How did you deal with rejection as a founder?

9 replies
As founders, we're forced to deal with many NOs to get to the YESs once we get a good understanding of our customers. While we do have founders documenting their wins publicly, most of their struggles often go unnoticed. What's your experience dealing with rejections? And how did you emotionally prepare yourselves for this journey as an entrepreneur?


I've had a few things fail and others that have never got off the ground for one reason or another. I've found the best thing is to have a group around me that can help pick me up. They don't even need to be physically nearby, I do a lot of my calls virtually those groups now...
The last time I was rejected, I didn’t mind because I had many balls in the air, so to speak. I try to create luck for myself by pursuing many exciting things at once so that one of them is bound to work out.
Ari Bencuya
How did you emotionally prepare yourself for the journey as an entrepreneur? That's the hardest part of the whole thing. Emotions are normal. Accept them. Lose a big deal? It happens. It's ok to be sad for a bit. Then try to identify what went wrong and fix it (If you don't do this you will fail). Win a big deal? Great! Enjoy it, then try to figure out what went right and replicate it (If you don't do this you will also fail). Try to remember during the worst and best times. That these times will pass but it's ok to feel like crap when they happen. Try to refocus on why you're doing this in the first place and don't get discouraged. Be honest with yourself on what didn't work. I try to categorize rejection in 3 ways: 1: Wrong Product You're offering the wrong thing to the wrong person. Hopefully, you just mismatched your contact and can change your outreach strategy. If your product doesn't get a job done for most customers though, you may need to pivot. Your market size or pain may be too small. Accept this. 2: Wrong Timing "I have other priorities right now." If you're getting this a lot, it might actually be a Wrong Product situation, but if you're getting sales create a funnel to bring these users in or cut them off. Time wasted on dead deals you don't know are dead are a killer for a small team. 3: Wrong Offer Try a different offer. If all your offers are getting rejected this is also a "wrong product" problem. The value you provide doesn't fit the value you're receiving (in the eyes of the customer). Every failure is a learning point, for you and the company. Embrace it.
Nim Ron
The NOs only help us focus.
Archisman Das
Just mentally set the expectation with yourself and your co-founder that you have to head 100 Nos before you get the first yes - for getting investors, for acquiring customers, for hiring the team.