- So I want to talk about something with regards to entrepreneurialism that I don't think we ever talk about. So, my background is that I had a career on Wall Street. So I was on Wall Street during the financial crisis. I was running Smith Barney during the financial crisis and that was some scary stuff. The truth is, during the financial crisis, I worked like crazy, it was nerve wracking, it was horrible, it was awful. I'd go home at night, I'd go to sleep at midnight and wake up at six AM. Now I'm an entrepreneur, and I have insomnia.
I slept through the-- I wouldn't say I slept through the financial crisis, 'cause that would be too strong a thing, I did not sleep through the financial crisis, but I slept during the financial crisis, and entrepreneurialism is so scary, that it is the one thing that's woken me up at three AM, and I wake up at 3:30, I wake up at 4:30. I actually slacked my cofounder two nights ago at about 4:30 AM, and my question to him was, "The product is buggy. "Are we worried that the product is buggy?" And we had a back and forth about the bugs.
So I wake up fretting about bugs, I wake up fretting about the hire that we did or didn't make. I wake up fretting about the product market fit, I wake up fretting about the things I don't know to fret about, the workers' compensation taxes, are we what, where, how, huh? Huh? The number of things, it's the known knowns and the unknown unknowns and all that stuff that sort of converge, and entrepreneurialism is all of the exciting stuff that people talk about but it's a lot of the, what I think of as drudgery, of starting and running a business, that we don't talk about, you know, we have the hero movie of the entrepreneur.
The did you pay the state taxes, did you pay the workers' compensation taxes, are you putting in place a 401k, if you're putting in place a 401k, who is it-- and then you get to all the other stuff. The solution for it for me is hard work and putting in the time, dotting the I, crossing the extra T, recognizing that still, the number one determinant of success for any of us, entrepreneurial or not, not the full determinant, but the number one determinant, is hard work, and that if we keep at this for long enough, we'll find that product market fix.
If we keep at it for long enough, we'll get that last bug, if we keep at it for long enough, we'll get that money raised. That's the way to overcome it, but make no mistake, because in our culture we don't talk about this, but being an entrepreneur is scary, being an entrepreneur entails risk, and the way I want you to get over it is to really think about, enumerating those risks, working through those risks, and mitigating those risks. And try to get some sleep.
What's holding you back? How can you gain the confidence necessary to take risks and chance failing? Sallie Krawcheck is a LinkedIn Influencer and one of the most successful and influential executives in financial services. She has built her career and reputation on thoughtful risk-taking. Here she shares an approach that will help you to take chances while mitigating risk—and keep you on the track to growth and continued opportunity.