There have been days, especially when I started my first two businesses, when I was seriously stressed. What if I could not make the payroll? What about cash flow when the business was growing and expenses were due now but customers didn’t pay until the end of the month?

What if … for most small business owners, the real end to that sentence is … “if I fail?

We all know that a substantial percentage of small businesses fail.

What if I fail?

Like many people, I’ve been fascinated in the turning to look at a wreck on the freeway sort of way by the blog “My startup has 30 days to live.”

It’s very sad and sometimes as I read it I think of the best lesson my late father-in-law left us. When he passed away, the only thing The Invisible Developer asked of his mother is if he could have the sign that was in the garage.repair shop sign

Forty years or so ago, my father-in-law started a business,  a TV and radio repair shop. Eventually, televisions and radios became cheaper and more people decided to just toss the thing and buy a new one. That was the end of De Mars TV & Radio repair.

What happened  to my father-in-law, the “failed” small businessman? He went on to work for a large company, the same company that sponsored a National Merit Scholarship that sent The Invisible Developer to UCLA to pick up degrees in math and physics, free of charge. He went on to buy a house in the suburbs, raise four children, stay married to his wife over fifty years until death did them part.

You know those families you see on 1950s sit coms? THEY ACTUALLY EXIST! I really think Leave it to Beaver was filmed in my in-laws’ living room.

What did his family  think about his failed endeavor? The first time she saw the sign, The Spoiled One exclaimed,

“Wow! Grandpa started his own business when he was young? That’s cool. I never knew that.”

As for The Invisible Developer and me, things are going pretty well with the business. (However, if you would like to buy a pre-release license that gets you three games for $35 please rush on over to 7 Generation Games and do so.)

Still, we keep the sign around as visible reminder that …

If I fail, it’s very likely that I’ll go on, do something else and have a perfectly fine life.

So, my advice to you, young entrepreneurs is to work hard but don’t worry so much. The most likely scenario is that you’ll be fine one way or another.

And that’s number 46 of 55 things I have learned in (almost) 55 years.



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