Should I give up on my failing startup?
I’m currently 25 years old. About 2 years ago (at the age of 23), I quit my job and started a company with two friends. I dedicated a lot of time and hard work to it. I used to code 12 – 15 hours daily. 6 days a week. And sometimes on weekends as well.
After 7 months into the business, we still didn’t pocket any cash personally. We were surviving on personal savings. Whatever income we made got used up in expenses. Our product (an app) didn’t work as expected because we made a few mistakes along the way. Being young and inexperienced, we assumed a few things which didn’t work out so well. A couple of months after this, a falling out happened between me and the other 2 partners. I discovered that they were planning to remove me from the company sooner or later since they felt I was the bottleneck.
I quit the company I founded before they could tell me to. I had already lost all say in anything in the company since those two had teamed up. I decided it was best to leave. I was pretty depressed and sad. Apart from the fact that after putting in so much time and hard work in the company, I wasn’t appreciated at all, I also felt really hard leaving something that I started with a vision and dream.
Soon after this, I got myself together and started a second business with another friend of mine. Worked hard again for one year. This person is really close to me and we communicate very well.
However currently, the business isn’t doing well at all. It’s been one year and we are not even break-even. We haven’t taken salaries since we started. All my personal savings are used up. My friend has lost hope completely and gone into depression. I’m still a little more stable than him though despite “almost-two” failures. But I cannot do this alone. I have tried to motivate him and myself as well. It’s too hard without any income to support us.
I cry myself to sleep everyday. I am completely heart-broken. When I look at other youngsters’ successes, I feel very sad I couldn’t achieve it… and what if I can never achieve it? It is my dream. And my life’s aim.
I don’t know if I should quit. I have put my heart and soul into both the companies and suffered two huge blows. I am losing hope in life. I worked for two years without earning a single penny. I am burning out now. My biggest fear in life was that I’ll just end up living a normal life like most people.
I don’t have the mind-set at all to get into a normal job. I don’t even know if I will get one now. I have two empty years in my CV.
Is there any hope? Should I try to revive this business? I want to do it… but I need some expert advice.
I don’t know what should I do and how should I do it. I have read a lot of self development books. Maybe that’s the only thing that’s keeping me somewhat stable.
My parents are not supportive. They want me to get a job and live a normal life. I feel alone and a failure… I still don’t want to quit, but I’m burning out and out of money.
We both are confused and going into depression. We even discussed to “lease” the company to someone while still being the owners and get into a job ourselves temporarily to earn some cash.
Any advice will mean a lot to me in this tough time. Thanks a lot guys.
Yes. Give up on this idea and find a new idea. Find 10 new ideas to try. Start by reading this post by James Altucher: How To Become An Idea Machine.
Then take a day to do something you’ve never done before – could be a simple hike at a local nature trail. Take a free salsa class. Write an editorial to your local paper about a topic you care deeply about. Go to the movies. Visit a retirement home with flowers and balloons to decorate the common area.
Alter your thinking pattern for just a few hours. It will do wonders for your mental state. It sounds like you need to refresh your brain a little. And while you’re reading the post recommended above, find a few more by James. His incredibly useful for these situations.
“I have put my heart and soul into both the companies and suffered two huge blows.”
Listen to the audio program “The Power of Myth: Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers.” Campbell described the “Hero’s Journey.” For every hero, the path to success follows a discernible patter. Consider yourself the hero on this journey right now.
Watch this motivational video on YouTube:
“My biggest fear in life was that I’ll just end up living a normal life like most people.”
“When I look at other youngsters’ successes, I feel very sad I couldn’t achieve it… and what if I can never achieve it?”
There is no normal. The only person you should compare yourself to is you.
Sit down with a blank sheet of paper and write down all of the things you’ve accomplished in the past year. What problems have your overcome with your businesses? How have you grown as a person? When did you help someone that needed it? What books have you read? Who have you met?
Have a Sales Question?
Grab a time to chat with Scott here.
Everyone wants to think there’s a secret person ranking in this world that you’re supposed to climb. It doesn’t exist. The only thing that exists is your ability to capture your own happiness.
Remember there is an incredible amount of luck that goes into success. Or time. At age 25, you’re just getting started.
“I have two empty years in my CV.”
You started two companies. You’ve poured your life and effort into ideas that you deeply believed would be successful. Anyone that can’t appreciate what you’ve been through in the past two years and how you would contribute to their company isn’t worth working with.
And if you do need to get a day job, so what? Do that for a year to rebuild. I’m willing to bet you can do your day job work in 15-20 hours a week, then spend the rest of your time trying new ideas.
“I don’t have the mind-set at all to get into a normal job.”
Then don’t. Hire yourself out on oDesk for $25/hour. Looks for projects on Mechanical Turk. Go to a tech-focused Meetup group and find a non-technical company founder who needs tech help. Sit down and spend two hours a day networking on LinkedIn and Twitter for the 1-2 unique abilities you have. Maybe you’re a really good Ruby coder. Maybe you’re a fantastic data engineer. Maybe you’re great at mobile app development. I don’t know your unique ability, but you do. Think about, ask your friends what it is, then network like crazy telling everyone how awesome you are at that one thing and you will have more opportunities than you know what to do with.
Or call me. I need help with my business.
**This Q&A article was originally posted on Quora. Check out Scott’s Quora page here.