Capsule 15: Lessons

Entrepreneurial Lesson Fifteen: When your accountant says, “have more fun”

Brian Adducci and I grew up in families that instilled a hard work discipline. When we first started our venture we got robust lectures from our entrepreneurial fathers. None of which included the phrase "have fun" in any related or mutated form.

We started a venture and we went to work.

We finished our first and second years before our accountant, yes accountant, brought up something we had missed. He noticed we lacked any significant spend on going out to eat, entertainment or other line items which would indicate "having fun" in fiscal terms. So he pointed it out to us as only your accountant can, "Hey guys, I noticed you guys are not spending anything on fun. Maybe you should consider some fun things."

Well, once we got past the amusing realization that our straight-as-a-pinstripe accountant was pointing out our lack of fun, we added fun to our venture. We’ll close our fifteen lessons sharing with you some of the ways we did this:  

1. We assigned someone the “Director of Fun” job. Through the years it has been passed around. Each time the individual (and sometimes team) has to plan for ways to insert fun into our days. And, despite weather and other socially accepted constraints, it has been successful.

2. We have spent time traveling to cities to go on river tours and see what culture the city has to offer. We have spent time on lakes, rivers and other small bodies of water doing things that summer in Minnesota makes very rewarding.

3. Travel to far away lands for design-inspired tours. Crossing state lines and perhaps oceans to see what our subcultures have to offer.

4. Volunteer for an organization for a day, having fun but putting ourselves to work for others.

5. And, more attendance at interesting conferences and to meet interesting people.

All this came from our accountant noticing we were working hard, but not playing at all. Sometimes the lessons for an entrepreneur come from unexpected people and places. All you have to do is keep your eyes, ears and mind open.

Please contact Kitty Hart if you’d like to know more about how Capsule supports entrepreneurial ventures.

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal

Entrepreneurial Lesson Fourteen: Live the dream so it doesn’t live you

The dream of entrepreneurship is only a dream until you get out on your own, start something and employ someone. If you employ yourself then you’re a freelancer, if you employ others then you’re an entrepreneur.  When you do make the leap, know that it will consume you if you let it. Entrepreneurship will take every bit of your day and your sanity if you allow it.

Keep your sanity by keeping parts of your day to yourself.

All nice and easy to say, but try to NOT think about brats grilling on a calm autumn afternoon. See, you’re thinking about them and like Pavlov’s dog, drooling too. When you start a venture you love it isn’t easy NOT thinking about it. And, when you're spending time thinking about it, you’re working.

Some people use yoga or meditation. Others use reading, games or other activities to pull the master switch off on their working mind. This isn’t about taking proper vacations because the working mind of an entrepreneur has no concern for when or where you’re “on vacation.” My technique has been exercise and specifically cycling. Here are some of the ways exercise works for any entrepreneur.

1. Exercise is a proven stress reducer.
2. If you push yourself to a higher level of strenuous exercise, all you’ll be able to think about is survival.
3. The primary benefits of reduced weight, healthier living, etc. can be secondary to you and thus become an extra bonus.
4. If necessary, you can exercise at a level that allows you to think about work when necessary, and sometimes when your body is occupied, your mind can wander to some rather creative places.

No matter what your method, find a way to shut off your working mind. It will save you from waking up one day to find the dream is living you versus you living the dream. And, not doing this is the fastest route to a resting place six feet under the grass.

Enjoy the dream. Live for another day.

Please contact Kitty Hart if you’d like to know more about how Capsule supports entrepreneurial ventures.

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal

Entrepreneurial Lesson Thirteen: Be grateful for Mrs. Luck and others

This isn’t the place to debate whether there is such a thing as luck. We’ve found ourselves in the right place at the right time more times than we can count. We recognize it for a contribution, but more important we recognize the people. The talent of our staff and the members of our network have brought us more luck than we can measure. Here are some of the things that still amaze us.

