One of my friends told me that their mentor in YC told her that the #1 reason startups fail is because founders get sad.
This is true – a lot of startups that failed and returned money to investors actually return a fair amount of money. Which means in many cases, running out of money is not the main reason why companies fail. Mostly, founders get sad and give up.
In a bear market, it’s so easy to be discouraged, especially if you’ve been through a crazy bull, like 2021 as you saw a crazy growth and traction and suddenly, you see so much less traction, less engagement, and less excitement.
What you do didn’t change at all, and in fact, it’s getting better because you learn and get better at what you do as you go, but it’s just really hard to get the same amount of traction and growth that you saw in the bull.
So a bear market makes founders sad, discouraged, and makes them want to leave.
As a huge believer of Web3, I want to share my own thoughts of what has been and will be helpful to stay motivated and excited even when rest of the world aren’t.
(1) Celebrate small wins
A lot of founders are often very very harsh on themselves and don’t give much compassion to yourself as they often believe that feeling good about themselves and results will make them satisfy themselves and work less hard (=> which is so not true).
It’s utterly important for you and your team to take a step back and remind you how much you’ve accomplished for even a smallest things.
You got 1K more followers? great! 💪
You released one feature? amazing! 💪
Got a positive feedback? huge win! 💪
Even a smallest thing you can think of, you should celebrate and give you and your team a praise which will enable you to have positive perspective on everything.
(2) Build an appreciative culture
I’ve heard that one of the proven ways to be have a happier life is to have appreciation to everything. Appreciate your health, partner, family, and in your case, your team.
We added a #kudos-and-appreciation channel on our team server and whenever you appreciate someone, we just tell them how grateful we are. You feel great bc you appreciate them even more by thinking about it and putting in words and you can look back later and appreciate them again and the team feels great because everyone loves being appreciated. Building a warm and grateful culture is so important for a long-term success especially in a tough time and it will deepen the relationship among the team and make the workplace more positive and vibrant.
(3) Believe the story that is helpful to you
If you are a founder, you face a LOT of rejections. Some people believe in you and most others don’t. And sometimes you are influenced by the story that people who don’t believe in you have about yourself.
You are not smart enough, charismatic enough, your idea is not going to work out, you’ll never make it.
You can’t control what other people think about you but what you can control is how you tell story about yourself to yourself.
If Jack Ma believed the story that everyone else told him (basically his life is all about rejections), Alibaba group wouldn’t exist.
Find the story that is helpful to you and keep believing that will help you stay strong and keep moving forward.
(4) Find a way to cut negative thought spirals
Some days, you feel great and other days, you feel terrible. Founders experience extreme ups and downs everyday and your emotions and mood will deeply affect your thoughts.
Sometimes the story you tell yourself could be so negative that it causes a negative spiral of negative feeling => negative thoughts => feel bad => believe negative thoughts even stronger.
Luckily, those negative thoughts are not permanent.
Knowing that it’s transient and it will go away is helpful so that you can tell yourself that the negative thoughts/self talk you have to yourself is just temporary and it’s actually not true.
And find your own way to break the negative thought patterns comes in handy.
In my case, whenever I notice the spiral, I would go for a short run or ride EUC and listen to the songs that inspires me and that usually cools me down and let me go back to normal thought patterns.
(5) Remind yourself that it’s still so early
Crypto hasn’t been reached to its full potential at all and it will keep growing and for sure become a mainstream. It’s so special to witness moments (we will laugh about how there are crazy number of scammers hopefully) where still not everyone in the world believe in web3 as much as they do in the internet. Embracing how special that is will make you feel strongly motivated that you want to stay engaged and keep witnessing until it reaches to the full potential.
(6) Surround yourself with true believers
Though many people left, many people, especially builders stayed. And those people are the ones who don’t get influenced by what media or the rest of the world say about crypto.
They have their own strong belief and passion and never want to stop talking about innovations that are happening and the future potential of crypto.
Listening to podcast by those people (like @BanklessHQ) or engaging with them will immensely help you to stay excited.
I can’t emphasize enough that a bear market is just the best time to explore and learn. In a bull market, I barely had time to explore anything I wanted. After the market got quiet, there is so much less noice and distraction, I finally have time to sit down and watch YouTube video of topics I’m interested in, spend time reading smart contracts, read whatever the subject that I want to dig deeper. And the more you learn, the more you excited about different opportunities about crypto and that will get you even more excited about it.
(8) Help others
I didn’t realize how meaningful it can be when I help someone and they deeply appreciates the help. A word of appreciation truly makes my day and if I get one appreciation per day, I believe I’ll feel amazing every single day.
Luckily, I have some technical skills and an experience launching a NFT collection which can be helpful for some people. But everyone has something they can offer and offering that to someone who would appreciate would really make your day wonderful.
(9) Think deeply about why you are doing this
Every founder has their own story of why they started their project/startup. If you don’t have a strong why, when things get hard, you might get stumbled and question why you are doing this hardest thing in life though there are million other ways to have much better and less stressful life. But having and reminding strong why will always keep you move forward and motivate you even when things are not going well.
Those are the things that I learned since the market crash and I’m so confident that if I continue doing this, I won’t get sad and stay motivated and keep going in the toughest times.
Hope this was helpful ♥️
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