Riding the Entrepreneurial Roller Coaster

Diamondback Roller Coaster, Kings Island, Mason OhioHave you ever wondered about our fascination with roller coasters ? People from all over the world have been flocking to ride these engineering  marvels since as far back as the 17th century, although the earliest ‘thrill’ ride did not have rollers or wheels at all but rather flew on tracks of ice. 

Roller coasters, as we know them today, have come a long way from the ‘ice mountains’ in the time of the Russian Czars, but some things still hold true.  They fascinate us, they can make us nauseous, and often have us screaming as we fly up to the peak and rush headlong down into the valley.  Step right up to the roller coaster.  It is guaranteed to provide a rush of adrenaline and a wild ride. (History of the Roller Coaster – Wikipedia)

As I sat working on business plans and reviewing financing packages today, I suddenly struck me how much in common the roller coaster and the entrepreneurial journey really do have in common.

Think about it, entrepreneurs fascinate us, we watch successful ones like they are rock stars, and look away with a gulp at the poor guy who is losing his lunch – or his business – as he staggers away.  Any entrepreneur will tell you,  THAT can happen to anybody.

Like roller coasters, most entrepreneurial ventures labor rung by rung up that first great grade to reach that first big win, opportunity, or investor.   And  then reality hits, and there is so much WORK to do, and you are sliding down, before you begin the next great climb.  It’s a wonder more of us are not throwing up our arms and screaming!  If you stay the entrepreneurial circuit long enough, you are sure to hit its highs and lows. Even the legendary entrepreneurial success stories like Microsoft and Cisco have had their fair share of peaks and valleys along the way.

Like roller coasters, that struggled financially and almost disappeared completely during the Great Depression, entrepreneurs have faced times when economic conditions where almost too much to take.  But then a spark of innovation, or a new idea gets them fired up all over again.

That’s the thing about veteran entrepreneurs, just like veteran roller coaster riders, as soon as the ride is over, they often get right back in line to take the journey again. 

I wonder if a study has ever been done on what percent of entrepreneurs LIKE to ride roller coasters.   Or, if serial entrepreneurs are especially addicted?  It might make for interesting reading.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

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