1. We were given the role of helping Byerly’s rebrand in 2000, within our first year of business. It came out of an informal side conversation with Barb Birr.
2. We repackaged Schroeder Milk in 2001 that happened because I made the only cold call in our history to one of the managers and told them I drank their milk in grade school.
3. We got a call asking us to write a series of books called “Design Matters” and we ended up writing and publishing one on packaging and one on logos.
4. We hired some amazing team members early and then made it through some daft hiring to figure out how to pick the right people.
5. Early in our history Fisher-Price, Coty Beauty and Schwinn noticed us. All of which gave us some national attention for the type of work our firm was designed to do.
6. We were quoted in the Wallstreet Journal, BusinessWeek and a variety of other publications for the early work we were doing in design.
7. We met James Damian though Best Buy, met Robyn Waters through Target, Janine Heffelfinger through General Mills, Tracy Jones through Robyn Waters and many other friends in the community of design minded individuals.
8. We made some amazing friends at SmartWool and delivered amazing results for them on an international scale.

There are many other examples of things we could be arrogant enough to believe we deserved, but really know they have more to do with luck, being good people and knowing the right individuals.

This lesson is about being grateful for luck and anything else outside our control that has influenced our successes.

Please contact Kitty Hart if you’d like to know more about how Capsule supports entrepreneurial ventures.

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal

Entrepreneurial Lesson Twelve: Twenty years of newsletters equals a book

This lesson came after we nearly finished our first book, Design Matters: Logos. Although we had been recruited to write the first book, we had yet to decide on a commitment to write the second, Design Matters: Packaging. Uncle Wyman gave us this lesson and it stuck, to this day, as unique equation in life.

In a discussion with Wyman we were concerned about the effort and investment to write the second book. He had spent twenty years writing, editing and publishing a monthly newsletter for our state’s political community. No small feat for certain. Then, he was asked to write a book. And, in his experience the two were equal in contribution to his reputation, reach and influence in Minnesota politics.

At the time, we were a nine-year-old firm and had no interest in the expense and discipline required for a monthly newsletter. So, the second book was written and designed by Capsule and published by Rockport.

Here are some anecdotal outcomes from writing a book for anyone considering becoming an author.

1. When a prospective client asks us to send our book of work they expect a portfolio to arrive like every other firm: we deliver an actual book.
2. When we’re asked to speak on subjects like brand strategy, naming, identity, packaging and “what is good design” we have some built in credibility for the audience.
3. There’s nothing like saying, “well, we wrote the book on packaging” even if it isn’t the only book and we do it with tongue safely planted in cheek.
4. Having a classroom of students come through our office to ask questions about the books we’ve written because it's the class textbook is both rewarding and slightly intimidating.
5. Having a book signing party has to be on the top ten list of great excuses to have a party.

The real lesson here: A book sounds great from the outside, but it is a tremendous amount of work with a low payout rate. But, if you see the larger picture, the value becomes very clear.

Please contact Kitty Hart if you’d like to know more about how Capsule supports entrepreneurial ventures.

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal

Entrepreneurial Lesson Eleven: Where you sit matters

The place you occupy on the planet matters.

Capsule started off on the third floor of a house, moved quickly to a temporary office space, then into a built out space in The Lumber Exchange and finally to the North Loop area of Mpls to a street level space. We have found amusing and meaningful stories in all the places we’ve planted roots.

But, our current space has given us a great lesson.

It's common knowledge now that the space you reside impacts how much you enjoy work and the resulting productivity. Though, productivity is hard to measure in our creative world, it's something we can intuit from happy clients.

While we knew our space was important, it was amplified with a move to our current footprint. We occupy five thousand square feet of street-level space across from a burnt out foundry. We are on the edge of the city center and centered in the culturally white hot North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis. Our space has brought new friends, opportunities and quantifiable outcomes. Here are some of the results of our new view of downtown.

