Startup Life - Are You Able To Go The Distance?

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In my opinion, it takes a special kind of person to start his or her own company. I've started 5 companies so far, and I didn’t realize that was true until the other day. A good friend told me that anyone who starts a company, or loves the startup life, is a little crazy and a glutton for punishment. Hmmm... really? I guess I've heard statements like "you need to have thick skin" and a "lot of passion" in order to go it on your own.

After a little reflection, I realized she was 100% right. Startups aren’t for everyone - they're for emotional folks like myself who like to do things differently. In order to win at the startup game you have to have a few qualities inside in order to survive the roller-coaster ride called startup life.

AJ VernetFirst off, you need a great idea. Then you need to add in a little bit of passion, some stubbornness and a love of being a lone ranger. But most of all, you need to be 100% (110%, 150%) committed to the mission ahead! These are the basic essentials I see in the successful entrepreneurs I admire. All the great ones have them - check and see. These are the traits that help get you out of bed on the days when you've been knocked down or are too freaked out to carry on. After all, this is startup life and it's an erratic ride of emotional ups and downs.

But the one thing I see in almost all startup founders is a will to survive. The will to keep going at all costs and never ever give up! You don’t always have to be the brightest person in the room to survive - sometimes you just have to want it the most!

The poem below was given to me by my mom a long time ago when I went to college. Since then, it's been the single most influential and uplifting piece of literature in my life. It drives me to finish all the projects I start. After talking with a bunch of other start-up founders, I found a lot of us believe in this philosophy - that failure isn’t an option.

Read this and pass it along... Who knows, maybe it will change your future or frame of mind...

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will.
When the road you’re trudging seems all-uphill,
When the funds are low, and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is strange with its twist and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When we might have won had we stuck it out;
Don’t give up through the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.

Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you can never tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It's when things seem worst
That you must not quit.

(Author Unknown)

AJ Vernet is Founder and CEO of Republic Project, which is a Los Angeles and New York based digital and video production company positioned to partner with agencies, creative firms, publishers and brands as a scalable and seamless production resource. AJ can be reached at

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