Failing vs quitting: an entrepreneur lays out the difference

Failing vs quitting: an entrepreneur lays out the difference

Friday March 04, 2016,

4 min Read

I have failed several times but I have never quit.

People asked me why I closed down my startup. They said persistence is key for success and I should have waited for the results. They advised me not to quit so early when we decided to shut down my startup in the first year itself.

I knew that I was not quitting. Losing a battle does not mean losing the war.

I was not quitting my entrepreneurial journey. I just realised that I got into the wrong business, at the wrong time, with some wrong people. So, I decided to take the financial and emotional hit of failure of the startup. It was an epic failure. A case study, that has been published in Quartz and YourStory.

Failure in my first business was the best thing that happened to my startup career.

winners never quit

Also readNo one is telling you the dark side of becoming an entrepreneur

The failure made me stronger and more conscious about doing business. I was stressed out for two months, thinking about the money that I had saved in five years lost in one year and worrying about the future of my six-month-old baby. We burnt the midnight oil in building our product and hustled to enroll the first few customers. Everything became useless in no time.

Trust me, there is always a light after the dark night. Luckily, I met with a lot of like-minded people who guided me for the next level of entrepreneurship.

Early failures whilst starting up are like wartime scars. The real learning does not happen in gurukul but when you fight with the real enemy. That is the difference between doing an MBA and running a startup.

My startup was not the first failure of my life

I encountered my first failure in my school when I switched to English medium (from Hindi). I was good at science and math but the sudden change in the language I learnt them made it very difficult to understand the concepts. Whatever concepts I was able to understand I found it difficult to express in English. But I took the challenge because I wanted to become an engineer and English was the primary requirement for my success.

I kept on failing in exams and fellow students started bullying me for my decision. It took me two years to come back in the game. I successfully cleared my board exams with decent marks, more than 90percent in both subjects.

Failures became my friend at each stage of my life. I failed in school, my entrance examination, in college, in placements, and in my love life.

But I never quit the ground and bounced back with more power. I got more than what I have expected. I got admission in the best State university, best campus job, and a loving life partner.

Related read: Everything you heard about ‘Passion in startup’ is wrong

What is the difference between failing and quitting?

Consider early failures as stepping stones to success. Failures will happen in life, you don’t have controlover them. But if you quit you will miss the ride and excitement of the journey. There is no point in returning to your comfort zone. It is but a safe place where there is no fear of failure, no threat, no danger.

After you fail, you should look for the reasons why you failed. You should make yourself a promise to not repeat your mistakes. You should try new things where you may fail again, but you should never quit the game.

People who quit make their decision out of fear. Fear of another failure, fear of uncertainly, fear of darkness. You should look at the bigger picture and take a conscious decision about your next step. Think about the core reasons why you started something which you eventually failedat. Don’t get distracted from your journey just because you missed the bus. You can always find another way to accomplish your mission.