The On Deck Fellowship Week 5: The Turn Around

Amanda Emmanuel
3 min readMay 18, 2021

Last week I hit a bump in my entrepreneurship journey that de-railed me.

Thanks to OnDeck, I didn’t have much time to dwell. I had to face my reality and shared my story in 1:1s with fellow OnDeckers.

Turns out pushing through those 1:1s at the end of a mentally exhausting week was exactly what I needed. The Pity Party got cancelled, and I became re-energized to turn my damn ship around!

3 strategies I used to keep going

1. Don’t give up, take a break

From building several businesses over the years, I can say that sometimes the most powerful thing to do when you’re in a snafu is simply take a break.

I recognized I was having tunnel vision and getting hung up on all the reasons why my business wasn’t going to work. Rather than dwell on them, I gave myself the Saturday to simply do nothing. No business, no side projects, nothing.

I felt so unproductive, but on Sunday when I returned to my work I had a fresh, new perspective.

I have to remind myself to not give up and take a break instead.

2. Remember “why am I building this?”

With the sheer pace of On Deck coupled with building a real business it’s so easy to lose focus.

I was stuffing ideas and observations into my mind for ‘storage’ but it caused my thoughts jumble and I lost sight of what I was building and why.

To solve this, I went back to the drawing board and revised my 1-page strategy document with my latest insights.

As I reacquainted myself with what I was building and why — I felt energized. I knew that was a signal to keep going.

3. Talk to users

This was by far, the most powerful thing I did.

In product, the ultimate motivation is to build solutions that solve real problems for real people.

Another way to return to the problem is by talking to people, ie: users.

I leveraged my On Deck 1:1s to ask for introductions to potential customers. I was floored by their generosity, and more importantly how powerful those user interviews were.

I was getting first-hand feedback that there is a problem (several problems in fact). I felt re-energized that I was onto something, perhaps the business needed a few iterations but I recognize I’m delivering value to real people.

A sneaky secret of entrepreneurship is its mental component. Through the many ups and downs, the strength of mind is what pierces through the distractions to get you where you’re going.

This TikTok from Brian Koppelman, co-creator of TV series Billions, helped me recognize that my stumbling bumps are normal. They happen to everyone, even the most experienced people, and they’re nothing to be ashamed of. What matters most is how you get back up.

Brian Koppelman, Co-Creator of TV series Billions on pushing through the setback

There is no formula. As an entrepreneur, it’s on you alone to get yourself out of the holes you stumble into. Develop strategies that work for you.

When you get stumped take a step back, revisit your curiosity, and build for yourself.

I’ll be posting a weekly blog post about my experience so come along for the ride 🌊 🚢



Amanda Emmanuel

🦄 Product & Growth at early-stage startups 🚀 3X founder 😎 Blogs about entrepreneurship, mindset & startups 🏗 Always building