1. We have events in our kitchen, monthly and we are able to invite guests like Joe Pine (Author of Experience Economy), Sarah Miller Caldicott (author and great grand niece of Thomas Edison) and Dan Hill (author of Emotionomics).
2. We have the best home court advantage when inviting our clients to come see where we are inspired to work on their brand strategy, naming, interface design and packaging.
3. We get comments from employees about how much they love coming to work here at this location. And, we get an unsolicited comment from almost every visitor about how much they love our space.
4. We have Monday meetings in our kitchen, everyone gathers to talk about our work, gain further understanding and collaborate on the direction we’re taking with a client’s project.

The funny part of all this is how much angst we had when considering the move to this space. We talked with clients, we talked with staff. We discussed, analyzed and discussed some more. It was one of the hardest decisions we’ve made in our 15 year history. And, as it turns out, it was one of the best we’ve made.

Designing where you spend 10-12 hours, 5 days a week is important. We intuitively knew it and now we know it at a real, practical level.

Please contact Kitty Hart if you’d like to know more about how Capsule supports entrepreneurial ventures.

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal

Entrepreneurial Lesson Ten: The water is warm, for the right reason.

When this all began, we had our challenges and we learned a lot by taking a beating in the marketplace. The bruises are healed and we now have a glowing view of the path we took to get here. Though, there are memories of things we would no doubt do differently. Most are specific decisions, but a few can be described as a perspective we took that we’d now like to change.

This lesson is one of those. 

Many years ago, my 5 year-old (Maria Keller) and I found a unique fishing hole at our nearby lake. We would visit often and catch a bounty of fish for dinner. Then, one day two young boys were pulling in fish and screaming with joy at our "secret" spot. We had to adapt and realize it was good to share and a lesson was learned -- early for Maria but a bit late for her dad. Knowing something others don’t can feel good for a while, but if you rely on it to feel good all the time, it creates bad behaviors.

This applied to the entrepreneurial world as we came to realize how good it actually is to run your own venture; we kept it a secret. We didn’t want others to start their own, we didn’t want anyone to see the green grass on this side of the river. Then you come to realize the greater good -- having more entrepreneurs is more valuable than your own personal satisfaction.

So, today, as the founders of Capsule, we are invited to speak, present and educate other future entrepreneurs. We are happy to do so and give all the details behind our story. The more people who are willing to cross over the bridge should be given a proper picture of the other side. 

Please contact Kitty Hart if you’d like to know more about how Capsule supports entrepreneurial ventures.

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal

Entrepreneurial Lesson Nine: Weathered wood is better

We had the great fortune to have an amazing board of governors when we started our firm in 1999. We had no idea then how valuable their experience would come to be over the years. All we knew is we needed to respect and consider their viewpoint on our fledging venture.

Picking a board is like selecting the right reclaimed wood from an 1880’s barn. If you search hard enough, you can find a few boards that have avoided over exposure to the sun. Those are not the boards you want. Find the weathered, experienced, tattered and sun faded boards when making your selection.

Here are some of the situations, rather moments, when a weathered board is better: 

1. When you have a huge upheaval in the first 18 months of business, with half your staff leaving, and you need the experience of a board to keep things calm and stable.
2. When you face the most challenging economic conditions, twice (2001 and 2008) since the Great Depression. Bringing perspective, connections and valuable experience to get you through it all.
3. When you just need to bounce something off someone who knows a tremendous amount more than you do about a particular subject.
4. And, when you just need someone to give you a brutally honest answer to a challenging question.

These are just some of the reasons a weathered board is better than a fresh cedar plank. We know it isn’t easy to pick a good board, we were very fortunate. Picking people you like or people you’d like to spend a hour with each month is the wrong reason. Picking people who “get it” and can add to your business venture is a great reason.

Whatever the case, remember to pick the weathered ones.

Please contact Kitty Hart if you’d like to know more about how Capsule supports entrepreneurial ventures.

