Oh, no… Success! Now What?

Oh, no… Success! Now What?

I’m often asked to speak about my experience as an entrepreneur.  Invariably, someone will ask me what I planned to do if I failed in any of the various endeavors I’ve founded or helped found.  I tell her that she is asking the wrong question of me, but also of herself.

“You tell me,” I say, throwing the ball back into her court where, as an entrepreneur, she should always want it to be.  “You’re here because you want to start something.  What will you do if you fail?”

The questioner always responds with something that resembles: “I’ll just go get a cubicle job and pay my rent until I can come up with a new plan.”

Of course, she will.  There’s not much choice in that matter.  So, I ask the better question, “And, what will you do if you succeed?”


I always get crickets when I ask that question and therein lies the problem.

Too many would-be entrepreneurs spend too much time worrying about the varying levels of failure, even after they’ve come up with Plan B, C, and even D.  They don’t spend nearly enough time planning for varying levels of success.  And, because of that, their successes fail to catch fire, never achieving full power and potential. Figure out Plan B, and C, and, if you must, D, and then get the hell on with it for fuck’s sake.  It’s time to set the world afire.

Laura Gassner Otting
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