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The Second Step to Making it as a Startup

This article is written by Munira Hussein, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.

Steli Efti was one of the speakers at Startup Istanbul 2015 Conference. He spoke about the importance of learning how to hustle and why it will help you on your way to becoming successful entrepreneur.

Often times, you feel like you have hit it off with a customer or an investor. After your meeting, you send follow-up emails and messages without getting any response. It can be frustrating and demoralizing. You cannot quit trying. Nothing is easy in life and the challenge is your way of learning how to be strong for your dreams.

Hard as it is to show up, you have to. Breaking this wall doesn’t mean you do not have others left. It only means you are one step closer now.   The success is in in the follow up and follow through. It is where other people are making fortunes and crashing it. The failure of most people comes at this stage. Once you move past the follow up stage, you are well on your way. Unfortunately, it is where  most people fail.

Follow up stage is where you are the only one competing. When you send a follow up email that is not responded to, don’t give up especially if you have had a connection with the person. They might have promised to buy your product or invest in your business. Don’t make up a story of rejection and go back to your little sadness cocoon, thinking that your product was not good enough.

Sometimes, it is not about you or your product and the only way you get to find that out is by ensuring you get a response. Their silence does not equal rejection, you are not a mind reader, your hypothesis should be that your contact is busy and has life, his/her kid got sick or you are just not a priority right now.  Follow up indefinitely, forever until you hear back from them.

Steli had sent 48 emails before getting a response. His contact had been on a business trip and got in touch as soon as he was back. You have to show that you want it as bad as you say you do. If you believe in the goodness and greatness of your product, there is no reason why you shouldn’t fight hard for its success. You will only get your value and satisfaction in its success. The essence of your business is your fulfilment.

You do not have to be an intellectual in order to succeed. Remember it is not that hard. You just have to keep following through and increase your chances of making it rather than assuming that your contact didn’t want your product, and then justifying your failure.

Only remember one thing, pain and discomfort is the signal. That you are going in the right direction. Get as uncomfortable as possible. Bother people with emails and calls, push for your product, reach out to investors and customers. Keep pitching and recreating until you have a product that s fit for the market and valuable to your customers. The first rule of business is empathy. Follow through, ask for feedback and keep growing.


─ February 17, 2020