Failure is inevitable. Not all business ideas succeed. Some good ideas fail because of timing, execution, or lack of funding. Nevertheless, the fear of failure regardless of laudatory platitudes are painful after one month and twenty years. Building my businesses took me from living in my car to a very successful life. It took nearly twenty years of most constant work to do so. Was it worth it? I’m not sure. But here I am. Below are tips worth learning:
I’m convinced that founders need to be absolutely crazy to start a company. It’s not the long hours or instability that makes it tough, it’s the soul-grinding lows that puts the founder in a constant existential crisis with no relief in sight.
If you ever find yourself in one of these low points, it helps to remember you are not alone. Ben Horowitz, who sold Opsware to HP for $1.6 billion, talks about “The Struggle.” Elon Musk suffered through deep depression when Tesla, now worth about $20 billion, was near bankruptcy in 2008.
Victor Hugo put it best in Les Miserables: “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” As entrepreneurs, we set out on our journey with a certainty of darkness. It is how we manage ourselves during these downtimes that are critical to our success.
A few years ago I had a job as an innovations manager at an advertising agency. My days were spent trying out various “intrapreneurial” projects, while my nights were filled with personal entrepreneurial experiments. The project that I ended up settling on was a niche do-it-yourself blog targeted towards suburban housewives called DIY Weekender. We featured interesting home projects and craft ideas that you couldn’t find on some of the larger DIY sites. […]
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