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal

Entrepreneurial Lesson Eight: Real risk vs. perceived risk

This lesson originated from an MBA lecture at the Carlson School of Management, but became real to me after starting our design venture.

Real risk versus perceived risk is best described as the difference between driving around in a car versus flying in a jet plane. You have a 1 in 11 million chance of dying in a plane crash and 1 in 5,000 chance of dying in a motor vehicle crash. Statistically, driving has a greater risk, but try telling that to Kitty Hart while traveling on a bumpy flight in a tin aircraft at 50,000 feet above the earth. Real versus perceived risk becomes irrelevant above 10,000 feet.

The place where it does matter is when considering the larger decisions down here on land. Sometimes we make up risks in our head without knowing the actual risk involved. The largest one in the world of entrepreneurship is what will happen if you fail. Entrepreneurs don’t go to jail or face criminal action against them if they fail (unless you fail while committing a crime with your venture). Failure alone isn’t criminal behavior.

Risk is relative to how you see the world and the future of your business. There are hard decisions that have to be made as a business owner and making them wrong can mean your venture never recovers. But from what we’ve found, decisions with that much gravity are few and far between. If you’re making the day-to-day decisions with the right perspective, the larger ones contain less real risk.

Here are some practices we’ve employed to reduce the risk of our decisions.

1. Find the edges: what are the best and worst-case scenarios, is there a fall back position and when do we know when it’s been a good or bad decision.
2. Delay until you know more: while there’s a book of knowledge around making quick, gut decisions, sometimes it’s good to just wait. The answer may not be immediately apparent and a rash decision can remove options from the table.
3. Look for patterns from the world around you, not just in your industry. Sometimes what you see your competitors doing is the wrong decision for your exact situation. We look to other industries to see how they’ve addressed a specific challenge or decision.
4. Know that there’s no absolute right answer (in most cases) and sometimes it’s just the best of the worst options laid in front of you.

These are just some basic parameters for reducing the risk of your decisions, based on our experience. We are honest with ourselves when we enter the big decision moments and take each situation as its own challenge.

Enjoying the process is akin to celebrating the journey.

Please contact Kitty Hart if you’d like to know more about how Capsule supports entrepreneurial ventures.

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal

Entrepreneurial Lesson Seven: You’re a human being

This lesson came from my father. He would say to me, “Aaron, you know we are called human beings, not human doings.” And, while it took me a while to allow that one to completely sink into my consciousness, it's now made an impression.

Just because you do more doesn’t mean you’ll be more. 

For entrepreneurs with a twitchy affection for shiny objects, this lesson is a good one. There are many things you can be doing once you’ve put yourself in the chair of “owner.” Doing becomes a daily thing to the point where some people and organizations quantify time remaining on the planet by hours and ask what have you done (or are you doing) this hour to change the world? That’s a lot of pressure to do. Perhaps we need to spend some time being.

If we do more, we naturally consume more. If we’re content with being, we consume less and therefore make less of an impact on the planet. But, let’s get back to the lesson here and why it's important to spend some time “being” vs “doing.”

The life of an entrepreneur is all-inclusive. When you go into business doing something you love, working isn’t work. You find yourself redefining what you do and spending your time differently. It can lead to a situation where you’re “working” all the time and forgetting to decompress. This is a quick way to find yourself on the other end of the line with a divorce attorney (note: the rate of divorce for entrepreneurs is much higher than the national average).

The big lesson here is letting go of always “doing” and spend some time “being.” Being with your family, being with the other things you love (for me it's time on a road bike is a state of being) or being in a state of relaxation.

Spending some time simply being will improve your doing.

Please contact Kitty Hart if you’d like to know more about how Capsule supports entrepreneurial ventures.

