I just posted on r/startups about some of the craziest things I've done over the years to make things work at PeopleFish (my startup).
Worked through many nights. Worked from the hospital. Worked on vacation. Worked from the passenger seat for several hours straight while road-tripping across the country.
They blocked my post for promoting "martyr culture."
In particular, they didn't like that I worked from the hospital the night my daughter was born.
"That's a HUGE red flag," they said.
Yes, I sent some emails that night while her and my wife slept. And I fixed my website, which had updated and glitched out earlier that day. I didn't want to do it, but leaving my two biggest clients in the dark and my website inoperable for days just wasn't an option. Sorry.
No, I wouldn't have to do this if my daughter were born today. Because PeopleFish is a steady, growing company. I can take time off.
But what did it take to get to this point?
A lot of hard work, that's what. Working smarter and harder.
Work-life balance is important. But it's not something you have to achieve every single day, or even every single week. And no, working really, really hard isn't "martyr" culture if you're telling a true story and being honest about whether it was worth it.
At the beginning of a startup, you're going to feel swamped. Pretty much constantly. You're going to work almost constantly.
And that's fine. It's a big price to pay, yes. But with the right mindset, you'll get through it. You'll come out the other side a far better, stronger, and more confident person than you were before.
There are no shortcuts.
(And no, working really, really hard isn't automatically martyr culture. I think it's helpful for startup founders to be able to discuss these things in the open -- to get honest feedback, and to reminded that we're not alone.)