Everybody is dreaming of their startup, being the next Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg or the like. I just want to mention a point I think is important when considering pouring all your time, money and energy into your idea.
Would you survive it all going to hell? Some time ago I shared two blog posts about failed startups. The founders stories were quite interesting and this is a question you should ask yourself, both in your private and professional life when making decisions.
When making a promise to a business associate, customer, investor, co-worker, boss, partner, could you still look them in the eyes after not delivering?
Could you lose your company or just not get the promotion you were hoping for without breaking down? If you would break in case something fails, you need to make yourself aware that it’s all a game of chances. Not taking business personal, but as a gamble on chances, where you just put in hard work is actually a fantastic mindset, Joel from Buffer blogged about this a while ago: The Habits of Successful People: Thinking in Ratios.
I think we all understand that we might not get a 100% success rate on everything we do. In fact, in most cases it is far lower. For myself, I think I have struggled to fully comprehend this.
No matter how hard we work, we just need to accept that we’re not going to control 100% of any situation and there are things out of our power. We can just make the chances for success as high as possible and deal with failures well. If you decide you only are going to work on something with optimal conditions, you might as well quit. If you don’t dare to start writing an app or signing up for an internship with a 300€ shit laptop, are you really good enough if you think you just need better hardware? I don’t think so.
John Saddington quoted wonderfully from the Turning Pro book recently:
The professional knows better. … Athletes play hurt. Warriors fight scared. The professional takes two aspirin and keeps on truckin’.
Failing is something that is going to happen frequently to you, you will be refused, lose nerves and money on situations. As long as this doesn’t happen to you more often than it doesn’t, that’s fine. Just have a look at what celebrities or giant companies deal with in bad press and still come out writing black numbers!
A year ago I certainly wouldn’t have been able to take such a fall, to quit my day job and go all in on writing code or books or making videos. Basically a year ago I was still recovering from a bigger crash.
Right now it’s more about benefits, drawbacks, priorities and safety nets. Be sure to getting legal terms straight, budgets and lots of planning. Having people around you that question you helps a lot with all this, they ground you, question your too crazy ideas and give you input from all their experience.
What’s your take on this? Could you take your company going down or losing a big deal without moving back to your parents? How much does professional defeat spill back into your personal life?