How to Bounce Back From Startup Failure and Crush It the Next Time

startup failure

“I just want to get out here…!”

These were the words of my hairdresser when he asked me to help him to sell his business.

He opened up his salon 3 years ago and today he is round about 15k in debt.

We had a long conversation and after I asked him a lot of questions, which unfolded his mindset and the way he now thinks, some things became pretty clear.

“Most businesses don’t fail in their first 3 to 5 years. They fail on their first day, but need 3 to 5 years to realize it!”

This was definitely the case with my hairdresser…

He never did any market research and financial due diligence before he bought the salon. If he had had some kind of financial education, he would never started that business in the first place. (That’s what he is realizing now.)

Anyway, how do you stand up again after your startup failure and start with a fresh mind so you can succeed the next time?

1. Change what you think about failure

The truth is that failure is not the opposite of success. It is part of the equation.

We live in a dualistic world and there is no white without black or good without bad.

Failure is just another stepping stone to success. It might feel like a step back, but it is actually necessary to learn and improve our approach.

“Failure and success are two sides of the same coin!”

If you try to avoid failure, you will find yourself stuck in a situation where you’re too afraid to make mistakes and in some cases, don’t do anything at all.

By trying to avoid failure, you make success impossible.   

2. Notice you are in good company

First of all, realize that you are not the first entrepreneur who failed in one of his business ventures.

Actually, you could see it as sign that you are on your way to success (as long as you don’t give up).

These are some of the entrepreneurs who failed in their first venture or even a couple times in order to build a profitable business:

  • Nick Woodman (GoPro)
  • Richard Branson (Virgin)
  • Bill Gates (Microsoft)
  • Henry Ford (Ford Automotive)
  • Sir James Dyson (Dyson)
  • ….

The list goes on and on.

See yourself in this club of successful entrepreneurs and find the energy to move on.

3. Change your emotional state

You can’t be successful and happy in life when you are in a state of negative emotions.

However, if you find yourself in a similar situation to my hairdresser, it can be pretty hard to see the positive aspect of the situations.

But changing your emotional state is critical to move on.

Basically, there are only two ways to change your state:

a. Change the story in your mind

If you change the story you tell yourself about your business failure, you will change the way you think about it almost instantly.

Like I mentioned before, there is nothing good or bad in life. There are always two sides of a coin.

Ask yourself: How do I benefit from getting out of business?

Maybe you realized that it was never a good market and you would just waste more years of your life if you kept going.

Or maybe you were not so passionate about the product any more and want to do something you are more inspired about.

Whatever it is, I’m sure you will find a couple of benefits when you change the perspective from which you look at this situation.

I believe that everything in my life happens in my favor and you should start thinking the same. Sometimes it looks like a bad situation, but in the end, I know that I’m the winner of my life!

b. Change your behavior

Face it, we can’t manage our emotions. It’s just not possible. At least not in the short term.

Emotions never lead to certain actions automatically. Emotions only contain a tendency to behave in a specific way.

But you are in charge of your behavior.

“Succeeding with money is 80% behavior and 20% knowledge – Dave Ramsey”

You can be angry, sad or anxious, but that doesn’t automatically means that you need to behave according to your feelings.

If you master your habits and behavior, you will eventually change your emotional state, because psychology and physiology go hand in hand.

4. Face your financial situation

Broke people mostly have one thing in common. They have no idea about their real financial situation.

They don’t know how much money comes in and how much goes out.

Most don’t even know how much money they owe…

You can’t improve what you don’t measure!

A look on your bank account might be painful right now, but you should stop fooling yourself and face the reality.

It doesn’t matter what you want to accomplish in life. You will do this by discovering your starting point (where are you right now?), and taking one step at a time until you reach your goal.

5. Detach yourself from your startup failure

My hairdresser had one big mindset problem that hold him back to move on. He took everything personally.

This meant that, because he failed in business, he thought that he was a failure.

Even though he is a very good hairdresser and loves what he is doing…

But he didn’t know how to run a business so that it is profitable.

He had a lack of knowledge and focused on the wrong activities at the wrong time.

But now he has the opportunity to analyse the whole situation from outside like a scientist and learn from his mistakes.

I’m pretty sure that eventually he will change his habits and behavior and see different outcomes.


We all fail from time to time in life. If you never make mistakes, you have failed in the game of life in general, because it means that you never went out of your comfort zone.

So you never really lived and always played small.

But what is your life about if you don’t follow your dreams?

I hope this article inspires you to stand up again and move on in life, hopefully towards a new entrepreneurial journey. Good luck!

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