Never Give up, Fail Early, Fail Often: An Open Letter to Entrepreneurs

Three reasons why you should never give up if you're passionate about your end goal.

It’s been said that, “The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure (Eriksson).”

Intuitively if you want to succeed, you must be prepared to fail.

Only if it were that simple. Right?

I recently spoke with a friend who has been excited about his startup possibilities for quite a long time. Longer than he’d probably like to admit. But for one reason or another he has experienced ‘failure to launch.’ It’s a frustrating situation where someone has potential but not enough momentum or resources to move ideas, plans and actions forward. It’s a point of conflict.

From observation, it’s almost as if all he needed from life was a little “push” towards success.

However, more often than not, life’s “pushes” toward success are cloaked in conflict, which breeds a fear of failure.

Points of conflict come in many forms.

Financial challenges creep in unnoticed, business is a bit slower than usual, and you can’t physically cash the check that ‘startup popularity’ writes. These types of conflicts can send entrepreneurs into a state of free fall.  Suddenly, the nudge meant to propel you into success leaves you frustrated and in a state of vertigo with dream-paralysis.

It’s at the point of conflict — whether you’re at seed, early-stage, growth or maturity in business — that you’re faced with the hardest question, “Should I give up and quit?”

My answer is, “No.”


Dirty Little Secrets of Success

In fact, I hope you will choose to succeed.

But to succeed, you must become acquainted with failure.

Every successful entrepreneur and small business has failed at some point when conflict arose. But it did not stop them from becoming a success. “Y Combinator founder Paul Graham recently told NPR that startup founders are ‘connoisseurs of failure, experts in both avoiding it and living with it.'”

The dilemma is that the startup world is obsessed with stories of success. Very few people discuss a Founder’s failure and shortcomings; their biggest challenges or how they stay motivated in business.

Those of us that have failed on the road to success know the ‘dirty little secrets.’ Such as:

  • Comparison is futile. Popularity does not denote profitability
  • There’s no growth in the comfort zone. Abandoning your comfort zone will produce quite a bit of discomfort
  • Miscalculations and pivots are inevitable. Most, if not all, successful companies failed and pivoted their way to success


3 Reasons Why You Should Never Give Up

When you understand the full scope of what success entails (including the not-so-sexy secrets), you’re better equipped for the rewarding and challenging road ahead.

So, if your business is faced with conflict and a fear of failure creeps in I challenge you to keep going if you’re truly passionate about your end goal.

Life will give every entrepreneur a thousand reasons to give up on something. For some it’s a series of really bad days, for others it’s a co-founder that bailed, or endless grinding for months with profitability not yet in sight.


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