This story appears in the March 2021 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe ». I often say that starting a company is like jumping off a cliff and building an airplane on the way down. It’s a vivid metaphor that contains a lot of truths. First, you’ll need courage and optimism. You have to believe you can pull it off. Next, you’ll need ingenuity. Assembling a plane takes talent and skill, even under calm circumstances. In the chaotic rush of a death-defying plunge, you need agility. You need to react quickly. You need to be calm under pressure. You need to find the plunge exhilarating.