Notes from Ostelia founder.
I wrote my first business plan when I was 14 during my elective “Economics” class at school. My numbers didn’t add up: I wasn’t able to make a profit if I was going to sell at the same price as my competitors, not compromise on quality and not cut corners with taxes. “Business is probably not for me” – that’s what I decided at the time.
— Don’t mind the competition, — my dad told me. — You just have to be better than others.
It didn’t convince me at the time. What could I possibly be better at?
Years later I was doing well in a corporate world and changing jobs with an upgrade in the salary and title. But the desire to build my own product was still there. “What makes me better than everyone else? There are thousands of businesses already and new ideas are easily copied. Why take the risk?” – I thought and decided that business is probably still not for me.
And yet earlier this year I was reading a blog of a multimillionaire entrepreneur. She arrived in the US only 12 years ago as a single mom with zero savings. And she said something that struck me: “I achieved the success not because I was smarter than other people, but simply because I had no other choice. I knew I had to figure it out. My key to success was in providing great service to my customers, hard work and always checking the math to make sure the numbers add up. You’ll be surprised how many people don’t do that”.
This is now what keeps me up during the struggles and when things don’t go as planned: the realization that quitting is a privilege. It’s soft and cushy in the comfort zone and so easy to lean back when things don’t go as planned. But it also means that you aren’t moving anywhere.
With this new perspective now a failure is no longer a sign that this is not for me and I should stop investing my money and resources. It means that it is just one more thing I have to learn from while moving on.
Let me know what would you have done differently in the past if quitting wasn’t an option?