Posted By Sheryl Thai On 18 January 2017
You may have seen your friends complain on their FB feeds already about being burnt by Lily Robotics. Well, long story cut short, they made $34 million in pre-sales and received $15 million in investment, then last week they announced that they would be closing down their company, without one of their camera drones being shipped.
Fully funded company with 64,000 customers, all the resources they could ever need – yet they failed.
Hearing stories like this makes you think, well what chance do I have? You hear stats such as 1 in 5 businesses fail in the first 3 years and then on top of that 1 in 3 fail after 5 years. Just wow.
So what makes you think that you can defy the odds as an entrepreneur, that you have what it takes to “succeed”?
Once in awhile, I think back to the time I was made redundant. If I hadn’t lost my job, would I be where I am today? Would I have had the guts to start my own business? I don’t have an answer for what my 25 year old self would do. I was extremely lucky that fate intervened and pushed me with force into the direction that I was meant to take.
Andrew Hyde, Founder of Startup Weekend and was employee #1 of Techstars had a fireside chat with us at the Hacker Exchange kick-off a couple days ago. We spoke about all things startup and in particular, if you’ve got an idea – how do you get the courage to get it off the ground?
The answer lies in the question:
What’s the worst that could happen?
Thanks Mr.Chow, words of wisdom right there. Let’s analyse this fear of failure and how to do it anyway.
The question I asked myself when I lost my job was;
What if I took 6 months off to start my business, what’s the worst that could happen? Below were are my “worst” answers:
- I would lose about $50k in potential earnings
- My friends would laugh at me
- I would need to move back home to save money
The answers weren’t all that bad at all. I could always go back into the corporate world and $50k loss wasn’t too bad if I moved back home with the folks (which I did). If my friends laughed at me, they weren’t real friends to start with. Moving home meant that I had home cooked meals and could spend more time with family. At least I wouldn’t be homeless.
And what’s the best that could happen? I had a long list but my favourites that have come true are:
- The freedom to do what I love every day and not feel like stabbing myself in the eye with a pen
- Wake up every day and feel a sense of purpose for what I do
- I would be doing my bit to change the world, make it a better place
I know, I know. It’s easier said than done but the first step in deciding whether you start that next project or new venture is simply to write out your fears and you might be pleasantly surprised that they’re not that scary.
And, you might be wondering why on Earth I would start off by telling you the story of Lily Robotics and their massive downfall. Failure will always be there. No matter how much money, resources or whatever it is that you think you need, the option of failing will not disappear. But the level of failure can be managed. It can be mitigated and there are mistakes that you can avoid.
Another life-changing question to ask yourself as you start a new project or venture is – What’s Important To You?
Tim Ferriss, yes big-time fan girl here, has a podcast with Ryan Holiday, author of Ego is the Enemy that I found extremely helpful in keeping my values in check. I have a hunch – the demise of Lily Robotics was caused by ego. Ego can compromise integrity and honesty. It can also hold you back – money, face, status. Be honest with yourself and make sure that ego isn’t standing in the way of your dream like it was for me.
Sheryl Thai, CEO
League of Extraordinary Women