Why I Have Failed a Couple of Times Already
I've wanted to start my art business for years now. I have always been drawn to it. I am also a planner and organizer, which helps a lot with the business side of things. Some days, I actually like organizing my files and preparing shipping boxes more than getting out my brushes and actually creating. I have a comprehensive spreadsheet, a great website, the drive, the time management skills, everything I need to be successful. Or so I thought...
I have already tried and failed three times to launch my business.
And that's ok! Not at any point did I get discouraged about that. Instead, I just thought I was missing something. Maybe my schedule was off and wasn't allowing me to focus on what I needed. Maybe I was focusing on the wrong things.
The first time, I didn't market myself at all. I have never been particularly drawn to social media, so I wasn't active on it beforehand. As you can guess, I got no sales. Yes 0. That shows the obvious importance of marketing and getting your message out there.
The second time, I realized I didn't have a sustainable plan. I launched again, with no plan about how to even package and ship my items. Again that failed, and I was left thinking I need to revamp the entire business.
The third time I didn't actually make it to a launch. I almost did, before I realized I was rushing into it. I didn't have a plan for sustainable growth. I wanted to sell what I made yesterday, but what if more people wanted to buy it? I was taking action before I had a plan.
So many times I have seen advice on not planning too much. You do have to jump into it and then adjust as you go because a big part of the equation is being able to adapt to changing markets and cultures. In my case though, my biggest problem was not planning enough. I'm sure I'll write a blog in a couple months on a checklist to know when you are ready to take action and start adjusting from there, but for now, here's how to use your mistakes in a positive way, and grow from them.
1. Recognize when they are failures.
Pride can kill a business or anything for that matter. Yes, it might be embarrassing in the moment, but once you do succeed the next time, or maybe 10 times after that, you will have more experience, tenacity, and respect than anyone who could judge you before that. And trust me, most of the people you look up to have failed big time on their way to the top too.
2. Get to the bottom of your true message.
More often then not, if a plan fails, it is because it isn't comprehensive... or focused. Break down who your audience is, what you want them to feel, and the action you want them to take. Every decision should then be made off of that.
3. Ask yourself why you are really doing this and if you are prepared for the consequences.
What if it takes off? Can you handle the workload? Is this just for a couple of extra bucks or to grow into your full-time job? Because I am such a planner, I even know how I am going to get out of the business once I grow it to be sustainable and want to retire. It probably won't go down that way, but at least I am thinking of the big picture.
4. What went wrong?
Now with a picture of how you want the future to be, sit down and think about what went wrong, and it could be a couple of things. Maybe you don't have a solid marketing plan, and people aren't responding to your posts. Maybe you don't have a profitable product. Maybe you don't have enough time to get packages ready when they do sell. No matter what it is, write it all down, and make a plan to fix it.
5. Seek advice.
Look it up, ask a mentor, even bounce ideas off your friends and family if you don't have a strong network yet. If the majority of people aren't sure about the idea, then you might need to rethink it. Learn from others mistakes as well. Don't reinvent the wheel unless it's going to be super creative and bring more viewers to your brand.
6. Get the motivation.
Both to start again and continue. I recommend the motivation app, or finding what works for you from scheduling out time to putting reminders on your phone. Say out loud when you are going to work on your business, then it becomes a little more real. While you are in the thick of things there will also be ups and downs. You have to find a way that works for you to keep your mindset positive in those rough moments so you can keep going and get to those amazing successful moments!
7. Get the plan together.
Think about the big picture. At the end of the day, where do you want to be? Then work backward. What will it take to get you there? What does it look like and what's missing now? Fill in all the steps, then take one at a time.
8. Be realistic.
You also might think your failing when you aren't. It will take a while to build sales up from nothing. It takes determination and creativity to take risks and keep putting yourself out there. Stick with it. Even if you really can't really find the problem yet. The more you put yourself out there, the more that will stick.
9. Put the fear aside.
If you really want it to work, try again. Just because you failed the last 4 times doesn't mean you'll fail again. Everyone has to go through their couple of times of failure, so really you are just using up yours sooner and getting closer to your success. So go for it and try again.
Actually talk about it, which can be hard if you have failed before. If someone asks what you do maybe you mention your new business instead of your day job. This will increase your confidence and narrow your message without you even trying. You will also find contacts you would never have met before unless you let other people know about your ventures.
No matter what, failure is apart of life, but it can lead to amazing results with the right mindset. Keep at it and you'll get there.
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Owner and CEO, kfons