How I Managed The Disappointment Of Not Getting On Shark Tank

Disappointment is a part of life. This may be a biased comment, but disappointment feels more acute for people like entrepreneurs, who risk everything to make their dreams a reality.

Entrepreneurs quit their jobs, sacrifice relationships with friends and family, cash out their 401ks and run head-first into the unknown; that place in the universe filled with possibilities, tremendous joy and fulfillment. But also with lots of disappointment.

I’d like to share how I overcame the disappointment of not making it to the final round of auditions to get my company, WeMontage, on the incredibly popular TV show, Shark Tank.

Why I Wanted To Get On Shark Tank

I recently listened to a great audio book by Ben Horowitz called, The Hard Thing About Hard Things. I had one really great takeaway from the book:

  • When things get hard in your business and youโ€™re not sure if there is anything you can do to make a difference, you ALWAYS have a move.

Let me repeat that. You ALWAYS have a move.

Things have been extremely challenging at WeMontage since we ran out of funding back in the spring. I have a great product with hundreds of happy customers, but the biggest issue for the business is lack of consistent national exposure.

Shark Tank has 20 million viewers. So, while it was a complete long-shot, getting on the show was my move. And doing so obviously would have addressed what I’ve identified as the major issue for the business.

I made it to the next-to-last round of auditions, but did not get the call to go to LA to pitch the Sharks. Cause for disappointment? Perhaps…

How I Handled The Disappointment Of Not Getting On Shark Tank

I initially thought I didn’t make it to the second round of auditions because people in line around me at the audition got their call back and I hadn’t; I was really upset about this because the producer said my pitch was great. I eventually did get the call a few days later and was super-pumped about it.

No Shark Tank
I did not make it to pitch the Sharks in the Tank.

After I prepared my 9 minute pitch video for the producers and submitted my lengthy application, a funny thing occurred. I made a conscious decision that it didn’t matter what happened next, as I knew I had put forth my absolute best effort. I think that choice was inspired by something Ariana Huffington said in an interview about her new book, Thrive.

Ariana, a super-Type A personality, said she realized she can only control 10% of what happens in life, so she does her 10% at 100% of her ability and trusts the Universe to handle the other 90%. So, maybe that’s what I did too. Or maybe I just released the whole thing because I’ve learned that my greatest disappointments in life have been when I expected a certain outcome and it didn’t come to pass. Or maybe it was some subconscious effort to protect my mental health. I actually think it was a combination of all three of these things.

Surprisingly though, I wasn’t disappointed to learn I didn’t make it to Shark Tank. Plus, I came to the realization that Shark Tank is not the only avenue of promoting a brand. In fact, there’s much less stressful and worrisome ways that don’t include being featured on TV! These include RangeMe, a site dedicated to exposing your brand to buyers, as well as the biggest retailers around! If you would like to know how to sell wholesale whilst promoting a brand, RangeMe is a useful option.

Disappointment Of Others Who Support You

My wife has been incredibly supportive throughout this entrepreneurial journey. When I didn’t hear back about making it to LA, she was still optimistic it was going to happen. Once the trailers for the new season of Shark Tank started airing, the reality set in that I wasn’t going to be on the show and I could tell she was disappointed. And for the first time in the last three years, she began to question the feasibility of me accomplishing my dream of making WeMontage a household name.

She asked me, “Do you think WeMontage is going to happen.” My answer surprised even me. I didn’t hesitate in my response, “Yes, I do. I don’t know exactly how at this point, but I’m ok with that. I have a few tangible things coming up soon, that should make a huge difference.”

I was grateful she accepted that answer without hesitation. I was even more impressed that I still had the resilience in me to respond so affirmatively and so quickly in that way.

Suggestions For Managing Disappointment

I looked around the internet to see what others recommend for handling disappointment. I found a few practical, platitude-free suggestions in an article over at Here are five recommendations in the article for how to effectively cope with disappointment.

1. Manage emotion
2. Donโ€™t take it personally
3. Review expectations
4. Take a big picture perspective
5. Try again โ€” or try another tack

I think I’ve used all of these tips during the last three years of chasing my dream. The thing I think I’m best at on this list though is number “5”, which is being resilient.


Resilience Matters

In my experience, the one thing that has consistently kept me moving forward, other than the support of my amazing wife, loving family, and friends, is resilience.

There have been plenty of times I’ve wanted to quit, but I haven’t.

I still might quit…

But not today.

How have you dealt with disappointment as it relates to being an entrepreneur? Are there things you can share that might help others? Please do so in the comments.

[Tweet “How I handled the disappointment of not getting on #SharkTank | #entrepreneur”]

2015 Update

I auditioned again in 2015, and once again made it to the next-to-last round, but didn’t get the call to go to LA to pitch the Sharks.

Photo Credit: (header) Porsche Brosseau anguish

Positive side


  1. James, I think you are amazing and your outlook here definitely proves it. I totally think WeMontage will become a household name and then I will get to say, “I knew hime when!” ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I think it’s wonderful that you’re managing disappointment. I’m not very good with criticism, rejections, or even such cases in which there are just many wonderful applicants. I always wish I could stand out more. Be more.
    Your next big thing is around the corner, or already here. You’re awesome.

    1. Thanks, Tamara. Your work is amazing. I’m here if you need someone to be a sounding board for any ideas you have.

  3. I think you have a great attitude. I don’t know how or when, but I believe in WeMontage as well! You have a great product, and I am pulling for you!

  4. There is a saying The darkest hour is just before Dawn. (not sure who said it first). That quote has helped me many times. Sometimes the sun did rise and things were good.
    The thing I really like about you is, you’ve learned not to take things personally and you never give up.
    You are an inspiration.

  5. Out of the 40,000+ Entrepreneurs auditioning last year for the Shark Tank, “YOU Made It” farther than 98% of them. That’s a huge accomplishment thousand’s of entrepreneurs can only dream about and something to be very proud of knowing you’re on the right track.

    Looking at the glass half-full, you now have a “Major Advantage” auditioning for Shark Tank Season 7 because of this valuable learning experience. Now you know “exactly” what it will take to get on the Show!

    Congratulation’s on all the success you’ve had building WeMontage, and will continue to have in the future!

    1. Thanks, John. I just learned GrooveBook was bought by Shutterfly for $14 million. I’ll definitely try again next year.

  6. For as far as you’ve come and as much as you’ve done, and the consistent positive mental attitude and the resilience, you’ve already won. It’s just a matter of time for the winning to catch up with you. Congrats, you’re an inspiration!
    Jeff Jackson

    1. Thanks for the invitation. Just sent a request to join. I have another friend or two who have auditioned, is it ok if I invite them to join the group, too?

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