The long haul in entrepreneurship

August 30, 2020

I had an hour-long conversation yesterday talking to a fellow entrepreneur who quit the adventure and took a job. He was curious to know what I had done differently to arrive at a positive outcome.

My first reaction was to tell him that this is not my first attempt.

I've tried building a company twice before and failed miserably. I even tried building a breakfast delivery business in 2015 (I had no idea what I was doing back then) and I made ₹85,000 in revenue before I shut it down.

SuperLemon is actually my fourth attempt. Sankalp and I did just enough things right this time (or avoided just enough mistakes) to make the business work.

The journey to reaching here was long, filled with doubt internally and from everyone around me, even frustrating and hopeless at times.

Out of all the things we talked during the call, the three things that stood out to me were:

1- I kept trying again and again

If something didn't work, I would find a job to save up and try again as soon as I have a year's worth of runway and a strong enough conviction about the idea.

As of today, I don't see any other path in life but building businesses.

2- I knew when to quit

When things weren't working out no matter our best effort, clearly there was something wrong. I spent 12 months on my second venture before realising there's no market demand.

But I quit my third venture (right before SuperLemon) in about 4 months when it was obvious to me that it wasn't going to work.

3- Introspect

After every attempt or failure, I would spend between 1-3 months in intense introspection of what went wrong.

This wasn't an exercise to beat myself up over it, but rather to learn what I need to do differently the next time for things to work out more favourably.

If you're a budding entrepreneur

I don't recommend this path to anyone unless they are willing to take all the pain and failures, learn from them, and try again with the hope to eventually get it right.

Quit sooner than later when something isn't working, but only if you've understood why it won't work.

Ask always yourself if you're in it for the long haul. Otherwise you might as well quit right now.

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