I feel like nothing is going right. How can I make things better?

I want to work for myself and make a difference with my business. But it’s been an incredibly stressful two years, far worse than college. I lay awake at night thinking about everything I have to do the next day and beyond. I already work more than 80 hours a week and never get a day off. My life is a roller coaster. I’m not getting enough sleep and that affects my decision-making.

I often feel like I’m screwing up or not doing as well as someone else would do. I hate collecting payments, so some months I can’t pay myself. I have to make decisions that I sometimes don’t really understand – especially in technology. I get different answers from different people and don’t know who to ask to get knowledgeable answers. Even the people who work with me give me different answers. I’ve hired five people and three have already left.

What am I doing wrong? What can I do to make things better?

I didn't realize the transition from consulting to a startup would be so difficult

I was a consultant for five years and had become a manager. Every project had a start and finish; teams would come together for the project and then change. I didn’t love being a consultant, but I was good at it. My real goal was to start my own business. The main reasons I went in to consulting were to pay off my student debt, save up money, and build my skill set.

Once I had enough money saved up and my wife was secure with her job, I was ready to quit consulting and start working on my own business. I loved the excitement of a startup. We got traction very quickly and friends and family invested $1M.

The team grew to six people. I thought I was used to working on and managing teams, but I quickly realized managing a team to build a company is very different than running a consulting team. We had to live with the consequences of our decisions and these were long-term relationships, not starts and finishes. I saw the same six people every day and there were even office politics.

I knew I needed to transition to being a manager, not a project leader. I wasn’t sure what to do or where to go to figure it out.