You must learn how to deal with failure to be a successful entrepreneur. It is not possible. Thomas Edison had more than 10,000 experiments before the first light bulb was finally demonstrated on October 21, 1879. Traf-O-Data was a failure of Bill Gates’ first enterprise. Once quoted Michael Jordan: “In my career, I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots. Nearly 300 games I’ve lost. I have been hoping to take a winning game shot 26 times and missed. In my life, I’ve failed repeatedly. And I’m succeeding for that.”
I’ve failed more than I can count in my short period as an entrepreneur. I’ve had my share of success, too, but it isn’t nearly equal. The failures are significantly higher than the successes, and I am sure I am farther ahead. I’m okay, as I know I stop trying to innovate as soon as I stop failing. It is the nature of the undertaking and the success in general.
All would do it if it were easy. It’s naive to think that every good idea you have leads to a good company. “Every single idea I get seems to work” I have yet to hear a businessman say. More likely, you hear something like, “After this, I did not work in my first five businesses.”
Think a second about it. Five companies. Sometimes it is three, sometimes 20, but what is important is that a majority of business people don’t run their first business at home. It surprises me really – how many people have five times the stones that fail and still start the 6th company? You have to be highly trusting and treat the past five times as a sixth learning experience. And if the Sixth fails, you must do the same and move to the Sixth.
In my opinion, how you deal with failure is the most important thing. You can learn from your mistakes and go on when you accept this is inevitable. It is easy to let the failure consume you – not so much because you are pessimistic, but because something you have thrown away from your heart and soul is difficult to see. You need to realize as soon as possible that your company is NOT what you ignore or reject. As soon as you do so, you can objectively analyze why you have failed and learn the things you need to improve in the future.
Failure is not easy and frustrates greatly, but a necessary component of success. Don’t believe me? Don’t you believe me? Please ask Thomas Edison or Michael Jordan or Bill Gates! All right, asking Thomas Edison may be a bit hard, but the idea is yours.