"I'd learned quickly and built knowledge," he said. "I had a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset."
The process also highlighted to Long the answer to one of greatest questions for entrepreneurs: The secret to a successful business, Long said, is team and timing. And so, when Stacck's co-founder was headhunted two years after launch and Long was unable to suitably replace him, he felt the best option was to cut his losses and sell the business.
"I'm not a first-time entrepreneur who did it and boom," said Long. "Everyone wishes they could be that. But, in reality, I realized it takes time to build the skills and it also matters about the team. The 0.01 percent who make it first off have the right timing and the right team."
Long ultimately made little return from the sale of his third business, and for the past six months has been working full-time in fintech at Citibank. That hasn't dampened his spirit, though. In fact, with those lessons under his belt, Long said he feels he's in a better position than ever to give entrepreneurship another go.
Through his new mentorship platform, "Unaverage," Long hopes to move the needle on traditional perceptions of success and failure and encourage 2020 young people set and achieve 2020 exceptional goals by the year 2020. He plans to monetize the service either through sponsorship or a membership fee, and will continue to work part-time at Citibank.
"A lot of people look at failure as an end point, but it leads you to the same door as the door for success," said Long. "It says ‘Exit,’ but you turn around and it says ‘Entrance.’”
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