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal

Entrepreneurial Lesson Six: Honestly it’s my fault

Reflecting back to being an employee, I was able to observe behaviors that get you ahead as an employee but don’t as an employer. One less than impressive behavior was the ability to avoid blame for something going wrong. It was an art form to some people. They never had to say the words “I was wrong” or “It’s my fault.” This, of course, didn’t translate to everyone around him or her believing such hogwash. In fact, it’s as obvious as a cold sore on his or her face, screaming back at you, “look at me, I can’t admit when I’m wrong!” So, in the end, avoiding the words, “it’s my fault” does no good and certainly doesn’t help as a leader, employer or entrepreneur.

Here are some other reasons to take the blame for something going wrong.

1. If we learn more from our mistakes, then taking credit for them just means we’re admitting to getting smarter. Not a bad example to set for people around you.
2. Taking the blame is counter-intuitive and not an easy discipline to build in an organization. If you’re leading the organization, who better to set a good example and build a learning discipline.
3. If you’re building a culture of innovators, you’ll have to learn from mistakes and it is really hard to start learning before admitting the mistake.
4. As a leader, you take the pressure off others who fear the idea of being wrong or making a mistake. By admitting it, you show someone its okay to try something that might fail and then take the blame if it does.
5. There’s a limit to how far you can go in life without admitting your mistakes. And, the great entrepreneurs I’ve known are harder on themselves than anyone else.
6.  In the end, the shit all roles uphill to you anyway. If you’re good at what you do and admit your mistakes, those who work with you will be more comfortable doing so and learning from it. Your chances at success are exponentially greater if your team is learning with you.

Having the confidence to start your own venture and achieve a level of success sometimes means you can do no wrong. That’s about where things go sideways. Being in touch with when you make mistakes makes for a better entrepreneur and a more sustainable organization.

Please contact Kitty Hart if you’d like to know more about how Capsule supports entrepreneurial ventures.

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal

Entrepreneurial Lesson Five: Patience is a virtuoso

In the world of entrepreneurs, patience is certainly a learned behavior. For me, and this might not apply to the general population, patience wasn’t something that came easy. When you take on the title of entrepreneur and employer of people you also get a bunch of attributes you may not yet have. Patience was certainly one of mine.

If you’re wondering how this shows up in your daily life of leading a team, consider a micro manager. This is the person who tells you exactly what to do when and how. They likely don’t have the patience to allow someone to learn on their own. They have no patience for mistakes. And, as is common knowledge, we learn more from our mistakes therefore micromanagement is not a great leadership quality.

There are good ways to address this and train your own mind to move beyond an impatient rookie to become a calm virtuoso. Here are some of the methods I’ve used.

1. Surround yourself with situations where patience isn’t just a “nice to have” but rather a required attribute. Teaching was my method of developing this part of my brain. If you teach you know why patience is a required attribute. If you don’t this is a great way to amplify this attribute in your personality.

2. Notice it when it happens. Recognize when you’ve pushed the impatient button a few times quickly. You’ll be able to identify the triggers in your own head and cut them off before you push the button next time.

3. Behaviors versus situations, know the difference. Knowing if your lack of patience is triggered by a situation or an individual’s behavior helps change your perspective in those situations. For instance, blatant ignorance covered in a confident exterior is a behavior trigger for me. Just ask any potential intern who has come into Capsule and asked me in an interview, “so what do you do here at Capsule?” This is a trigger.

As the founder and one of the three faces on our website, my inclination is to press the “impatient” button and leave the room. But, I have learned to give candidates a chance to recover and observe how they deal with what they just stepped in. so, my response is, “I founded Capsule fifteen years ago.”  Now, I get to learn how well this candidate handles adversity, which is a great attribute for someone fitting into our culture.

Patience is a virtue and it is also a learned behavior for most. Patience is something you work on and develop as a human being. As you do, you become a virtuoso in patience.

Please contact Kitty Hart if you’d like to know more about how Capsule supports entrepreneurial ventures.

