If my business fails, it will reflect badly on my family

In America, the fear of failure for startups exists, but it’s recognized that businesses fail. Some actually see it as a badge of courage or learning experience. The same isn’t true in my home country.

If I fail then it reflects badly on my family. My father is especially concerned and keeps telling me to find a proper job.

I couldn't separate myself from the success and failure of my business

While I’ve never been the best at anything, I know I have the potential to do great things. I wasn’t at the top of my class, I didn’t win any contests, and I wasn’t good at sports, but I have a burning desire to succeed. When I started a business I couldn’t afford to fail.

I had great people working with me and we had all the money we needed for the first two years. We focused on execution and customer and operational excellence. People loved the product. Everything was going really well. We won the outstanding entrepreneur of the year award.

Finally, I was the best at something. I was finally being recognized for my hard work and I was being recognized for the person I really am. I was nominated for more awards and asked to speak at conferences. The press would call me for quotes. I was on top of the world.

The recession hit us much worse than we expected. In six months, business was down 24% and we had to let people go. We had reached our credit limits. We staggered on for three more months and then had to call the administrators in to wrap everything up. We were finally sold to our major competitor for 10 cents on the dollar.

When the business died, I died. The business was me and I was the business. I feel like a total failure and I can’t get distance from what happened.