition. Or some friction appears between the team. Again, a thousand things may happen.

This is one of the most difficult moments, and also crucial. We may spend months at this stage. We must stay motivated and keep an eye on the future and the possibilities that lie ahead. But not everything is bad. The clash with reality has given us something really valuable. It has given us information on what we need to change in order to success. And, also, the best thing about this stage is that it is the one where we are going to learn the most.

5. We start to see the light

We have stood and, after refining and reworking that initial idea, and after having taken some other emotional bumps, it seems that everything begins to work. Users’ interest grow. Conversations with investors look better. The team seems more united and the motivation is recovering. In general, the puzzle begins to resemble that initial idea that has brought us here.

man climbing mountain
Brad Barmore on Unsplash

6. Up, up and up

And if everything continues on the same way, we will reach the Product Market Fit. The first pilot works and we continue to work to evolve it. Users’ interest continues to grow. More and more doors are opening to us to get investment. It seems that everything begins to go smoothly and we regain the initial happiness and emotion, even surpassing it.

But that we are in a better stage does not mean that it is easy. There will still be challenges to face, although having the gear running takes a load off our shoulders.

An example: our road

There’s no doubt we have gone through several of these stages. I remember that moment of initial motivation. The feeling of changing to start your own project. The beliefs on “we will be awesome”.

Then the clash with reality came. As I told you in another post, we hadn’t paid attention to certain crucial areas. We started accumulating more and more things that we didn’t take into account. It seemed that it was impossible to get all of that forward.

And now, after several months of work, I would say that we are still in that “valley of experimentation.” We have come a long way but we still have much to do. Still, we remain motivated by looking to the future, to the potential and the possibilities that open up before us.

Every startup is different

I would like you to take this path as an example, a metaphor, not as something scientific. In the end, every startup is different. What matters is the general idea since we will almost certainly go through these stages. How intensely we live them or how long they last depends on many factors.

I recommend using this idea to try to understand what may be happening and what is to come. May it help you to prepare, especially mentally, to push ahead and move your startup forward.

And, as always, I encourage you to tell your opinions, share your experiences and glad to answer any questions you may have.