By Anna Vital (Co-Founder, Vash; Founder, Funders & Founders)
You might think that entrepreneurs never give up by nature. That’s true to an extent. Bumps sometimes get the best of us. We don’t talk about that much in Silicon Valley, but the question of giving up is quite real. How do you deal with what Paul Graham says feels like “someone punches you in the face”?
#1 – Stay alive. As long as you are alive, anything is still possible.
#2 – Lower your expectations.
Most successes are not overnight successes. It’s the job of every PR company hired by a newly successful startup to make that startup look like an overnight success. You hear things like, “They just hacked this in a couple nights on the weekend, and a week later got a million users” or “it was just a hobby they were doing on the side, but then one day the site crashed because of traffic.”
Some of these stories are true, but for most of them – you will never know the whole story. Guessing how others succeed is wasting your time. Paul Graham warns every batch of founders at Y Combinator that only 1% of them will experience success really fast. What ends up happening is founders all expect they will be that 1%. You can work for it. But you can’t expect it. Lower your expectations.
#3 – Remember that you are stronger than you think.
At times, you might privately think to yourself that you can’t handle the pressure. You have to persist. And just doing the same thing is not enough. You must try different things before you learn what works. Let’s say of the 99 things you have tried, nothing works well. Will you try the 100th thing? If you think about it, the 99 failures have almost no bearing on the success of the following one, as long as you trying different things.
#4 – Fake it.
Fake success. Everyone does. You should as well. Don’t lie, but act as if you already succeeded. It makes a difference.
#5 – Don’t compare yourself to people who already succeeded.
You really don’t know their full story. Even if you think you know, you don’t.
After you have done all of this, you will fall into the dip. It’s the lowest point in your whole journey, a hopeless-looking place that comes right before success – Seth Godin wrote a entire book about it. If this sounds like baseless motivational talk, think again. When you fall really low, take a bunch of risks and fail people around you, you have nothing to lose – and that is exactly the time you are likely to take you biggest risk and possibly succeed.
Most people who look at this infographic think that they are stuck in the dip. The trick is that if you are stuck, you have to keep moving. And sometimes that means going back to square one.
Women 2.0 readers: Like these infographics on entrepreneurship? Kickstart Anna Vital’s infographic book on entrepreneurship.
About the guest blogger: Anna Vital is a co-founder of Vash.co and founder of Funders and Founders, a San Francisco-based startup promoting startupization. She has been an entrepreneur since age 14 when she opened her fist business, a test-prep school. After attending Brigham Young in Utah, she attended law school in Nanjing, China. She speaks Mandarin Chinese, English and Russian. In her ideal world, everyone from moms to engineers to executives will do startups. Follow her on Twitter at @vitalhack.