Saving my business while being a stay-at-home dad wasn’t easy

Jun 5, 2015 at 6:05 p.m. ET
Image: JGI/Jamie Grill/Blend Images/Getty Images

Fear. It either defines us, or makes us stronger.

After completing a tech startup accelerator in the spring of 2013 and raising $300,000 in investment capital for my business, I was in a constant state of anxiety, which I now know was fear.

Fear of not being able to prove my business idea was viable. Fear of running out of cash before being ready to take the business to the next level. And I was afraid if those things happened, the business would fail.

In the spring of 2014, my fears came to pass. The business struggled to get enough sales traction, despite being featured on the TODAY show. Investors walked away, I ran out cash and employees quit. I spent the summer of 2014 staring into the abyss with no answers, only questions.

I had to go home and be the primary caregiver of my then 18-month-old twins because we could no longer afford a full-time helper. Oh, and to make things even more interesting, I had to do so while trying to figure out how to fix the business and raise another round of much-needed capital.

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I watched sales rapidly decline and I was all alone on the journey. Both my personal and business bank account were at -$1,000, which is the point when the bank stopped clearing transactions. Some people close to me thought I should call it quits and find something else to do.

But I had hope.

I knew if I could just hold on and grind it out for a few more months, I had two major TV features coming up during the holidays that I hoped would turn things around. And that's exactly what happened. The fourth quarter was great and I was able to raise another $100,000 in capital for the business.

I learned we are stronger than we know. When you lean into your fears and really get to know them well, you can overcome them. And then a beautiful thing happens: You become emboldened, and you are no longer afraid.

What a wonderful gift.

The other important thing I learned is, if you're an entrepreneur, persistence is a greater virtue than patience. Persistence is what gets you through the fear.

So, if you're afraid, don't be. You can manage whatever the situation is and get to the other side. And when you do, you'll be a more incredible human being because of the experience.

Have you realized your fears? If so, how did you overcome them? Please share your story with me in the comments.

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