Typical 24-hour Life of a Startup CEO

Most of us want to know what it is really like to be a startup CEO. How does a CEO schedule his routine activities and spend the day at work?

CEO, in a nutshell, is a leader, and leadership has no limit. If you want to be a Chief Executive Officer, you cannot just sit on your recliner and order your staff to do stuff for you.

In order to be a successful startup CEO, you have to play the roles of a Chief Visionary, Chief Cheerleader, Chief Salesman, Chief Funding Officer, Chief Communications Officer, Chief Team Builder, Chief Light-bulb Changer, or a Chief Coffee Maker.

It is the hardest job one ever does, therefore many startup entrepreneurs don’t straight away start with becoming the CEO of the organization they are about to build. Just because it is a lot to handle and if you are not yet ready, you should start from a lower designation, and to prove the point, let’s take John’ who is the CEO of a startup.

John’s morning starts at 5:00 AM when his alarm goes off. Feeling a bit lazy to put his feet on the floor, he gets up and goes downstairs to work out and start feeling good with the dose of endorphins and dopamine released from his brain. By 6:00 AM, he finishes exercising and steps into his personal space to shower and shave. While having his protein shake at the breakfast, John peeps into the newspaper to read something of his interest. Alongside, he is managing to read and answer some of the emails on his Smartphone. At 7:00 AM, he kisses his wife and his daughter goodbye and heads towards work.

At 7:45 AM, he reaches the office. Most of the time, he is the first one to arrive before his staff. While sitting at his cubicle at the center of the floor, he starts viewing and responding to the emails, send calendar-invite for meetings, checks priorities of the day and make some phone calls.

A meeting with a potential investor is scheduled for 9:00 AM. John does a final check of the presentation and finishes his coffee. The meeting starts and the investor makes a crude comment “I hate high-margin businesses”, after which John is pretty sure that there is no way that this man is going to invest in his business. Somehow, he manages to finish the presentation and meeting.

At 11:00 AM, John prepares for another operations meeting. The meeting goes well and he realizes that if his team is putting in so much effort then he needs to secure the funds so that they can be rewarded for their work and open up new avenues to generate income. After the meeting, he decides to take a walk around and casually meet some of the people working on the floor. The weather is cold, it is 75 degrees outside and John needs another cup of coffee.
At 1:00 PM, John gets a reminder about the Traffic meeting on his Smart watch. His PR staff updates him with the status of the traffic. He was happy to know that the IT campaigns that the outsourcing team launched is working great and generating excellent revenues.

At 3:00 PM, there was a company meeting scheduled. The meeting is about updating everyone with the status of fund-raising initiatives and the sales. His team had some brilliant questions and he had to answer all of them.

At 5:45 PM, he again checks his emails. There it was! He starts reading through the term sheet. They had mentioned a term which John did not like, and started murmuring: Why can’t anything be straightforward? Why? How are we going to solve this?” Now he had another problem to solve. While he was working on the issue along with another lead investor, he thought for a while and said to himself: I am responsible, as CEO, for the lives and well being of my employees and their families. It’s not about me. It’s about them. I have to find a way to sort this out as soon as possible.

At 7:00 PM, he packs up his briefcase and heads home. Traffic usually thins after 7 PM. He reaches home by 7:30 PM. He eats his dinner along with his wife and daughter. Then he spends some time helping his daughter in her homework.

At 9:15 PM, he checks is emails again and works on what is yet to be done. By 11:00 PM, he goes to bed knowing he will fall asleep quickly. However, the question is will he stay asleep.

As you can see the challenges in the life of a CEO of a startup are never-ending, and if you are not ready yet, try working on a single thing at a time. Hire someone to manage all these chores. When it comes to funding, nothing is easy. A CEO of a startup has to work much harder to ensure the continuous flow of necessary funds as well as in generating appropriate sources to make money from his business.

Life of Successful Manager

A Day in the Life of a CEO

  • Wake up and instill good spirit to start the day
  • Wear a Thinking Hat in shower
  • Get ready, eat and kiss goodbye to the love
  • Reach office, check the day’s schedule and respond to important emails
  • Meet prospects, discuss goals and network
  • Review status, call an in-house meeting, analyze results
  • Ideate with the team, assign new tasks and set deadlines
  • Emails, Skype chats, phone calls, and conference calls
  • Look at results, appreciate and send new directives
  • Leave for the day, socialize, and spend time with family and friends
  • Sleep to get ready for the new adventurous day after the sunrise


Typical 24-hour Life of a Startup CEO
Anup Mehrotra
Published on
February 14, 2019

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