Failed Founder. Can’t define myself anymore.

Shut down my startup of 4 years. I’ve started doing job interviews.

I seriously don’t know how I should define myself now and I’m getting depressed. I don’t have the patience to sit down and execute anymore, I see myself on the business side of things, with experience (albeit a failed one).

Ideally I want a role where I can create stuff, business processes or products. I am good at finding a market category and owning the P&L. But most interviewers say I am either too young or I don’t have a management degree. I am 30.

Maybe I am just lazy. Maybe I lack basic skills. I just have to earn an income right now and it’s stressing me out because I have been searching for a job for some time now. What is the way forward?


  • 1) Recognize your different experiences are strengths even if others—the squares*—cannot see ’em.

    2) Look for folks who want you.


    3) Look for alternatives like consulting or gigging for a bit.

    Also, you did not fail. 4 years without a “real” job is more than 99.99% than others ever experience.

    with love

  • chin up. i am in a similar situation. my 2 cents.

    make every effort to surround yourself with positive people who will provide alternate perspective on your situation.

    why? you are depressed, and your view of your self worth is not in touch with reality (it is likely way too low). also, being around people you know and respect (your core “top of mountain” friends) is invigorating. how do i know? i am highly depressed now.

    don’t have anyone you can trust / want to turn to? then let it out here 🙂 this site is great.

    you are an awesome person. don’t let shit drag you down. you got into the arena. do you have any idea how hard that is? most people don’t. good for you.

    you are not lazy. you do not lack basic skills. get a job you can learn from. meet amazing people at. and move on. nothing more/less.

  • New poster here. Curious to know why you shut down?

    In any case, by 30 you’ve had the guts to do what most people can only dream of (or don’t even have the capability to dream of). What you’ve accomplished and learnt along the way gives you unique insight and perspective that a regular employee just doesn’t have and would never understand. So as an employee you are actually more valuable as far as I’m concerned.

    As an entrepreneur, take some time out, de-stress, and review what went well and what you would have done differently. You’re still young, you could easily have another go at this when the right project comes along.

    • Good question. I did not achieve revenues.

      A sustainable business has 3 fundamentals: sales, finance and operations. I was great at operations, got great client testimonials as well. But it never occurred to me that to be sustainable, you need all 3 capabilities working cohesively. I never initiated the other two. Leads came in own network, never had a sales team. With the new money, I expanded my tech team. But the business dried up relatively fast because there were no incoming leads in the pipeline anymore and I was too blind to see that.

      Like someone else has said above, thank you SA for doing this. This website is my only outlet at the moment.

      To the guy who is in a horribly dark place, please visit a therapist, just consulting or anti anxiety / anti depressants or whatever the therapist deems fit for you will help you. It did a lot for me, am on anti anxiety pills at the moment. You are going to come out stronger my friend. Take care.

  • Ok op so next venture you need a sales guy as well. Are you us based? I might have a gig for us ops guy, pay would not be much but it would be something.

  • your self-worth is lower than it is in reality.

    look for jobs where your experience is a good fit.

    you learned tons during those 4 years, find early-stage company or startup where your skills and hustle are in demand.

    stay positive, def-ly talk to family or close friends.

  • I just turned 42. Running my solo tech startup of 4 years. I’m still going. I’m down to 10,000 in cash. And now… my environment is making me depress. My productivity is down. I live in Dallas for 15 years now and looking to move to San Diego (for nature) or close to NYC (for fun).

    I felt Dallas is just like shithole with nothing to do. I don’t even know why I lasted 15 years here as a single guy.

    I think what you need to do is just change environment and don’t quit. That’s what I’m doing.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

    You may also like