If your startup "failed" after less than a year, it's not that big a deal. No one will care. There's no need to explain yourself, apologize, or feel like a failure.
Dust yourself off, and decide if you want to do another startup, or do something different. And if you do want to try again, the key is to consider that one-year start-up an experience. That's it.
Here are some tips for next time:
- Be matter-of-fact about the experience. I know it wasn't just another job to you. But try to act as if it was. You tried. You gave it your all. You learned. And it's done. You're ready for the next challenge.
- Don't act like it was a Big Deal. It wasn't (in both good and bad ways). No one wants to hear 20 minutes about your failed startup. They want to hear about the experience in 120 seconds.
- Don't act like you learned that much. You learned a lot, no doubt about it. You took a risk. You worked for nothing. You tried. People will respect that. But if you never got to at least $100,000 in annual recurring revenue, you didn't build a business. You started a startup, but you didn't build a business. Don't act like you did.
- Be humble, but not bitter. Be humble about the experience. We're all human. But don't be bitter. No one likes to see that.
In Silicon Valley, a quick failed startup, especially one that didn't raise any real money, isn't a negative. But making a huge deal out of it is a sign of immaturity. And dwelling on it will make people worry about working with you.
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