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal

Entrepreneurial Lesson Four: Fighting a Prize Pig 

The first piece of advice often given and received in entrepreneurship is, "make sure you have a great accountant and tough lawyer." We can speculate on what this means culturally at some future date. For now, let's consider the retained lawyer and situations where you do and don't leverage the teeth of a good lawyer.

Now, to the pig. We live in a country best described as a vat of litigious opportunities and there are plenty of pigs roaming around looking for a fight. You, as the entrepreneur, have to make smart decisions when considering the fights you enter and the ones where you'll just make the pig happy and get dirty at the same time. It isn't easy. And it isn't clarified when you believe you're in the right.

The legal process is a business tool to be used in a strategic manner and here are three simple tools to use when considering getting into the pig pen for an old fashioned wrestle:

1. Get an estimate of costs and consider all possible outcomes financially to see if it is worth entering the pen at this point in time. If you replace the "they're wrong, we're right" emotional statement with a fiscal analysis, you'll make a better decision for your business. Some situations have an outcome that's only good for the lawyers, each party just pays for a outcome neither wants. Avoid these situations by removing the emotion.

2. Consider the precedent in a situation and what the long term implications are for not entering the fight. These may be situations where you'll pay for a past decision much later, even if it makes fiscal sense today. Set a good standard for when defending your position is necessary and stay strong. There are certainly situations worth winning even if they don't make fiscal sense in the short term.

3. Carry a larger stick than you'll ever need but use it with extreme discretion. This means, have the best breed of lawyer in each of the respective practice areas versus having one law firm. Then, when a situation occurs, you have the right partner in the pig pen with you. No single law firm can do everything "best in class," so you'll have to seek out and get to know the best of each practice area.

These are the ones we use here at Capsule. There are certainly others to consider, but having grown up on a farm and knowing the real challenge of fighting with a pig, these have worked nicely for us.

Enjoy and know that sometimes it is does make sense to enter the pig pen and get dirty.

Please contact Kitty Hart if you’d like to know more about how Capsule supports entrepreneurial ventures.

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal

Entrepreneurial Lesson Three: Hire the scent of culture

Your sense of smell is powerful if you allow yourself to trust it. As human beings we’re capable of much more when we trust what we call “our gut.” When we do this, what we’re really doing is picking up on all the sensory cues in a situation and processing them with the powerful organ atop our necks. When we trust it, we make better decisions.

Culture in an organization is a delicate living organism. As the entrepreneur, you have the obligation to lead that culture, but can never specifically direct it. You’re influence is strong, but unless you run a highly inefficient dictatorship, you’ll never be able to control everything. So, you influence, cajole and most important hire to influence the culture you’ve designed.

We have found some interesting things to consider when hiring people and the culture of your organization.

1.     Hiring a miss on culture fit is far more painful than hiring someone who has to learn the role, our way of thinking and our methods to be successful inside Capsule.
2.     You should be able to sense a “fit” with questions around the fringe of the discussion. Questions like, “what do you like about what we do here?”
3.     If your culture is healthy, it can determine the types of people to hire, if it isn’t then you’re just propagating something bad.
4.     You should be able to use a simple list of words to describe the person who happens to be a great fit, our words are (curious, driven, conversational, positive and detailed). As we have added roles and responsibilities, this list has become more specific.

The phrase we have learned to live by over the years is “culture eats strategy for lunch.” If you can build a strong culture, the wrong people will self select hopefully before they even visit for an interview.

Talk about culture, put it into words and use those words when you hire.

Please contact Kitty Hart if you’d like to know more about how Capsule supports entrepreneurial ventures.

Thank you for reading.

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal

Entrepreneurial Lesson Two: Remove the cuff links, rolling ‘em up

From the outside looking in, the entrepreneurial lifestyle appears to be abundant with wealth and mingling with society upper crust. When you reach this period in your entrepreneurial venture you’ve likely become an icon for the organization. This means the people you’ve hired do the real work. Now, that may be a nice seat someday, but for most entrepreneurs, they start something, to do something, to eventually accomplish something. So, being an icon without any real authority has never been a goal of mine.

