At that time, I was impatient for results, arrogant about my abilities, and short-tempered about little misses. I had huge expectations for the first year of my venture and massive goals for the years after.
Then the journey began…
6 months into the venture
Before I could blink, six months had gone by since the start of my web development business. It was a complete mess. My business partner and I were struggling to generate revenue, while our expenses were increasing. On the brighter side, I had learned that running a business was not as simple as I assumed. The harsh truth struck me that excelling at the technical aspect did not make a venture successful.
During the first few months, I had pushed team members to their limits to achieve results. The monster within was showing his true colors. My impatience left me angry, and the employees frustrated. My approach to success did not help in achieving better results. It only made things worse.
After paying attention to the feedback of mentors and other entrepreneurs, I accepted a few of my mistakes. I made hundreds of them but admitted only a handful. I understood that I could not allow my emotions to affect my team. I started learning the right way to motivate and bring out the best in them.
Given my limited knowledge and experience, I had a long distance to cover. While I improved a bit, the arrogance within me had gone nowhere. I was still confident that I could turn everything around and achieve my target. I thought, “If Mark Zuckerberg built a massive business in his 20s, so can I.”
1 year after the venture began
A year later, my goals and reality were like two opposite poles of a magnet. We had improved our knowledge as a team, had more clients, and even made reasonable progress overall, yet I was far from achieving the results I desired.
Make no mistake, I had not lost enthusiasm. The desire for success was just as strong as it was day one, but my mindset had shifted. It happened not as a eureka moment, but when I looked back on my journey. The goals I had set were monstrous, but I had no plan to achieve them.
After some pondering and soul searching, I understood that I could dream as big as I’d like. I could aim for the moon and the stars. But I needed a realistic plan to get there and the patience to see it through.
Two years after the venture started
I realized that my current plan would not fetch me the results I wanted. So I started chasing fresh product ideas as an offshoot to the core business. I experienced failure, one after another. I thought luck was against me. No matter what I tried, success eluded me.
After the first couple of failures, I pulled my hair, complained, and whined. I blamed other people, the market, the customers, or the circumstances. Over time, I accepted that I had to improve.
Failure was like working out. The first few times, it hurt down to the bone. After some time, not only did I feel less pain, but my failures had stopped bothering me as much. As a result, it calmed my temper. I had also become better at dealing with people and understanding that everyone has their own pace, style, and approach to work. Expecting people to think and act like me was a waste of time. I stopped pinning my failures on other people.
Over the last decade, I have tried many product ideas and failed. I do not feel a tad bit ashamed speaking about it. I have learned many lessons that helped me improve in life.
Ultimately, I stand here today, patient and calm. I am also more open-minded, humble, and considerate. Though I show my old characteristics occasionally, they are exceptions rather than my true nature. If I went into a time machine, traveled a decade back, and told my younger self, this is you in 10 years, he would exclaim, “You’re drunk. Go home.”
Entrepreneurship has made me a wiser person. I look at success now as a marathon, not a sprint. If I run faster than I can handle, I’d collapse in no time. I have also stopped pursuing one random idea after another, hoping for one of them to click. I have gained the patience to learn skills, the maturity to understand people and the perseverance to obtain the results.
As for my quest for success, I still have the same hunger I had on the day I began. Will I achieve what I am aiming for? I don’t know. The hunt is still on.
About the Author
Maxim Dsouza is a self-improvement blogger who has over a decade of experience with start-ups. He has been part of multiple failed business start-ups and learned many valuable lessons the hard way. He shares what he has learned on his blog Productive Club, focusing on productivity, time management, entrepreneurship, and cognitive biases.