You were all tingly and awash in visions of telling your boss to take a hike and speeding off in your Ferrari. It was going to be an epic day.
Then do you remember how that idea tanked miserably and you tried not to mention to anyone that your epic day turned into an epic fail?
Yeah, I’ve been there too.
I’ve had to suck it up and admit that my business idea didn’t quite pan out as planned and I still had to work for The Man. It sucked. It’s humbling. And yet it’s an essential part of the growth process from a business and personal development perspective.
Today is all about admitting that we’ve been there and we’re wiser for it. It’s one thing to hit a pothole on the roads of your journey; it’s another thing entirely to work in circles repeatedly slamming the same one.
Oh, and you can thank Sarah for inspiring me to share this post. You can read hers here when we’re finished.
First off: It’s OK to Slip Up
We’re not going to hit one out of the park on our first swing. We may not even on our 10th; but we can adjust and keep working to get there.
It’s OK to be all jeeped up about your latest idea. That passion will fuel your drive and creativity so embrace it. It’s also okay to tell everyone what you’ve got coming down the line, particularly if you feed off the encouragement and input you’ll get.
But if your idea doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it after:
- Countless sleepless nights
- Numerous iterations of the initial concept
- Telling the world you are on the brink
- Adjusting on the fly
Then you either have to reach out to others for insight (perhaps even ask a savvy community) or admit that you’ve invested too many resources into a failing project.
Just know that it happens to the best of us and since the scenarios are too vast to discuss here, only you’ll know when it’s time to let go (try not to let your ego get in the way).
Educate others in business
Let’s be honest, we all get a chuckle out of other people’s bonehead ideas. It’s a tad humorous watching someone careening toward the metaphorical wall. But let’s play nice.
If you’ve “been there, done that” offer your fellow businessperson some advice. Don’t shoot down their idea. Simply share the good, the bad, and the ugly with them. You never know, they may take the idea in a direction you never thought possible.
So, encourage others but educate them as best you can based on your experience. Do you remember all that frustration and humiliation you had from your fail? Well…helping others avoid the same mistakes is where you’ll find redemption.
Your business strategy needs tweaking. So does mine. We’re growing and nobody’s born knowing everything they’re supposed to for success. Before you embark on a new endeavor get down and dirty with market research and also ask yourself some important questions…
- Why are you going to even attempt this? (your deep-down, core “why”)
- Who is this going to help?
- Does it solve a real pain or problem?
- Will I be offering something with my own USP or am I another “me too” marketer?
Take the time to learn about the market, the potential pitfalls, costs, and your exit strategy. Use your noodle and reflect on your mistakes. Then do your absolute best to apply that knowledge so you don’t make a goof of yourself again.
My business fail reel
Now, bear in mind this highlight reel dates back over 10 years ago so I feel comfortable sharing these with you. They helped mold me into who I am today. Sadly, this is by no means a complete list.
That said, here are a couple gems from my past…
Fail #1: One day I woke up and thought it would be sheer genius to buy and sell cars without
A. Being licensed
B. An inspection station or mechanic
C. Registering the vehicles
D. A car lot
It turned out the police in my State didn’t appreciate me driving around in unregistered vehicles purchased from public auctions.
The story is long and involves a lot of blue flashing lights, but the bottom line is all those shenanigans wound up getting my drivers license pulled for a time. They also abruptly ended my promising career as a used car dealer.
Fail #2: There was this earth-shattering idea of mine to send Company XYZ (don’t recall the real name) a $39 registration fee. What for, you ask?
So they would send me product circulars (think: paper brochures) and the envelopes to “stuff” them in. I was convinced I was going to stuff envelopes all the way to a beach house in the tropics.
The package came, the circulars were junk, and I stuffed the envelopes like a boss anyway and then mailed them out.
I wish I had some great follow-up here but that’s the last thing that happened. I mailed them. Then I never heard anything from anyone involved in that process ever again. (Now that I think of it, I’ll see if I can track them down to get my $39 back.)
Fail #3: The year was 1999 and I bought a book on HTML. It was time for me to build a website and make my first million.
The site went up in about a weekend; spinning GIF images, marquee text scrolling across the screen, garish colors I mean you name it. This was a prize-winner (hey, I’ve gotten better).
My angle: selling floppy disks loaded with info products along with master resell rights. I was even kind enough to let eBay help me regurgitate a few of those into the marketplace. The site sold zero but I did have a few successful auctions.
(I’d be okay with never having to face the winning bidders in my lifetime.)
There’s still a box of those floppy disks sitting in my shed (I don’t know why I kept them). But, luckily for all of you, I’m fairly certain my brother and I were the only two humans that saw the site.
We can never un-see that site.
Learn from your mistakes
So, we all make some silly moves. It’s life. We have to learn and you may even be in the middle of a project right now that isn’t quite lining up perfectly. That’s all right. You’ll get it. Just learn from your mistakes and realize that you’re not alone.
Then I want you to keep on trying.
You can share your fails below if you’d like or poke fun at mine Either way, let’s put our failures behind us because where we’re headed together, there will be no epic failing.