Yesterday, while at the Future of Web Apps conference, I attended a seminar discussing differences between the European start-up culture and the U.S. start-up culture. Aside from the occasional mud-slinging by Mike Arrington who was in his words “being controversial”, there was one thing that has had me thinking. Many of the questions that people posed to the panelists revolved around the concept of “What can you do for me?” As an entrepreneur, you need to realize that in the beginning you are pretty much on your own. Outside of your support group (which is necessary to your success), don’t expect a lot of supportive feedback. I heard one person essentially ask what people in the U.K. can do to make people more “accepting” of failure. Are you kidding me? If people in Europe believe that Americans are not afraid of failure then they must be drinking the wrong Kool-Aid. Conversely I don’t think that this individual was an accurate portrayal of the majority. One individual (who is a native U.K. citizen) that I sat next to later that day told me that they understood the concept that people may be likely to blame cultural aspects on the lack of entrepreneurial spirit in Europe, but they need to just “get over it”. That’s the truth.
As an entrepreneur you need to stare failure in the face and just get on with the work that needs to be done. Accepting failure is one of the most important aspects of being an entrepreneur. Failure is the risk you take, but success is sweet. Most people are not going to be extremely supportive of your venture and that is a fact of life. If you are lucky though, you can build a nice support group of people that let you know that it’s worth the effort. If you haven’t been told by anyone that it’s worth the effort, than let me be the first to do so. Entrepreneurship is a challenge, and you will face people that tell you that “it can’t be done”, but that is the best part about it, the challenge. Hold tight to the vision of success and ingrain it into your mind. That is all that you have. Even if you fail once, twice, or more, you haven’t failed until you’ve quit trying.