Does Failing With Multiple Startups Make a Person a Bad Entrepreneur?

Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.

When you win, what do you learn?

Nothing. Except maybe how to gloat. Shove something in someone’s face. Have a huge ego. Think you’re king of the world. Stuff like that.

Is that really learning anything?

I don’t know, but I personally don’t think it is.

When you lose, what do you learn?

How to be depressed. How to feel that you aren’t good enough. How to deal with defeat. Then, after time, you figure out how to not let it get to you.

Now, when you fail, what do you learn?

I don’t know what you learned, but I failed at multiple startups. There was this lead generation company. This entertainment company. This discount membership company. Then I worked at early stage real estate investment firms and mid staged investment funds after a restructure.

Sure, I felt horrible and hid under my bed, being as depressed as I could ever be. I felt like I was the biggest loser in the world. However, that only lasted for months at a time.

After I stopped beating myself up and feeling like I was completely worthless, this is what I learned.

I learned to trust my intuition. I learned how to live well below my means. I learned who I could trust. I learned how to communicate better with people. I learned how to make something from nothing. I learned how to sell products online. I learned how to optimize free resources. I learned how to write. I learned how to sense bad decisions before they occur.

I learned when to keep moving forward and when to drop something.  I learned how to lower my expectations, to the point where they are almost nonexistent, then I just put my head down and work. I learned that there are some things that will never be in my control. Most importantly, I learned how to dust myself off and pick myself back up again.

Personally, when I wrote my first Quora post on May 15, 2013, I had 88 views for the whole month on my one answer that no one cared about. (Please pretend you care about my first answer :] What are realistic ways for one to “become rich”?) Then had a total of 3,475 views for all of June, when I wrote my second post on June 20, 2013…

If you had told me that I would have over 10,000 views on my content each and every single day, I would tell you that you’re lying to my face.

If you told me that I would have 600,000 views in just the last 60 days without spending a dime, I would stare at you in disbelief, with my eyebrow raised. I never had a campaign get that kind of exposure.

I believed that it would be impossible. That there was no way that what I figured out in life had any value at all. They were just bad experiences, after all.

I was a nobody. I was this “bad” entrepreneur that you spoke of. Then, all of the sudden, things changed. In September alone, I picked up 667 followers, which pushed me over 1,000, in just 4.5 short months.

So, even though I still have no clue what I’m writing about, I just publicized out all my failures. Before I started writing, I felt that my life was kind of worthless.

Then I remembered what a friend of mine had once said. He said, “In life, no one is useless. You can always serve as a bad example.”

So, I figured, since I feel that I’m useless, why don’t I just be the bad example that people can learn from instead?

I guess people like learning from bad examples. So that is what attributes to my so called “current” success, where I’m raking in the views off my shortcomings. Raking in due to shortcomings. Who would’ve ever thought?

Well, anyway… The better question is, when you learn something, are you really “bad” at what you do?

That’s the real question to ponder over here…

Originally posted on Quora.

Leonard Kim is Managing Partner at InfluenceTree. At InfluenceTree, Leonard and his team teach you how to build your (personal or business) brand, get featured in publications and growth hack your social media following.


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