You Have to Love the Puzzle


“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.”

Entrepreneurs, if your initial solution or strategy doesn’t play out as expected…


– It’s OK

– You haven’t failed

If, however, your first big swing at the problem DID connect, what you’re actually experiencing is the sound of your alarm clock…because you’re dreaming.

Too often we see entrepreneurs groom their solutions into things they adore and cherish, and then they hastily look for a problem to solve with it before they starve to death or call it quits.

Entrepreneurship should always start with problems, not solutions.


So you stepped up to the plate and took a swing. “Strike One”. You haven’t wasted your time! You researched along the way, you spoke with valuable stakeholders (customers, users, donors, etc.), you made tactical decisions, and you took a risk with your time and personal brand to start walking down a road that taught you many things. That’s awesome and highly encouraged. You’re not a failure.

Now, get back to basics, and revisit the original problem that called you to action in the first place. Ask yourself:

– Is it still a problem?

– Has the problem changed or evolved based on your learnings?

– Is it a problem that you still feel click here passionately about?

– Does it seem like a solve-able problem (most are)?

If the passion is still there (which is a pre-requisite) then take another shot, or two. Incorporate your learnings to date, and see if there is another approach to solving the problem that you believe is feasible and effective. Get scrappy and clever and devise a new and improved solution. Focus on VALIDATING from the beginning so you can determine quickly whether or not to pour more gas on it, and double down with your time, energy and resources. Test against real people; users, pilots, customers, etc. Get out of your head and out of the office!!! Do all of this before making the decision to take everything behind the shed and shoot it.

‘Struggle’ is a guarantee, and it’s a good thing. Entrepreneurship isn’t easy, it’s rarely overnight, and no story in the press will do justice to the daily emotional rollercoaster that entrepreneurs face. If it were easy, it wouldn’t be so rewarding.

– It won’t be handed to you.

Entrepreneurship is as much about the process and journey as it is about the outcome. You have to love the puzzle itself.

So, what was the problem that called you to action in the first place?