You can recover from a really bad start, I have proof.
My first domain held a website that was awful in every sense. Horrible coding (I didn't know how yet), horrible SEO (had no clue about titles and descriptions) and horrible user experience (visitors didn't know where to find pages I didn't bother to interlink from, sheesh).
I gave up on the site, let it expire and continued doing what I was good at for others, proof-reading and writing. On a whim I tested an early google pagerank tool and entered my old domain name, it had jumped to PR3 AFTER it was inactive.
I bought the domain back from my old host that hadn't released it yet and proceeded to learn about every aspect of being a webmaster. Today it's my best site and I had to throw it away to realize it.
Without that bad start, and a hail marry google tool catch, I wouldn't be a webmaster today. I'd say recovery is possible under many impossible circumstances.