I spoke to an entrepreneur today who asked me about the opportunity cost of his startup. His company was 2.5 years old and doing about 30K per month. They weren't growing fast or getting rich and had enough money each month to pay the principals. He told me that he was starting to think about opportunity cost of his time.
I told him he was 1/3 of the way through a marathon and that I thought we (as entrepreneurs) were spoiled by the 1990's internet bubble. The days of quick exits and instant millions are gone. In my opinion, it takes at least 5 years to build value into a company -- sure there are exceptions and it's wise to look for them. But don't be deluded by the green pastures of an easy path to profits. Doing a start up is hard and the line between success and failure is all too thin. It's a CEO's job to quiet the conversations about greener pastures and opportunity cost in his mind -- and to focus on leading his company to a market where margins are good and money can be made. Getting to break-even so that you can play again another day is a major accomplishment. Don't under appreciate it.
When I told this to the entrepreneur, he looked at me as if I told him something he already knew. He was relieved (I think) and disappointed because it was still hard work ahead.
As I've been known to say -- "chop wood, carry water" and "be careful out there" .