The Race to Your Hilltop

SallyStartup advice

Back in the juxtaposed golden yet tragic thirteenth year of my life, I went on a drag hunt on a crazy pony. (For the uninformed, a drag hunt is one in which a few people cross fields and trails — before the hunt starts — dragging smelly bait for the hounds to follow. No foxes are hurt in this procedure.)
I say crazy because this pony got excited easily. And she didn’t know how to stop once she got excited. And of course, I fell off about two miles in.

Hanging On
And being thirteen and not having really planned for this, I chose to freeze and hang onto the reins for dear life. Somewhere in the back of my head I thought that if I let go, this batsh*t crazy pony would disappear over the horizon and never be found again.

Oh yes, she dragged me underfoot. Oh yes, she kicked the crap out of me with her nailed horseshoes.
But then she stopped … panting, quivering … with me like a bowl of Jello at her side … still hanging onto the blasted reins.

Missing Out
Somehow I was fine. My lip was bleeding, but other than that my head was intact, my ribs were in good working order, and my internal organs were still whole. But I never did get back onto that pony that day. I missed out on the rest of the hunt, the cold whipping air around my face, and the rush and thrill of speeding across open fields with friends.

“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.” – Bruce Lee

And so it is with a business. We start-up types love the rush, the thrill, the speed of a new idea. We love it so much that we can brush off the important things — like not researching our target market in detail, or not writing a business plan, or throwing money at freelancers who have next to no experience in the work we should be doing with excellence.

We end up falling off and we’re kicked and clobbered – for good reason — but we keep hanging on. We’re terrified we’ll lose the business we’ve loved yet neglected to care for properly, and because of it, we have to let go and don’t get to ride it through to its proper end.

Be Smart
So here’s my challenge to all you speed demons: Set it up the right way so that even if you fall off, you can get right back up again and carry on. Doing things slowly, one step at a time, does not mean you have failed. It means you are smart enough to know that steady steps lead you to the top of the hill, from whence you can rule, oh mighty one.

And check out our process. It’s short but carries my point across well.