Here’s a little countdown for you that was inspired by a video I watched yesterday (I’ll post a link at the end, it’s super!). I’ve called it 10 Things You Might Not Know About Me, because well, we’re just getting to know each other a little bit!
#10- I’ve Failed.
Yup, I admit it, I have failed. It is not always rosey and cheery and puppies and unicorns in the world of small business, just as it is with life in general. I have certainly made my fair share of mistakes and errors, and yes even what I would call great failures.
Personally, I don’t think there is anything to be ashamed of about your failures, as long as you come out of them having grown and learned a lesson from it. A lot of great businesses have grown directly from a failure of some kind. Jochan Schleese from Schleese Saddles often tells the story of how he failed his horse as a competitive rider, and from that failure he studied and learned and developed his saddle systems and philosophy. You can hear some of his story here.
Jochan’s failure was a very personal and emotional one, and one that has driven everything that he has done in his business since for the benefit of a great many horses and their riders.
My failure I was not quite so emotionally attached to, but it certainly effected my bank balance. I started an online business a couple of years after returning from traveling and working in the UK and Europe. I did very little preparation. I did no market research. I knew nothing about importing, pricing, websites, e-commcere, marketing. I had no business experience at all, apart from working freelance previously, and some good copy writing skills. I started that business basically with $2000 and my credit cards, and trundled along for almost 4 years getting more and more in debt, listening to more and more poor advice from people who did not understand my market or what I had of value to offer. I ended up in a lot of debt.
That first business failed. I failed. I made poor decisions, sought the wrong advice and even though my products were fabulous and my pricing was reasonable, I never got ahead of the game.
I learned a lot from that failure though. I learned you need to speak with your market, not at them. I learned that no matter how good the product is, if your client does not feel the need for it, they won’t buy it. I learned the value of building a community around what I do, and sharing my knowledge to help others. I learned to “love the numbers” and how to better manage my finances. I upskilled, went on courses, experimented, looked to others outside my industry for inspiration. I learned that I had a lot to learn.
My second business grew from these experiences and failures. From the beginning it grew, and grew and grew, and it’s still growing. I built that business from the skills and knowledge I had gained from the failure of the first. I am so very grateful for those lessons, even though it cost me a great deal of cash in the process.
Now, with Get Up & Gallop I’m on a mission to help other small business owners, just like you, to learn from my failures, my mistakes so that you don’t have to go down that path. So that you can lean on someone who has been there before. So that you don’t have to go through it alone.
And as I promised, here’s the video that has inspired this little countdown of sorts: