As the quarter comes to a close, so comes a time to reflect on what I’ve learned in class. During each class session, we had the opportunity to hear from amazing, passionate, and insightful entrepreneurs in the local Seattle community. Brent Stiefel shared his story of founding a record label (artists include The Lumineers and local band Hey Marseilles) and his current startup Votiv. David LeClaire shared his insights about the importance of customer service at his local business Wine World and Spirits (spirits being added only recently after the govt. got out of distributing liquor). And Joanna Lord from SEOmoz came in with high energy, keeping everyone engaged while we learned about SEO and SEM.
It was these awesome speakers, along with blog assignments about various startups, that I learned my top lesson about entrepreneurship:
Ideas and businesses fail, but the entrepreneur goes on.
Almost every guest speaker had been a part of a failed startup or business, yet there they were working on the next (potentially) big thing. This was consistent with the startups that I researched and wrote about – just about every single founder/co-founder has worked at more than one startup, and just about each one has been part of a failed business. Some may see this as discouraging, but I find it to be something inspiring, and representative of the entrepreneurial community – it takes tenacity, dedication, and a strong belief in yourself, your partners, and your business to succeed.
This is my one big takeaway from this quarter. Failure of a business idea is an opportunity to learn, and it isn’t THE END. According to this Forbes article, the odds are against you! It states that a quarter of all startups fail within the first year, and by year five, 55% have failed. The odds may not be in your favor, but you can’t be an entrepreneur if you don’t believe you’re part of the 45% who will make it and succeed.