A few months ago, my startup went up in flames because of Covid-19. Two months ago, I was sulking and feeling like a total loser, swearing off entrepreneurship and startups because "this is stupid, and I'm not cut out for this." A month ago, my friend who co-created the previous startup called me up. Yesterday, we launched Recoon, our community for beginner podcasters, on Product Hunt.
Here are the 5 lessons I learned about getting back up:
You're really not that important. No. Seriously. I had to learn this. I was ashamed and embarrassed that something I built failed, even if the reason was outside of my control. EMBARRASSED? As if there are hundreds of people thinking about my failure 24/7. You're not that important.
When they say "fail 10 time, get back up 11" - they don't mention the part where it f*cking hurts. And sometimes, you need recovery time. Let it be. Crying in the shower. Not crying. Being over productive or sulking. That's all up to you. Do whatever you want to do. It's your big "shit day / week / month" time.
Mr. Wonderful's quote of "sometimes you just have to take your idea behind the barn and shoot it" is brutally correct. We, as founders, sometimes become so solution obsessed, we don't realize the glaring problem areas we've missed. We get carried away. It's very, very, very difficult not to - between finding investors, creating the 923843 version of your pitch deck, designing and developing the product - there's practically 0 time left to "dig deep". Sometimes, the market screams no, but you take that as a challenge. And like a good student of Lean Startups or whatever other "holy-godly" startup help book you read, you chose to fight through those hurdles. Learn to differentiate between something being difficult vs. painfully, heart-wrenchingly, doesn't-make-sense difficult.
Not everyone is smarter than you or knows better. I truly believed that. Which ended with me accepting and implementing everyones contradicting advice. Should you have 10 slides or 8 for a pitch deck? Should the team slide go first or last? Should you raise money now or leave it for later? Everyone and their mom has an opinion. Only take the advice from people who have actually done what you're hoping to achieve. Would you listen to a carpenter about how to fix your motor? Probably not.
While it's definitely not an easy journey, remember to have fun. This one I truly struggled with. I stopped having fun the minute things got serious. Re point #1 - not taking myself too seriously. You quit your job for a reason. This journey appealed to you for a reason. Yeah, sure, "stability" sounds really great right about now. Try and remember why you chose to take this journey. Remind yourself of this when things get exhausting.