Young Upstarts

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What Do Successful Entrepreneurs Do When They Hit Rock Bottom?

In corporate circles, most professionals pursue a fairly linear climb to the top of their field. It may take years or decades to reach the “summit,” but there aren’t usually a series of career-altering setbacks.

The same cannot be so certainly stated for entrepreneurs, who may have to hit bottom several times before achieving sustained success. But it’s not about how far you fall; it’s about how you recover and push forward again.

How to Survive Your Entrepreneurial Rock Bottom.

Have you hit rock bottom? Whatever that might mean for you, it’s time to put the past in your rear-view mirror and focus on survival.

Here are a few survival tips and lessons to get you through this tumultuous period:

1. Develop a High Pain Tolerance.

For starters, you can’t be a wimp. Losing a $500 investment or failing to land a juicy client doesn’t count as rock bottom. The more you develop a high tolerance for extreme discomfort, the less you’ll be hurt by unfortunate yet all-but-inevitable incidents such as these.

2. Don’t Ignore Your Problems. 

When you encounter a serious problem that knocks you down to rock bottom, you shouldn’t ignore it. This will likely compound the underlying issue and leave you in more trouble.

For example, let’s say you get in a car wreck that leaves you injured and unable to work on your business for an extended period of time. Trying to ignore the injuries isn’t an option. instead, you need to take responsible steps toward reaching a full physical, mental, and financial recovery.

Or perhaps you’ve invested your life savings into a product and it flops after launch. Instead of sulking, take the time to figure out what went wrong so it’s less likely to happen the next time around.

3. Be Persistent in Your Approach. 

Your natural inclination might be to give up in the face of failure, but you’ll never be successful if you aren’t persistent. It’s easy to let setbacks lead to risk aversion, but the wiser move is to double down and push forward. Any progress you make will add to your confidence to try again.

4. Look Beyond Yourself. 

Entrepreneur Hanna Hermanson’s rock-bottom moment happened when she looked at her bank account one day and noticed that it was nearly zero. After a good cry session and some moments of sheer desperation, she gathered her composure and decided that she didn’t have all the answers, but other people might.

“Success is never a random, personal achievement. I wasn’t going to earn money by beating myself up, and I knew I had a lot of resources already. So, I reached out to mentors, started showing up in relevant Facebook groups, and reviewed all the notes I’d collected from entrepreneur interviews, personal development books, and business trainings,” Hermanson recalls.

“Duh! I already had all the answers and tools to make my dreams work. I just needed to reach out for support.”

Be willing to look beyond yourself and tap into the knowledge and backup that’s around you. It may be surprising to see how much you can learn. 

Growth is Rarely Linear.

If you were to zoom in and study a chart of the U.S. stock market over any random three-year period, you’d probably see some ups and downs. During certain sample periods, it would appear as if the country were headed for collapse.

During other periods, it would appear as if the sky were the limit. But zoom out a bit and you’d see a true graph of the stock market is one that features lots of ups and down. And despite the sudden spikes, surges, and declines, the overall trajectory of the market is headed upwards.

Very rarely, if ever, will you meet an entrepreneur who has experienced a steady and consistent climb to the top. The rise to success generally mimics a chart of the stock market, with lots of ups and downs. Yours will likely be the same.

If you’re in the middle of a rock bottom period of your career, take heart. This won’t last forever, and you’ll eventually land on your feet again. You may have scars, but you’ll also have learned a few things. The goal right now is to survive … eventually to conquer.

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Young Upstarts is a business and technology blog that champions new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. It focuses on highlighting young people and small businesses, celebrating their vision and role in changing the world with their ideas, products and services.

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