Startup Tuesday: How to Handle Your First Startup Failure

Posted by on June 25, 2013 in Business Management, Startups [ 0 Comments ]

Startup Success TipsThe startup life isn’t for everyone. It is a life full of ups and downs. If you are someone that cares more about job security than freedom, then entrepreneurship isn’t for you. However, if you want freedom and to live the life you have always wanted, then the life of an entrepreneur might just be your calling. However, before venturing in, you need to know what to expect – and that is failure. The fact is that most entrepreneurs fail their first time and it can devastate the spirit and motivation so much that some don’t ever bounce back. But, it doesn’t have to be the end of your road to entrepreneurship. As Randy Pausch once said, “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They are there to stop the other people.” So if you want to succeed at your business bad enough, you will learn to bounce back from your first startup failure. So how exactly do you do that? Here’s three tips to help.

Related: Startup Tuesday: How to Hire For Your New Business

Know that You Are Not Alone

As previously mentioned, most entrepreneurs fail at their first startup. Actually, most entrepreneurs fail at their first few startups before building a successful business. For every one Mark Zuckerberg, there are literally thousands like Omar Hamoui. Omar Hamoui is the founder of AdMob, the mobile advertising company that was sold to Google in 2010. Omar Hamoui failed at multiple startups before successfully offloading AdMob to Google for the price of $750 million.

If you’ve failed at your startup, know that you’re in good company. The fact that you’re trying to chase your dream already sets you apart from the countless others that are just grinding it out for that paycheck every two weeks. That you failed at your first few startups is normal and  part of the process of learning and building on your future success. This has been the road paved for entrepreneurship for hundreds of years and it won’t change anytime soon.

Related: Get your startup off the ground with a small business loan from one of our vendors. 

Develop Grit

Too much importance is placed on spatial and logical intelligence in the business and tech worlds. However, what truly sets an entrepreneur apart from everyone else is not intelligence; it’s grit. Grit is a personality trait based on your passion, determination, resilience, and motivation for your long-term goals. It is the ability to see things through to the end and to persevere through major setbacks. You need grit in order to survive in the business world and you will need it most when your first startup fails, exhausting you emotionally and physically. Grit will make you rise again.

So how do you go about developing grit? The simplest answer is to face challenges head on and to do things that make you uncomfortable. So, try to make that cold call to get past the fear of rejection. Speak at that conference to get past your fear of public speaking. Go voice your unpopular opinion to get past your fear of being judged. The more you go through, the fewer things will scare and bother you. The more challenges you face, the hardier and grittier you get.

Related: Why Do Startups Fail? Debunking the Myths

Learn from Your Failure

This last point is supremely important if you are to succeed with your next startup. If you do not learn anything from your failure, you will be a perpetual failure. So when your startup folds, take a moment to gather your thoughts and think about what you have learned through the whole ordeal. Then, apply the lessons learned to the next startup and make sure you do not repeat the same mistakes. As the saying goes, “Insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.”(Tweet this quote!)

As an entrepreneur, it is a given that you will encounter setbacks and hardships. But it is how you respond to the hardships that ultimately defines you and your business. So the next time there is a bump along the road to startup success, remember the three points above. Good luck!

Author Bio: Felix Tarcomnicu is a regular contributor on There he writes tips and articles for job seekers. 

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