With millennials making millions in the tech industry or inventing world-changing devices every Monday morning, failure can be a particularly bitter pill to swallow for young entrepreneurs.
But between the challenge of finding a job in today’s economy and the entrepreneurial startup battle cry of our generation, it’s a risk many young people are taking.
When you start a business the odds are against you from the get-go — and statistically, most businesses fail. If your venture fails, the hardest part may be explaining to all of your corporate friends why you’re not rubbing shoulders with Mark Zuckerberg at this very moment.
Despite the embarrassment and disappointment, an early career failure can give you a running head-start for the future.
Here are four reasons to keep your head up the next time someone at brunch asks what you’ve been up to lately.
Nothing beats experience (and you’ve got plenty)
As the first digital natives, we have access to lots of information, but there is still something to be said for experience. Experience teaches you lessons that all the search engines in the world won’t provide.
Honestly, if Forbes and Google Analytics had all the answers, no business would ever fail. In reality, unprecedented issues like clashing leadership, natural disasters or even political instability can affect your business in ways you did not see coming.
Coping with the unexpected is something you have to learn the hard way, and those lessons will help you recognize warning signs and make better strategic decisions in the future.
Take the time to ask yourself: did you get too excited and rush into things without a solid enough business plan? Was your starting capital insufficient? Why were you unable to access more funding? Were you overly dependent on a demographic that wasn’t interested in your product? Or was the market timing just really bad? Being able to honestly and clearly look at what went wrong can save you money, time and effort in the future.
You know your priorities — and yourself — better
Sometimes failure occurs because we lack the motivation to keep going. While you may have started off hot and heavy about an idea, after a while it may become a burden — and you might end up deciding it’s just not worth it to continue.
The lesson here is if you’re truly unhappy with what you’re doing, no matter what’s at stake, no matter how much you want to succeed, you’re unlikely to achieve that result.
Such failure might force you to question what you really want and help you to better understand what makes you happy. After you work through any lingering guilt, you will experience relief and will likely find yourself re-focusing your goals in a new direction.