The Three Things All Entrepreneurs If You’re Going To Succeed

“Maybe we should give up?” Gill our lead investor said to me. We were meeting at his Sand Hill Office.

Gill had given us a term sheet about one year earlier for $11M. Gills’s fund was going to give us $5.5M. We needed to find the other $5.5M from a second investor.

Image for post
Image for post
Picture: Depositphotos

Gill and I didn’t think it would be a problem to find a second investor. But we didn’t see the Great Recession coming.

The Great Recession effectively brought Series A investment to a halt. And it wasn’t clear investment was going to come back in any meaningful way.

But I couldn’t give up. Not yet at least. “I have to see this though,” I responded to Gill.

It would have been so easy for him just to back away, but Gill didn’t. Gill nodded his head and agreed to hang in there with me.

You need grit if you’re going to succeed as an entrepreneur.

Grit is my superpower. I don’t know if I inherited my grit or through some set of circumstances I learned to have grit.

Simply put, I just don’t give up. Ever:

  • It was grit that got me through college, and…
  • It was grit that kept me going when my two cofounders quit, stole my IP and left me for dead (Read: What Are The Eleven Steps You Can Take When A Co Founder Quits? — Brett J. Fox)
  • It was grit that got my company funded after 63 VCs turned us down over two years, and…
  • It was grit that kept my company afloat after we had to go to minimum wage to avoid being shut down, and…
  • It was grit that kept me going in the aftermath of selling our company, and…
  • I know it will be grit that will keep me going after whatever unfortunate thing that happens because life is never perfect.

As important as Grit is to success, you also need luck.

Show me a successful entrepreneur, and I’ll show you a lucky entrepreneur. In my case:

  • I was lucky to be born in the United States to two very supportive parents, and…
  • I was lucky to be born into a middle to upper-middle class family. I never had to worry about going hungry, or whether I would ever want for anything. Further…
  • I was lucky that my parents strongly believed in education. It was a given that I was going to go to college. Not every kid can say that. Plus…
  • I was lucky I inherited my Dad’s math genes and my Mom’s writing genes. Both have served my well over the years. And…
  • I was lucky to go to college at a time when it was unbelievably cheap, so I could pay my way through school. Then…
  • I was unbelievably lucky to work in the Semiconductor industry during its 1990’s boom, and…
  • I lucky to join one of the most successful companies of that era (Maxim Integrated Products), so I ended up learning a ton and having tremendous responsibility at a young age. Then…
  • I happened to meet my wife because she parked her car next to mine just as I was walking out of the Decathlon Club after a Saturday morning workout. Talk about luck!

None of these “achievements” required any skill. I was just lucky.

You need to take advantage of the opportunities grit and luck bring you.

I can’t say that I took advantage of every opportunity that came my way but I took advantage of enough of them to have success. For example:

  • I took advantage when the 64th VC we approached was interested in investing in our company, and…
  • I took advantage of the six weeks we had after going to minimum wage to get three term sheets, and…
  • All those years ago, I talked to the beautiful woman who parked her car next to mine that Saturday morning. I wouldn’t have the beautiful family I have if I didn’t take advantage.

You get the idea. There’s only so much grit and luck can do for you. You have to seize the moment too.

For more, read: What’s The One Trait All Successful Entrepreneurs Have? — Brett J. Fox

Written by

I work with startup CEOs to help them grow their businesses . I built several businesses from $0 to >$100M. Learn more at www.brettjfox.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store