The reward is the work.

Here are some of the things I’ve rolled up my sleeves to do because accomplishing something alongside a team is rewarding:

1. Getting the opportunity to teach at St. Thomas and Minneapolis College of Art and Design.  Influencing young minds and, more important, seeing what they come up with on their own.

2. Conducting research by being in the moment of purchase with our clients and watching their eyes light up as they discover a consumer insight.

3. Writing weekly content for clients and Capsule to keep my mind sharp. The act of challenging your brain helps keep it from aging, just like the rest of your body.

4. Working through design challenges with clients and our teams. Setting the stage for a solution, but being comfortable knowing it doesn’t have to be my idea. Again, working the brain and enjoying the “sleeves up” work we do.

5. Traveling around the world for clients and prospects who find what we do valuable and intriguing enough to hear it in person.

If this isn’t enough, my business partner Brian Adducci is still a practicing designer contributing daily to the design work we do for our clients.

The lesson here is to really consider what you’ve set out to do, on a daily basis, as an entrepreneur. If you design your venture so you can be an icon, be aware of the ramifications.

Please contact Kitty Hart if you’d like to know more about how Capsule supports entrepreneurial ventures.

Thank you for reading.

Aaron Keller
Founding Partner, Capsule

Entrepreneurial Lesson One: Learn to sleep or die trying.

This lesson goes way back to when I was graduating from St. Thomas and found myself doing informational interviews with marketing professionals. The gentleman’s name who gave me this advice has long since left my memory, but here it was, “kid, this business will put you in a pine box, [awkward pause, curious look on my face] it will kill you kid, if you are not able to go home and get a good night of sleep.” Well, this was evident early in my entrepreneurial career.

Though, it is very true and was repeated to me by another entrepreneur, Barry Johnson, who put it in a more eloquent form, “you need to be able to have the worst day of your entrepreneurial career and go home and get your standard number of hours of sleep. And, just as important, the same goes for your best day as an entrepreneur.”  Thank you Barry, yes sleep is an essential part of living the lifestyle of an entrepreneur.

And, why is this so essential? It would appear, from the outside, entrepreneurs are so driven they need less sleep or no sleep at all. Because there are so many up and down days in the life of an entrepreneur you have to be able to level off the roller coaster of events. It is hard at first to turn your mind off at the end of the day and get some rest, sometimes your mind just wants to churn though all the day’s events, bad or good. Rehashing them to determine what could be better, what you’d change next time and every other thought you can imagine about a day.

As an entrepreneur, you have to level off the roller coaster ride or it will kill you. This doesn’t mean you’re not emotionally engaged in every manner possible. This also doesn’t mean you don’t get to enjoy the highs. Rather, it means you need to find a way to put each day aside and sleep for the sake of your body and the other people around you.

A 5-Hour Energy with a Redbull chaser is not a sustainable lifestyle. If you’re considering the entrepreneurial adventure and you already struggle with sleep, you will certainly have to find a way to manage this part of your life.

Please contact Kitty Hart if you’d like to know more about how Capsule supports entrepreneurial ventures. 

About The Author

Aaron Keller

I am an author, strategist, researcher, cyclist, reader and consummate entrepreneur. When an interesting idea crosses my path, I find any way we can bring it to life. Earning an MBA from the Carlson School and numerous valuable credits at the school of hard knocks, I’ll sit at a boardroom conversation with anyone. Want to talk business strategy, consumer behavior and design? Oh, it’s on.

Courtney Johnson

Affectionately known around the office as C-John, CoJo or Uptown Girl, I make sure the whole world knows about the general greatness of Capsule. Armed with the Mary Tyler Moore theme song and Audrey Hepburn inspired wardrobe, I coordinate all details around building relationships and exploring new design opportunities. Sailing on Lake Calhoun and attending local concerts feed my daily musings. 


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