5 Successful Startups that Almost Failed and the Lessons We Can Get from Them

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Starting your career as an entrepreneur is a risky move. In fact, most startup businesses meet their demise shortly after takeoff. However, it doesn’t mean that becoming a successful entrepreneur is not possible. To make things more clear, just have a look at this saying, commonly quoted in the world of entrepreneurs; “The day I quit is the day before I succeed.” It is true, as most of the well-established companies after experiencing their moments of uncertainty and failure managed to survive during such rough days.

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So, if you are in a state of ambiguity about whether to carry on with your startup business or put a halt to it, just keep reading the success stories mentioned ahead. It will help you ascertain the fact that nothing is impossible and quitting is not the only option.



Reddit is a social networking, news, and entertainment website launched by two co-founders, Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian. During its early phase, Reddit was much similar to any other emerging website. It was a worst-case scenario as there were hardly any visitors.

However, at present, Reddit receives 169 million unique visitors every month. It surely is huge traffic for a website, launched just ten years ago. These numbers sound lucrative and force you to wonder whether your website will ever touch those heights. The humble beginning of Reddit’s success story surely provides an insight into the fact that nothing is impossible.

Since the launch of Reddit in June 2005, Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian have had nothing on their minds except the success of their joint venture. Rather than sitting on a cozy couch and waiting for visitors to land on the site, they started to implement their plan.

To keep the things moving, both founders set up fake user accounts. By doing so, they created a bulletin board-style site and involved themselves in conversations. These fake accounts served in a dual manner by providing much-needed users and setting the actual tone of the website.



At present, Airbnb is worth no less than $25 billion and the figure is rising every day. Obviously, things were not the same during the early stages of its launch. Similar to most of startups, early days were quite tough for Brian Chesky and his partner when they launched the company in 2008. There was a time when investors turned Airbnb down by refusing to invest but now they are throwing money at it.

So, what actually turned a rejected company like Airbnb into a highly valued start-up? They created special-edition Cheerios cereal boxes, named after the two presidential candidates of 2008 elections; “Cap’n McCains” for John McCain and “Obama O’s” for Barack Obama. This simple yet remarkable idea helped them to raise much-needed funds to keep Airbnb running.



Four years after its launch, GoDaddy was still struggling.  Bob Parsons, the founder of GoDaddy, was thinking of getting rid of this company before losing everything he owned. Just then a moment came which changed the whole perspective. It happened in Hawaii when he saw the valet parking cars. These valets seemed to be as happy as a lark.

In the spur of a moment, Parsons started to realize that if he went broke, the worst thing is that he would become a valet. Suddenly, as he revamped his thinking, a positive attitude developed in him. It was the strength of inspiration, which made GoDaddy a profitable company after a few months.



Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, co-founders of Uber, conceived this idea in early 2009; however, the first UberCab app was introduced in 2010. Just a few months after its launch, UberCab got its first cease-and-desist letter, which resulted in changing company’s name to ‘Uber’. It was just a start and Uber kept facing issues with each passing day.

The list of odds is endless, yet Uber is still growing.

The Muse


The Muse serves as a career destination offering everything from sharing career advice to a handy job board. Although it faced plenty of buzz just after its launch in early 2012, co-founder Kathryn Minshew was determined to continue with this venture. It’s a known fact that spreading the word about your newly established business is the fastest and most influencing way to share the limelight.

So, Minshew followed the same pattern. She sorted out her Gmail account to get all the email addresses of people and organizations she had ever emailed. By doing so, Minshew collected more than 1,000 Email addresses and started to “spread the word” by simply emailing these addresses.

Minshew faced some issues, as Gmail had shut down her account while considering her as a spammer. However, she managed to succeed to get the desired results.

Lessons to Learn From Above-Mentioned Success Stories

success and failure

Make Your Website Look Busy

It’s all about stealing the attention. If there are plenty of visitors on a website, it suggests that there is something attractive or new in it.  So, try to gather some visitors for your website. But make sure to use the right tools for this purpose.

Never Give Up

The struggle is the only key to gain success. So, keep yourself busy in striving towards your goal, even if others are saying no. Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky, the founders of Airbnb, have seen tough times in generating traffic to their site. They decided to keep going instead of closing their business and this attitude helped them in building an enterprise, now known as Airbnb.

Don’t Be Afraid of Failures

To be successful, you need to be more passionate and committed, especially while facing the overwhelming odds and catastrophic situations. The question here is that what is the worst that will happen if you fail. In fact, failure gives you a chance to learn something, which in the end helps you to move on. So, there is nothing worse with failure, rather it is a blessing in disguise.

Improvise Odds Into Opportunities

Despite the nerve-wracking issues faced by Uber, it not only survived but also thrived to become an example for newcomers. In other words, worst-case scenarios offer something for your survival. Uber is based on an idea to serve the common people and they love these services without caring about issues encircling this company.

Chose a Well Defined Plan

Using guerrilla-marketing tactics is not a bad idea to spread your business. However, try to keep things as simple and clear as you can. Spamming anyone was not Minshew’s intention, yet she was blacklisted, as Gmail was unaware of the fact what she was up to. If you are thinking of using similar guerrilla marketing tactics for business promotions, try to use other much effective tools.

Startup Tools – Most Important!!!

Apart from all the things we learned from these almost failed startup companies, we learned a very important thing. Guess what? STARTUP TOOLS! Startup tools are really necessary to set up things in a quick manner and manage them in the long run. With startup tools, you can do things in minutes those otherwise take days or even weeks. These tools basically help you in automating things while leaving your focus on the more important things.

How do you find the best startup tools for your business? Freelance Bundle is the way to go! It not only helps you in getting the right set of tools, but also explains how to use them to get as much outcome as possible. Go through the Startup tools listed here and don’t hesitate to purchase them since they really add value to your efforts.

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