I don’t know how long I can go on like this …

When I was 15 I built my first website, it was terrible but it had about 80 users and it made money. Not serious money, but more money than I had ever held before. A year later, I finished school. In my country, compulsory schooling ends at 16, while my friends went off to sixth form college I started working my on website. It wasn’t even a consious decision, it just felt like the next step in my life. It completely consumed me.

At the time, I had literally no marketing skill, and the site barely grew. My design skills improved drastically and so I made the decision to shut down the website. I started working on an upgraded version and worked on this for two years but I never launched. I did eventually go back to school, the first year did not go well and I was asked to leave. I went back a year later and managed to complete my courses but did not do well enough to get into university.

I had spent most of the time at school learning about growth hacking, web development and design. Since my grades were bad and my job hunting wasn’t going well I started working on startups again. This time I was confident I had the skills to push forward, but there was just one problem. I’m so slow, both physically and mentally. I can’t build an app in a weekend and it takes me a long time to learn. Every day I wake up, work on putting all of the pieces to what feels like this startup puzzle and still I have nothing. Nothing I can launch or show off my skills.

I come from a working class family. I’m 21 now and my parents are getting older. I watch them everyday struggle to get by, my father has a physically demanding job and I’m not sure how long he can keep going on like this. None of my family did well in education and I was the only one that gravitated towards books and knowledge. My family has a very working class attitude so they never expect me to be successful in the way I want to be. They don’t believe there is much opportunity out there for me, so they have accepted there is not much I can do, so they let me stay in my bedroom all day, every day hoping I strike it rich.

I have literally no friends, I feel completely cut off from the outside world. I haven’t been outside in months. I’ve been trying to become more active on social media so I feel like I’m not alone, but I find it hard to put myself out there.

I don’t know how long I can go on like this, I’m starting think the only way out of this mess I’ve got myself into is suicide. Business has totally consumed me. It’s the first thing I wake up thinking about and the last thing I think about before I sleep.

The typical startup story goes like this: find some friends, talk to customers, build an app together, get funding and profit. For me it’s more like this disease I have caught, the ability to dream big and the ability to execute so little and it never goes away, not for one moment. It’s the only thing keeping me alive and in the end it will probably cause my death.

  • You need to find a business co-founder. Or, post on odesk to start taking development jobs. Increase your speed and knowledge on someone else’s dime.

    Get paid to do what you love. Work part-time for someone else, work part-time for what you love.

    Also, be sure that what you love is needed if you want to get paid for it. Go out and find 10 people that will pay for what you are building and tell them it’ll launch in 3-6 months, but get pre-payment from them so that you can focus on the build. To be truthful, it’s a hard road when you are inexperienced, but it can be done.

    However, I think it’s best you freelance for a year and get paid building for someone else as it will help you get paid and learn, but most importantly buy you time to figure out what type of site you want to build next.

    I’d take you on in a heartbeat because you’re dedicated to what you love and deserve every chance to succeed.

    Hang in there!

  • Speed isn’t the end-all for an entrepreneur.

    However, what I read above isn’t a speed issue – it appears to be a focus issue.

    Sure, if you are quick, you can spit out dozens of apps and spray and pray. Most apps really are about scraping data from somewhere, assembling an app package for it, and putting it out on one or more app stores. If you’re spending 10 or 20 hours max, you really don’t need much traction to make this worthwhile.

    On the other hand, you can also build value by finding a really hard problem, focusing on it, and solving it. You don’t need to be fast then, only good.

  • What’s killing you isn’t your dreams, it’s how you’ve gone about trying to achieve them. Most people aren’t that fast- alone, that is. Unfortunately, this pattern you’ve started is sort of self-reinforcing, a negative cycle. You have to break that cycle- not just for trying to achieve your career aspirations, but for the benefit of your life as well.

  • Your suicidal thoughts seem bizarre . You are 21 with cross disciplinary skills . Work for someone for a while to resolve the cash flow issue and pursue your ideas on the side. Work in other startups and build your knowledge.

  • You are not your business. Starting again, only in the event you need to, will be easier than this. Try to detach from outcome and achievement.

    Lots of people – including me – feel like this.

    Best wishes.

  • I know exactly what you’re feeling. Although my story is a bit different. My best advice is to get out there and try, again, again and again.

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