I'm an idiot because I thought I had to take on risks to be successful. Hadn't my many years of climbing taught me anything?
One never takes unnecessary chances in the mountains. If you do, you may imperil not only your life but also that of your partner. So a climber will try to avoid any unjustifiable danger.
Throughout the many ventures I created in the course of my life, I don't think I listened to this sound judgment enough. On the contrary, I felt I had to take on risks to be successful. The kind that could and did jeopardize my friendships, my family ties, my house.
I believed I could outsmart anyone this way. Of course, I was an idiot to think so. Needless to add, I failed miserably.
The "Let's go all in" theory is wrong. Each time I lived by it, I felt anxious, insecure and stressed out. In short, I was miserable. Each day seemed as if it was the last. I thought I was on the verge of collapsing under the burden of anguish. Under these conditions, I was unable to create or move forward.
When I launched my last venture, Eric's Peanut Butter, I decided I would limit my risks to a maximum.
It takes patience and a certain amount of resources to generate a sustainable business. All too often, entrepreneurs have to undergo uncomfortable financial pressure before they can reach a viable situation. Some even have to shut down their enterprise before they can enjoy the fruit of their work.
I had faced this situation more than once before, and I wanted to avoid it to happen again. I could raise money to fund the initial capital, but it would come at a cost: the loss of freedom. Also, the idea of gambling with other people's money and burning through it, again, was not an appealing scheme. I didn't want to go down this road which felt stressful.
One morning I assumed there must be another way to do this right, and there was one.
I stopped taking on liabilities I could not tolerate and started hedging uncertainty, and this is what I did.
I found a part-time job first and then I created my venture. Today, it still accounts for about 30% of my time. I dedicate the rest of the week to the development of my business.
My part-time job may not be glamorous, but I am thankful for it. It gives me the freedom I need to do what I want, more or less when I want.
I am taking the slow path. In the La Fontaine fable "The Tortoise and the Hare," I am the Tortoise. I am not in a rush.
My venture is expanding organically. I take no shortcut to hack my growth. Each profit is reinvested to buy new machines to process more peanut butter. I have never felt this safe, relaxed and creative. I am not taking any chance I can not afford to handle. I want to live a stress-free life.
My side gig gives me security and my expanding peanut butter business brings me fulfillment. This combination is empowering. I feel accomplished, and this is already a success to me.