Q&A: I failed. Again (and again). What […] am I supposed to do now?

If you saw the above posted in a forum, how would you answer it? Media, blogs, and pundits have continually proclaimed that entrepreneurship is a long, lonely, tough journey and getting your start-up off the ground is a gut-wrenching experience on a good day.
But what happens if it all comes to an end? 

You can read the rest of it hereI’ve excerpted from the post and added my thoughts below.

I’m exhausted and broke. I need a job. But am I even deserving of one?
Absolutely, but maybe not yet. The author above has been on a roller coaster ride for the past two years. Besides exhaustion, they’re most likely burned out from the experience. While I’m not advocating maxing out one’s credit cards, this person should give themselves a break to clear their head.

I can hack stuff together, but am I a good enough developer for a Silicon Valley startup?
The first question I would ask is: do you want to be a developer? The author should start by making a list of all the skills they’ve acquired over their two years and rate them by likes/dislikes and strengths/weaknesses. Does it still equate to a developer job? There are other opportunities where having developer skills are a bonus (or required) – program/product management, evangelism, etc.

Conversely, the author could also take on consulting work to see what type of projects and industries would be the best fit.

I have no investor network to fall back on.
Ok, but what other networks does the author have? Take a look around and leverage who you do know and in what sectors.

I thought I knew what it took to be successful.
The concept of success isn’t black and white. Is the author defining it by the fact that he didn’t have a high-dollar exit at either of his companies? If that was the metric, then no. However, the author was mostly likely “successful” in other areas: expanding their knowledge capabilities in team-building, hands-on running of a business, product planning and development. These skills build with experience to propel you toward your next venture. Just because something went awry, doesn’t mean it can’t be learned from and turned into an opportunity.

What the heck am I supposed to do now?
Well, since very few get paid for sitting around and navel-gazing, take some time to breathe. Step back, assess what you’ve gained from the experience over the past two years, and create a few options about where to head next.

The upside to the author’s situation is that at least there are options, and recognizing what those are and where to best use them is a pretty powerful tool in itself. 

One defines oneself by reinvention” – Henry Rollins

How would you have responded?






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