I’ve always known what the phrase “drink from a fire hose” means (a lot of information coming at you at once and you have to take it all in at the same time), but until I left the corporate world and started my own company, I didn’t truly know what that felt like. Yes, I’ve been under the gun and had to learn a lot at once flying airplanes, or had to take in whole heap loads of Calculus in grad school that I didn’t understand and then regurgitate it in essay-form, and I even took on new positions with my aerospace engineering title that fit the bill of when people talk about having to drink from the fire hose when you start a new position. Nope, all those were easy. Starting my own company however? Shoot me. Absolutely shoot me.
I sent an email to a mentor of mine who has helped me along through this jump into entrepreneuralism (it’s possible I just made up that word), and when he came back hysterically laughing, I realized I had just spelled out what it truly feels like to be hit with the fire hose. Keyword, “hit”, not “drink from”. I wish it was easy enough that I could just drink all that water. No way, that water is trying to kill me.
I’m standing in a wide hallway with a guy in fireproof overalls standing about 15 ft in front of me holding a fire hose aimed directly at my face. The hose pressure is actually so strong that the water is pounding my whole body and my eyes are shut to keep the water out. All the while, I’m having to make phone calls to clients and sellers because everyone is confused and I’m apparently the only person who can fix it, I have to email people constantly with responses, remind myself of things constantly, tweak my spreadsheets, make more calls because the fires still aren’t out, say “oh #%$&” because I forgot to do something else I was supposed to do, and at the same time listen to my web folks ask me what I think about a proposal, or ask when I’m going to update this other thing, or when I’m going to write a new report because I’m due for one, can I throw out a new blog for this guy, or why has my Facebook page not been updated since January… and during all this my dog is pawing at my leg saying “gotta pee”. I’m doing all of these things while the water is nearly blasting me out. Every time I open my mouth I choke on water getting in and have to spit it out, I have to yell “HUH?” really loud because I can’t hear what people are saying because of the water, and when I turn my head to escape it for a minute, the water just goes in my ear.
Welcome to starting a business and being out on your own. And seriously, this blurb doesn’t even catch 1/4 of my to-do list.
But would I change any of it? Well, the to-do list part, yes, but not the reality of being able to do it all whenever I want and in my pajamas!