About facing setbacks


So I develop further and further on a web project. I put in some considerable amount of money. But the more I develop the less I enjoy doing it, I hate it, doing it all on my own. All the time new specifications appear, new limits and so on. I feel like knowing nothing.

I am often like throwing all over board. But all the invested money would be gone.

How do I make myself keep going?

I am not asking for stupid "Keep on doing, you will make it"-advice but something real, tailored to the situation, which all people face.

Motivation Failure

asked Dec 11 '12 at 14:48
31 points
  • Most of the startups do end up throwing it all over board. Why are you alone? Maybe you should team up with someone who can attract investors (and that will also attract positive criticism and more market driven development). – Littleadv 8 years ago
  • I gave an answer to a similar situation here - perhaps it can help: http://www.brightjourney.com/q/just-lost-business-mind-think-straight In addition: Main thing is to not juggle too many balls at the same time. Get them down, one at the time. – Ken Abdias Software 8 years ago

3 Answers


I am often like throwing all over board. But all the invested money would be gone. Beware the sunk cost fallacy http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Sunk_cost_fallacy - sometimes throwing invested money away is the most sensible thing to do.

Flailing away at something that has no chance of success is just as harmful as not seeing a project through.

How do I make myself keep going? Figure out would need to happen to keep you on the project. What are your bounds for success and failure. Figure out what your assumptions are. Figure out ways to validate them. Set targets for reviewing and assessing your assumptions and whether it's worth while continuing.

If I'm selling hammers to Peruvian Nose Flute Carvers what's my biggest risk? Maybe it's finding a channel to that market. So I might look at my costs and figure out that I need to bring in 10 new customers a week to turn a profit.

So before doing anything else I might see if I can get 20 Peruvian Nose Flute Carvers added to my address book over the next four weeks. Just to discover whether I have some sort of channel to the market.

If I can - yay I dig in some more. Maybe look to get 20 Peruvian Nose Flute Carvers interested in hammer purchases over a four week period.

If I can't maybe it's time to reassess my target market. Or my business.

Setting short term goals and targets help you evolve your business based on real feedback from customers. They also give you some positive feedback along the way to the "big" goals to keep you motivated.

If none of your intermediate goals ever succeed - then it's probably time to reassess whether the business model works in it's current state.

answered Dec 11 '12 at 20:27
Adrian Howard
2,357 points


Where are the new specifications coming from?

I guess you've not made any money from your project yet or you would not be so depressed.

If possible, figure out the minimum viable product and if you're there already then stop working and start selling.

If you're adding new features because the core product is not selling, I doubt adding new features will help.

It is incredibly tough working on your own - if you can possibly find a development partner your productivity won't just double it'll quadruple.

answered Dec 15 '12 at 06:06
Dave Hilditch
227 points


Release something to the public. Their feedback will motivate you to improve the thing and to keep going.

answered Dec 15 '12 at 05:06
Z Boss
132 points

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