Should I Call it Quits?

I have a medical background and I am in way over my head with trying to start up my first mobile application. I found myself wearing multiple hats and spending more money to get started than I am getting back in (which is zero). After 12 months, I feel like i am in perpetual beta mode and funds and my sanity are wearing thin. Did i forget to mention it’s just me? I am flying solo on this. I really can’t see myself going back to a miserable 9-5 but I don’t want to make the mistake of drinking my own ‘kool aid’ either and flushing more money and time into a sinkhole.

When should I call it quits and is the time now?


  • 12 months is nothing. You’re just getting started. I’m on my 5th year and just now I’ve broken through. In the past 5 years I’ve started many startups, all of whom have failed except for the one that I’m currently working on.

    If I hadn’t made all those mistakes though, I wouldn’t be succeeding right now. You need to stick to it, or else you were never meant to be a founder to begin with.

      • I don’t know who the guy above is but he’s not me. The guy who wrote:

        “Sorry I meant 5 years of failed startups”

        Anyways, I gave up on those startups but I didn’t give up on my overall dream of becoming a successful startup founder. The guy in the OP post though seems like he wants to give up on entrepreneurship all together after only 12 months of failure. That’s the difference.

        Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and many other successful startup founders tried many different startups before they found the one that succeeded. They gave up on those failed ones but not their overall dream of starting a successful company. No one should commit to a failed company.

        As far as how I made the decision to quit on those failed ones. If I was not gaining any traction and I tried many things, then it was time to give up. Sales or user numbers don’t lie. Doesn’t matter how beautiful your website or idea is, if people aren’t digging it then it’s a failure.

  • Work smarter , not harder.

    If you see this as a successful company (imagine you’re up and running at full speed right now) , are you wearing ALL the hats? For whatever reasons you’ve chosen to do this solo, if pride is at the top of the list then you need to re-consider your path. If not, then utilize what is out there!

    There are tons of things that you DON’T need to be doing , that you can outsource privately without breaking the bank (too much) further. ELance, Fiverr , Zirtual.

    If you still believe in what you’re doing then continue on , just be smarter about it. Don’t whinge about being ‘the only one’ when you don’t actually need to be doing it all yourself. Spending less time worrying over little non-committal things means more time focusing on bringing your app to the masses.

    • Thank you! Flying solo isn’t a matter of pride or keeping 100% of shares, it’s a matter of trust. My former partner left during alpha stage and took the money to fund his own project behind my back. Since then, I’ve been trying to resuscitate the situation so I keep to the deadline and milestones laid out before hand. I would love to find help, but the past has left me guarded and scared. Working day and night alone has also turned me into a hermit with very little opportunity to meet potential developers to help on this project.

      Is this normal for startup life? a vicious cycle of solitude?

      • i’m finding the solitude is normal with the areas i have sole responsibility for =marketing, investor relations, learning the biz dev stuf.

        I make time to go to developer meetups and hackathons every couple of months, i continue to progress with my concept and understanding of market and i treat these interactions as validation exercises -how are developers and the startup hangers-ons responding.

        i’ve learnt to adapt and be flexible with my roadmap, its not a straight line, if you need to deviate do so, you want to succeed more than prove your shady ex-co-founder wrong.

  • I’m in your very same situation and I’m seriously considering giving up and start looking for a job in the next few days. Loneliness, depression, hopelessness… name it. Starting a company was one of my silliest ideas ever.

    • OP here – lessons I’ve learned.

      1) Way cheaper learning experience than any formal education can buy you. I spent $400k on tuition and let’s say, I spent less on that for this startup yet learned a ton more that’s applicable to life and business.

      2) no one has a 100% market shares. It’s a game of chess. Execute better than your competitors and you got a shot. Good luck…

      I had a moment of fright because I am a girl in a male dominant industry but I owe it to myself to see what I got and what happens when the app goes live. After all, I’ve come this far, right?

        • Depends on how you see it. Are you talking of monetary wealth or wealth in knowledge and experience. To me it’s a win win situation and your negative attitude is exactly what will impede your growth to ever become a successful entrepreneur.

        • Sunk cost fallacy usually applies to financial investments and the hesitancy to sell when the investment falls.

          However I think in this case it behooves the OP to go ahead the extra mile and launch since it WILL give her more experience that will be useful down the road – its not sunk.

          Sure the software may end up failing but the lessons would still be worth it.

  • Someone very smart once told me not to gamble what I couldn’t afford to lose. Know what tradeoffs you are and aren’t willing to make. For my part, I will not lose my relationships with my kids or partner, won’t lose my house, won’t empty my 401k, and won’t significantly compromise my health or my sanity for my startup. I will spend my liquid savings, piss off my ex-wife, and work a lot of hours, including cutting some sleep. Know your limits and when you’ve reached them. Know when you need to recharge your energy and cash.

    • OP here – thank you. I believe the same thing and that’s why I started this venture. I am single with no kids. This minimizes my responsibilities and allows me some freedom to explore. I also carry no debt (for now) which is nice. I think if there’s a time to take on some risk and startup a business then it is now while I am single. I also forced myself to split my accounts so i won’t be tempted to drain all my cash in this project. The only tradeoff since the start of this venture was my sanity. But what’s the price of sanity anyways? that’s overrated. hah =)

      Thanks for the wonderful feedback and I will remember those wise words as I probably sink deeper into this project.

      • Previous poster here – I applaud your decision. I first got the entrepreneurial bug back when I was a young dad but never moved forward on it for fear of possible financial failure. (A rather expensive, completely unsupportive, non-working ex-wife was a major factor.) I’m now pushing 50 and quickly burning through savings while taking my first swing at starting up, with a kid who is about to start college in the fall. These days I spend a lot of time wishing I had done this 25 years ago.

        • OP – yup! totally the case found in several psychological studies on regret where actions, or errors of commission, generate more regret in the short term; but inactions, or errors of omission, produce more regret in the long term.

          Call me crazy or delusional but I would like to look back at a full life where I took risks and didn’t hold back. I’d like to know for sure that “yup, that was a failed business” rather than contemplate at my desk job “man, if only i had pursued that mobileapp business, I could be the one being bought out by FB for 19 billion (dreaming I know).”

          So cheers to no regrets! I am not quitting anytime soon.

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