You WILL Fail. Here’s What to do When You Hit the Inevitable Wall : Under30CEO You WILL Fail. Here’s What to do When You Hit the Inevitable Wall : Under30CEO
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You WILL Fail. Here’s What to Do When You Hit the Inevitable Wall

| July 20, 2010 | 8 Comments

wallI hit the wall during the fall of 2009.  We were 4 months into our product development phase when we realized that our business just didn’t have a revenue model.  With an unpolished product, no clear way of making money, and a fragmented team with no united direction, I was ready to give it all up and go back to the corporate world.

Today, just 9 months later, we have a launched product, paying customers, and are very close to raising a round of Angel funding.

What sparked such a drastic change in the company towards success?  How did a company at the brink of death make it to where it is today?

The Wall

When you hit it, you hit it hard.  For me, it was the loss of a critical team member, constant arguments within the founding team, and worst of all, my mom was laid off from her job, resulting in me having to pick up a job to pay the mortgage.

My close friends from back home were already 2 years into their careers and were making close to $100K.  Thoughts of “what could have been” crept into my head and tempted me to leave Future Delivery (my company) once and for all.

It was a dark moment in my life.  The thrill of being a young entrepreneur was gone, and only the bitter taste of defeat filled my mouth.

The Sledgehammer

I picked up a full-time job and began to pay the mortgage.  It was a simple yet meaningless existence: wake up at 6:30am, drive to work in traffic, eat lunch with the co-workers, leave work at 6pm, work out for an hour at the gym, come home to eat dinner, and work on my startup until 12am.

Why did I keep working nights and weekends on my startup?

Because I want MORE out of life: I want to be a millionaire by 30, take my family across a trip around the world, buy my girlfriend a 5 carat diamond engagement ring, and build a huge ranch where I can buy all of the animals in pet stores and set them free (I’m totally serious).

I want MORE, so I kept pushing and pushing.  And then one day, 7 months into my full-time job, I got the opportunity to move to Mountain View, CA and work remotely.

The Break

There was no single event that got us to where we are now.  It was our persistence, desire, and trust in our team that compelled us forward and positioned us to hopefully and finally receive our big break.

We have a completed product, most of our team is now based in Mountain View, and we have paying clients.  My mom got her job back, I paid of my student loans, and I recently left my agency to once again by completely full-time with Viralogy.

It’s amazing how fast life can change.  Less than one year ago, we were at the brink of death; today, we’re one round of funding away from our big break.

There’s no set step-by-step process that will help you recover when you hit the wall.  Failure is part of the process, and it’s up to your ambition, desire, and work ethic to push you past the wall and hopefully make a break to success.

Everyone fails.

If you’re strong enough and if you want it bad enough, then you will keep pushing.

If you’re lucky, then one day your time will come and you’ll get your big break.

I’m still looking for mine, but I promise I won’t stop until I get it.

Bio: Jun Loayza is the CMO of the recommendation engine Viralogy and of the ecommerce analysis tool Grade Your Store.  Feel free to reach out to Jun through his blog or Twitter to chat about startup, relationships, or basketball.

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  • Ryan Hanley

    I think the saying that fits best here is “Your World is Darkest Right Before Dawn…” It's almost like the natural order of life is to weed out those that are not willing to persevere by taking everyone to the brink. Those that pick their head up and trudge on through the storm eventually find paradise. While those that run for shelter live their entire life hiding from the storm.

    Good article and Good Luck.

    Ryan H.,

  • Sam Diener

    Jun — good for you! I know you will get your big break.

    The Dark Night — “The night is darkest before the dawn.”

  • Sam Diener

    Haha — touche

  • Ryan Hanley

    Haha… Sam I didn't read your comment. You hadn't posted it when I started writing mine. I had no idea you posted the same thing… funny.

  • Rob

    Jun, so happy for you. I've tracked you for a while, a did notice you fell off for a while and I've seen you all over the place now. I can't tell you how much I identify with the Sledgehammer “phase”, I'm not in the same boat per say…but I really appreciated it. Inspirational…our (all of us) breaks will come…keep hustling.

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  • Krystle

    thank you for this, I'm having a rough time now and I needed to read this because I feel sometimes like quiting.