When I started to build out my SAAS app Proxies API, I didn’t want a billion-dollar company or even a million-dollar company. Those are weird goals and don’t have any power behind them. The why of doing a startup should be so powerful it drives you every morning and every hour on its own. For that, it has to be natural. Lying in reality. A lot of gurus advocate having a strong why to their students. To find you are why they say. Find it SO that you can build a company. The irony and dishonesty of this approach are lost on them. It’s like saying, go find a disease you have so I can cure it. It’s never worked that way. Because you can’t trick yourself. Then why should it be obvious? If it is not, then you can’t wear a psychological version of VR goggles to psyche yourself that there is a why. Here is a strange thought — if you can’t find a way to start a company, then don’t. If you don’t have the motivation to do a startup, then why do you want to do it.
I think of it this way- If I know there is a tsunami coming my way in 6 months, and I am on an island, and I have no way to get out, it’s natural for me to plan and do everything in my power to deal with the upcoming threat. I don’t need to find me why. It is natural, and the goal of building a strong tower tall enough to survive the tsunami is not arbitrary. The fear fuels the work that’s needed and the research that’s required.
For me, I had to quit my day job because of the way my personal life was structured. Terrible things would happen, or at least had a high chance of happening if I didn’t become location independent. I can’t share more than this in a public forum, but all you need to know is why I was looking large in front of me, and I had anywhere between a year to 18 months to get independent.
After this threat, my calculations are modest. All I needed was to be able to pay rent and sustain living expenses. Period No other jazz was necessary. Figures like a million dollars or think big was laughable guru speak who didn’t have the sense of reality or urgency about my situation. You see, beyond the exact number needed to sustain me a month on month and free from having to work a job, the extra money meant nothing to me.
A focus like this is based on fear, a fear that is natural and real. It’s impersonal, and it has great power. It doesn’t stress you out like a personal fear like the fear of humiliation, which is your very own. This is my power. And this made sure I left no stone unturned to get to my goal. Everyday scenarios would play out in my head as to how else I could fail. Failing was not an option, so it fuelled me. I wanted it.
A potential billion-dollar company ‘someday’ when my personal life is in tatters is of no use to me. Just earning 2.5 k per month meant everything to me. It’s my dream come true, and possibly a nightmare averted.
The author is the founder of Proxies API, a proxy rotation API service.