A while back a young entrepreneur came up to me and asked, how do I manage to sleep at night, if there is so much risk on the table as an entrepreneur? Wasn’t I afraid of failing?
Well all of us have some fear of failing, but how much fear and whether the fear is enough to stop me in my tracks is what makes the difference. For me failure is not the end of the road; it’s just signal that I have to take a detour along the way. An entrepreneur’s career is very different from most peoples’ careers. There is no ladder to climb. Instead you start off on the first day at the top. When you register a company you become its director immediately. Compared to your peers who choose to work for a company, they have to go through the ranks and rise up in the company and perhaps become directors one day. You start off at that point from day one.
This is where you need to be careful. Some people take those titles too egoistically and they assume that they are on top of the world from day one. But true entrepreneurs know that they may have the title, but they need to earn its value.
The thing is to truly earn that title, you really have to put in those hours and do things others may not even think of doing. You have to work on the ground, sweep the floor, make sure every thing is packed right, every detail is right, and then stay up late at night, working on strategies to take over the world. The CEO of a startup plays both the factory worker role and the role of the boss (I remember the first day at my first company -UTAC office, I went shopping for stationaries, dustbins, etc).
Now what has that got to do with failure? Remember, everything you do, every step you take, and every single person you meet is a learning event. This journey is all about learning and applying. Learn that lesson today and remember it well. Your journey does not end when the company is closed down, it does not end if you lose all your money – it only ends if you decide it ends.
It would seem very weird, but if you look at Silicon Valley, you will see that other startups and corporations are hiring many failed entrepreneurs. In the Valley, failing is an important qualification to be funded by VCs. Many of these entrepreneurs would have shown that even though they failed, they have gotten up again and picked up from where they left off. They have come up more mature and educated from their past experiences, ready to take on the next challenge ahead.
Unlike a corporate ladder, an entrepreneurial career has many different ups and downs. It is the entrepreneur who has to learn to face the challenges and come out a more mature person at the end of it. An entrepreneur’s education is in journey taken and the failures they overcame.
Strive to be a more capable person, do not be afraid of failing the small tests along the way, instead look at the bigger picture and strive to achieve your dreams.