A failed entrepreneur doesn’t exist in my opinion. Either you are entrepreneur or you are not. Entrepreneurship is not a job title, but an endeavor. How far you succeed in your endeavor is what counts and if you are very successful, count yourself lucky.
There is always this culture of this and that – Silicon Valley and something else. Silicon Valley makes you wear failure as a badge of honour whereas India shuns failure to demeaning levels of existence. If you think you aren't taking risk, you are wrong. Your parents have taken more risks than you. With eternal optimism of seeing you score brilliantly, they have taken you from one school to another, they have tried great teachers and wasted all their savings on your education. Still you score low enough grades in engineering that a campus interview wasn't available for you. Now, are you a failure to your parents? Do they shun you at this point and ask you fend for yourself? No.
Teachers are greatest risk takers ever. In a class of 100, they think all the hundred should pass the course they teach. They arm themselves with guides, tricks, and engagement of your attention to drive home their objective. But if 50 out of the 100 fail, is the teacher a success or a failure?
You and your friend go on a trekking expedition and you go unprepared and get exhausted in the middle of it and come back. Are you a success or a failure? You are a failure if you don’t complete it better prepared the next time and you are a success if you attempt it second time or multiple times and succeed.
Why are entrepreneurs labelled success and failure? Because they don’t get fired in a corporate job. And if you are fired, are you a success or failure? Because they don’t do the same things over and over again and expect the same results. If you do same things again and again, are you a success or failure?
Entrepreneurs rely on their business to live and live either gloriously or fall to suboptimal levels. No entrepreneur is a failure the same way the parents are not a failure, the teacher is not a failure, your friend not finishing trekking is not a failure or you getting fired from corporate job is a failure.
It is a convenient label we throw on people who haven’t seen money in the first year or in two years, haven’t found people and opportunities in a reasonable time, or didn't do this or that.
If you fall down, you don’t die. A slip or a minor setback shouldn't really bother you if you are bent on staying an entrepreneur. It is not the failure that counts so much but how you negotiate and turn it around.
Don’t consider yourself a failure if you pivot, change course, and are willing to learn. And see what it means to be a success. Nobody is born successful.
Some chase success, some become successful, some have success thrust upon them. You better be one of them and reject the term failure or failed entrepreneur.
There is never a day without a dawn. There is never a world without hope. Failure is a stop and not a destination.
-Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy, chief evangelist