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Either the best or worst day of my life

a guest May 16th, 2013 42,946 Never
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  1. HN,
  2.  
  3. I'm not sure how much longer I can take this. I feel like we're doing everything wrong.
  4.  
  5. A little over a year ago, I was asked to start this company with two very non-technical family members (blue-collar "businessy guys") who had previously had success with brick-and-mortar businesses but know/knew nothing of the tech world. Their idea started small, and it was going to require very little money to get off the ground, but – as these things sometimes do – it grew and grew and is now an ambitious project, the technical side of which I'm proud of.
  6.  
  7. Early on, they raised money through private investment, which was fine at the time – our costs weren't high, and we weren't planning on taking salaries until we launched. I had accrued a decent savings in my first job out of college, and felt comfortable that I could survive for a few months without taking a salary.
  8.  
  9. Fast forward to fifteen months later, and I still haven't taken one. I've had the company write me a few checks, but I'm struggling to make ends meet (side jobs, etc., when I have time), and those guys so adept at raising small money early on turn out to be not as good at raising big money later in the game. The first investment meeting I attended was with a VC group that completely shot us down. I considered leaving the company at that point, but I gave them a last chance to raise the money and prove to me that all of the (valid) arguments posed the VC were FUD and that we'd be fine. I've been told "we're really close on so and so" for the last month or two. My faith is shaken. I don't trust them anymore. I agree with the VC.
  10.  
  11. I believe in our product, but I don't believe in our business model.
  12.  
  13. When asked by friends doing "normal" jobs what it's like running a startup (my first one, mind you), I respond half-jokingly that every day is either the best or worst day of my life, that I've experienced the highest highs and lowest lows of my short career. I've learned more in the last year than I have at any other point in my life, and I've become a better programmer and designer. I've always said that even if this doesn't work out, I'll have become a better, more capable professional in the end. And I feel that I have. But I still feel like shit.
  14.  
  15. I think my co-founders are idiots, that they fouled up their side of the deal, but I feel as though I've invested too much time and energy to bail now.
  16.  
  17. I'm not sure why I write this, but I know why I post it here: I feel so detached from startup culture, so like an observer, that I suppose I'm looking for validation or empathy from within. I have nobody to talk to about this (despite my extremely kind, emotionally generous girlfriend's best attempts), and I don't know what to do. I can't imagine working for a big corporation again, but should I just give it up and get a "normal" job for a little while to build up some savings again before embarking on the next venture?
  18.  
  19. Please help.
  20.  
  21. - A lost friend
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