Building a startup is hard. I might even say it’s extreme. As an example, Jack Dorsey works 16 hours a day. First he works 8 hours at Twitter, after which he walks two blocks and continues his day with an 8 hour shift at Square (a payment startup). I think he’s a tad crazy and it’s not something to be idolized, but he sure is doing an amazing job. Without any doubt, both startups are extremely successful. Everyone knows Twitter, and Square is now processing $11 million a day in payments. Thanks, Jack. However, before a startup’s success there’s usually an enormous emptyness. Keep in mind that success does not come overnight. This period of emptyness was defined as the ‘Trough of Sorrow’ by Paul Graham at a certain YCombinator dinner, and here is were many business fail in their first twelve months. It’s the dark side of entrepreneurship (let’s be a little realistic, cause we tend to only read the media’s success stories). A complete startup curve looks something like this:
Let me explain. When your startup first launches and gets some press coverage, there will be loads of people interested in it. You just got TechCrunch’ed! However, don’t be naive. Novelty wears off soon and probably 10% (if you’re lucky) will return to your website. Welcome to the trough of sorrow. As a successful startup founder, of course you won’t be dejected (or at least you think so). You keep releasing improvements to the product and listen to your users’ feedback. But after a while you just keep thinking why the f$!@% you still aren’t attracting more users. Where the hell is that hockey stick curve?! That’s the tipping point for most businesses. The inevitable crash of ineptitude. Some businesses that carry on will one day reach the promised land, but beware there’s usually more than one brick wall for you hit. Just keep building this damn product.
So how does one survive this trough of sorrow? First of all, ask yourself if you’re really committed. You’re just fooling yourself if you’re not committed. And you’re f%#king your co-founders by the way too (and not in the good way). Like pregnancy, commitment is not a continuum. You’re either pregnant or not. 90% commitment is 10% excuses, and they don’t survive the trough of sorrow. Secondly, have you got the necessary skills to build or promote the product? You need the technical chops to deliver a product, or at least be able to acquire customers. Be honest with yourself. And at last, reset your expectations. Your buggy and dysfunctional prototype will not be bought for $200 million by Google (unless your name is Color).
Yes, the trough of sorrow can be really demotivating, but in the end you have to be persevere and try to continue. Having a tight team will probably help you through this hard period. Talk to your co-founders. A lesser period happens to almost every startup, including those that are really successful nowadays:
This is exactly what justin.tv’s traffic curve looks like. I joined just around the first Wiggles Of False Hope. 
Good luck to everyone in the trough of sorrow though. Believe in your product and team. Keep hustling every day. One day you’ll know what you’ve worked for. Or at least that’s what you and I hope.