304: Entrepreneurship isn’t always an easy road

In early 2020, I was with Storage Squad on a big project clearing dorm rooms in Washington, D.C. for three weeks. By all measures it was an overwhelming success–it saved the year and the business at the height of the pandemic fear. But it was an incredibly stressful, high-pressure environment, with pressure coming from both the university and our customers. And there were new problems popping up every day.

In the middle of that project, my grandmother passed away. After getting home late Tuesday night, my family began a road trip back to Indiana on Wednesday to go to the funeral. Just 20 minutes down the road I started feeling ill with a headache, a sore throat, and a fever, and I knew that I couldn’t go to the funeral. We turned around, and after testing negative days later I headed back to Indiana. I packed up my suit and materials for work, as I was going to go straight from the funeral to Ithaca, NY for another project. I made it an hour down the road when my mother called and told me that she didn’t think it was wise for me to come home and risk exposing people, and while it was really hard to hear I knew that she was right, so I continued on to Ithaca on my own on the road.

This period was an emotional roller coaster. The stress of the job was getting to me, I was sleeping horribly, I had a perpetually tight chest, and selfishly I actually wished that I had tested positive. It would have been an excuse for me to stay in the house, stop traveling, and have time with my wife. I had been on the road for almost 30 of the past 40 days, which was hard on me, my wife, and my kids. Not being able to see my family and go to the funeral was a huge gut punch.

Obviously, things have been a success since then. Storage Squad succeeded and was sold, I pivoted to self-storage, and my career and personal life have continued growing. But it was a fight to make it to the finish line, and things weren’t always easy, but I knew that the results would be worth it.

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About Me

I started the Sweaty Startup in December of 2018 because I believe the Shark Tank and Tech Crunch culture is ruining the real spirit of low-risk entrepreneurship.