Startups Anonymous: You may know my name, but I’m a fraud
[This is a weekly series that brings you raw, first-hand experiences from founders and investors in the trenches. Their story submissions are anonymous, allowing them to share openly without fear of retribution. Every Wednesday, we'll run one new story chosen by Dana Severson, who operates StartupsAnonymous, a place for startups to share, ask questions, and answer them in story-length posts, all anonymously. You can share your own story here.]
I’m a total fraud.
On the surface, it appears that I have everything together. I’m the founder of a fairly well-known (in the tech community) startup. If I were to assume, most people probably think that my company is doing well. I’ve been featured, covered and spoken about in many tech publications, in fact, just this week. I’m called upon for my “expert” opinion by these same publications from time to time. I’ve invested in two companies, not including my own and I’m contacted on a regular basis for pitches/advice. Oh, and I’m an “advisor” to a handful of companies.
What nobody knows is that I’m dead broke and looking for a job. My funding stream has all but dried up and I’m out of options. What’s worse, I’ve lost all confidence in my ability to execute on even the most fundamental business tasks, let alone anything that I once considered myself good at.
And I’m giving advice to others? Are you kidding me?
The problem is, my company isn’t failing, I’m failing and I don’t know what to do about it. How can I help others if I can’t even help myself?
Don’t get me wrong, while the company isn’t failing, it isn’t doing great either. It’s just doing, which is an extension of me.
Last week I started looking for work and I’m embarrassed as hell. I’m too ashamed to reach out to my contacts because I don’t want them aware of the situation that I’m in. On the other hand, if I’m to get a job anywhere, my contacts are my best shot.
Honestly though, I can’t help but wonder who would want to hire me. It’s clear as day that I’ve been an entrepreneur all of my career. With just the tiniest bit of research they can see that I’m still actively working on my own company. And, I’m certain that anyone I speak with at this point can clearly see my lack of conviction in anything that I say. Frankly, I wouldn’t hire me.
While I’m being honest, I might as well state that I really don’t want a job. Additionally, I’m not sure it’s fair to whoever is willing to hire me. I have no intention of sticking around. I’m only looking for a job out of necessity and will only be around as long as it takes to get my own shit in order.
I feel like a terrible person for even writing that, but it’s the God’s honest truth.
Job aside, I think I'm just sad and afraid.
I’m sad that at this stage of my life and career, this is where I’m at.
I’m afraid that I’ve missed my window of success, whatever that means.
I’m afraid (and sad) of being an employee.
I’m afraid that I’m getting too old to still be in limbo.
I’m afraid that what I think about myself might actually be true.
I’m afraid that those that look for my opinion and advice will see that I’m a fraud.
Bottom line, I’m afraid of being a failure.
Sometimes the hardest advice you have to give, is the advice you give to yourself. But, I can’t seem to even do that lately. I’m completely lost and looking for answers.