Sounds like some kind of oxymoron right? How can failure equate to success? The thing is that behind most successful entrepreneurs you will find some (sometimes many!) monumental failures that helped them get to the position they are in today. In fact, one of the key differences between successful people and those who are not is that successful entrepreneurs do not allow failures to knock them down or prevent them from carrying on. The key is action – what was learned from the failure and how can it be applied to future ventures?
In a recent podcast, the very successful Noah Kagan revealed some of the failures (and we’re talking into the millions of dollars!) that have helped shape where he is today. Key learnings were around what he really wanted to be doing and was passionate about, and what marketing/research techniques could improve future ventures. He found that focusing too much on the money aspect usually led down a less successful path. One of his recommendations lies around validating your product/service before launching it. Is there a clear market for what you are thinking of offering? Will it be a ‘no brainer’ in terms of convincing people to purchase it? What is it that you have to offer that solves a challenge/problem for people?
For most people the saying runs true that you ‘have to learn how to fail in order to succeed’. Many people fail to even start out of a fear of failing – if you haven’t taken any kind of action, how will you then be successful? Some of the most famous people have endured failures on their roads to success, let’s look at a few…
Albert Einstein, one of the most highly renowned scientists of all time was thought to be slow and a failure as a child. He didn’t learn to speak until he was four and didn’t read until he was seven. He was expelled from school and when he eventually graduated from university, he could only get a low-paying government job as no professor would recommend him. Despite these set-backs, Einstein is famously credited with a number of scientific break-through’ s, including the theory of relativity.
JK Rowling, author of the exceptionally popular Harry Potter books knew failure before her success. She was virtually broke, severely depressed and raising her child on her own while attending school and writing. Perhaps these elements were fuel to drive her on; through hard work she went from being welfare-dependent to one of the richest women in the world in just 5 years.
As for the world-famous Walt Disney? He was fired from a newspaper job because he ‘lacked imagination and had no good ideas”! Following his newspaper job he started a number of businesses which failed and even went through bankruptcy. Of course we all know that the Disney company remains large and influential to this day…
So why be afraid of failure? What is the worst possible thing that could happen? Will you be able to bounce back from that anyway? The answer to most scenarios is that yes, you will and you will have learnt something valuable during the process. Nothing will get off the ground if you don’t take action, so learn what you can, come up with a plan and, most importantly START!