Startup Tip 60: It’s okay to make mistakes

Tonight I attended the Lean Startup Melbourne meetup and listened to a panel of founders who have all been through accelerator programs. One of the things they talked about was startup mistakes and I wanted to share their wisdom with you.

Success stories on TechCrunch often give us the impression that startup founders are super confident super heroes who don’t make startup mistakes. (After all would you admit to mistakes on TechCrunch?) However, these guys were honest (and courageous) enough to admit they are human, to the encouragement of everyone there.

These are their words, as I heard them:

 startup mistakes“It’s not true that you can’t start a startup because you don’t know what to do next.

Really no one has a clue what they are doing.

When you are in the middle of a startup, you feel like a total fraud.

A startup  is a series of mistakes that you make, until you stop making them and are successful.” [Tweet this]

– Fenn Bailey @fennb – Ycombinator participant and co-founder of Adioso

“Don’t worry about what you don’t know – just get shit done.”

– Alan Downie @alandownie  – Startmate participant and co-founder of Bugherd

And I love this response from Bowei Gai @Bowei – (500 Startups participant, co-founder of Cardmunch (sold to LinkedIn) and now founder of World Startup Report.) When asked “What would you do differently next time?” he replied,

“I wouldn’t do anything differently because its okay to make mistakes and every mistake you learn from. So keep on making mistakes.” [Tweet this]


The key takeaway here is that it is most important to keep doing stuff as quickly as you can and not worry too much about making mistakes. After all, so much of the startup journey is stepping into the unknown anyway. So embrace it!

Keep on doing stuff and making mistakes!

Join the conversation:

What mistakes have you made in your startup journey? What did you learn from them?

Please come and join me on Twitter or Facebook.

 Image used courtesy of under Creative Commons license.



  1. I absolutely agree and it’s a great point you are presenting. Making mistakes is not a problem, but not learning from them is. So, we got to keep making mistakes and keep learning more 🙂

  2. I agree with you, actions speak louder than words. I also think of this quote “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work – Thomas Edison, inventor and scientist”

  3. Great article. Especially the quote, “A startup is a series of mistakes that you make, until you stop making them and are successful.”

  4. I’d say I have more of a business than a start-up. If I were doing this again I would be more confident of my own knowledge, rely less on mentors … and take everything anyone said with a huge grain of salt! Rather than sign up for a mentoring program, I’d go with one-off coaching sessions with specialists. That’s why I offer those one-off sessions myself.

Speak Your Mind