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My Startup Failed & This Is What I Learned.

failure-fight

Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.
Morihei Ueshiba

Exactly 2 years and 1 month back I took a leap of faith and decided to quit my job to start on my own. I was all charged up at the thought of becoming an entrepreneur. For days I could not sleep properly as I was so excited about my business idea and its potential growth. Thought of impact I could make as an entrepreneur and the roller coaster ride that I was about to take made me mad at times.

I made elaborate plans at every front. I used to brainstorm like a mad scientist with my wife and friends. What should be the product, how should it look, how we will sell it and monetize it, how we will grow it? Questions were endless and so were the answers.

I used to drown in emotional sea of doubts, hope and fear through out the day. With in few weeks I started working on the product and lo and behold I had a working product very soon.

It caught eye of users early with some initial success and adoption. This made me even more hopeful and excited about its potential. I worked like 15-16 hours a day continuously. I started churning out new features on a daily basis with little to no thought on impact and ROI.

I hoped that with more features, people would like the product and it would in turn help me find investors and revenues. I made elaborate plans on product, technology and marketing  but each plan was not perfect with lots of assumptions. I was spreading too thin and ultimately the worst happen.

You guessed it right, I had no energy left to focus  on anything. I was bootstrapping so far and with only few months of savings left, I had no option but to close everything.

Sometimes I look back now and reflect on my entrepreneurial journey (of few months though). Over the period of time, after many retrospection’s, I have learned few good lessons which I would like to share with you all.

1. Take risks. You will come out stronger

I risked a well paying job to start a venture with no revenues. I invested my hard earned money into operations. I lost money. But I gained a lot. Not in terms of money but in terms of valuable experience, respect, network and huge self confidence in myself.

I got real life experience of running a business, managing finances, operations, product development, marketing and of course learned a hell lot of about technology.

Since I was working alone, I had to learn a lot of stuff on my own to get things done. I read whatever I could find over internet to get stuff running. I grew manifold with in few months as compared to personal growth I had achieved in day job. My problem solving skills improved and I could take decision like a businessman.

All this risk helped me find a job where I lead a bigger role and contributed immensely towards the growth of company. It is now more than 2 years and I continue to utilize my entrepreneurial experience in my personal and professional role for the betterment of one and all.

You can’t get anywhere in life without taking risks.
Esme Bianco

2. Focus on few things. You will grow faster.

Most of us focus on too many things at any given point of time. Our energies are spent in achieving too many goals. However the result is we are not able to achieve anything.

I was working on too many things at any time. I planned lot of features in parallel and started working on them. But none of the feature was perfect in itself.

Similarly my energies were spread over marketing, finance, product, technology as well as networking with investors and other entrepreneur. There was no sense of priority and focus. I wanted to do everything at once. Focus and patience was missing.

Same thing happens with us on a daily basis in our work and personal life. We try to do a lot simultaneously but the end result is zero. We go 1 inch deep and 3 mile wide, while we should focus on going 1 inch wide and 3 mile deep.

Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus – Alexander Graham Bell

3. Do not worry. It is not over till it’s over.

During the time I was running the venture, I kept on worrying about lot of things. What if my people do not like my product? What if there is no revenue? What if all my savings are gone? What if I do not get a job?           and so on….

But worry does not help any one. It only takes your energy and focus away from you. You get into an end less cycle of worry, doubt and fear.

When I look back, I feel that I used to worry for no reason. Though venture did not work well, but overall it was a great experience and everything worked well in the end. Life is a roller coaster ride.

Sometimes you win, sometimes you loose. But that’s the only way to grow and move higher up. Ultimately there are no failure’s but only lessons to be learned for success ahead.

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
Thomas A. Edison

These are three most important lessons I have learnt so far along with hundred’s of  other things which life taught me during those entrepreneurial days. Though the lessons are learnt but I am trying hard to implement them in my daily life.

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[Guest article by Lokesh Gupta.]

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