Nine years of failure?
I have a friend who is basically a genius, and a very successful man, in my books. However, he is too hard on himself. This gentleman does not give himself enough credit for what he has done well. He has been an entrepreneur now for most of his adult life, but claims that for the first nine years he was an entrepreneur, he was a failure, because he tried many things and made no money. It was one failed attempt after another.
Let’s get real here. That is not a failure. All you have to do is implement a small change of mind to realize that your “failures” were stepping stones on the road to success. As long as you learn something, no failure is a true failure. You only fail when you decide to give up.
To be truly successful, we have to be kind to ourselves. In fact, we have to be proud of ourselves, and that includes all the times when things don’t go well. You have to keep that little spark alive inside of you. Be willing to do whatever it takes to be successful, even when others tease you for being obsessed or think you are crazy for thinking that someone like you can become a millionaire. They will be the first to tell you that you are “lucky” when you crack the millionaire code, or that they approach you with outstretched hands.
You see, it all starts with a dream. Those of us who have already made it have tried and failed at many things, because that is how it works. We have learned, for example, that most MLM programs are scams, but we have also learned which ones are not and how to tell the difference. Tea people involved with MLM are great. They are serious and optimistic kindred spirits in the battle for self-determination. Some of them are successful in MLM, but the vast majority are not. Still, most of the entrepreneurs I know started in MLM. It was a boost for them, as it was for me.
Most MLM doesn’t work because most of the participants can’t sell and don’t want to sell. They hate selling. But if you are going to be successful in MLM, or in any business, you must start with a strong and sincere desire to sell. It is about selling; never let anyone tell you otherwise.
Remember: the only true failure occurs when you simply give up. And I meet those people all the time. They say, “Oh, I once had a business. But I had to close it.” I have spoken to hundreds of people over the years who have said that. They admire those of us who have been self-employed for years, and they tried, but it didn’t work for them right away, so they gave up. They went back to work for other people. Those people may They say they are failures, because they gave up.
Maybe it just wasn’t for them. They may not be failures in all aspects of their lives; in fact, otherwise, they can be very successful. But they are not entrepreneurs. This is not intended to be a judgment call or an insult, just an observation. Some people are born as employees, and there is nothing wrong with that. How could we entrepreneurs build our businesses without them?
Ben Franklin once remarked, “Those things that hurt, instruct.” We tend to learn our lessons the hard way. But it’s still not a failure until you give it up for good. Just understand it, and if you haven’t quit, feel good about yourself. You have to. This idea that you will perform at a higher level if you punish yourself is ridiculous; it is not a good long term strategy. The right way to excel is to focus on your goals, be very excited about what you are trying to do, and be determined to achieve it, to find a way, no matter what. Try many different ideas. Control your pace, but push yourself. Do not burn yourself. As the Journey song says, be good to yourself. In the end, you are all you have. Even when you are surrounded by all kinds of good people, in the end what matters is the relationship with yourself.
Marketing guru Dan Kennedy once had a client in Phoenix, Arizona. The first time he walked into this client’s office, he saw a bulletin board full of business cards. Dan said, “Oh, I see you collect business cards too,” and the guy replied, “No, those are all my own business cards that I’ve had in the past.” This boy had been involved in a lot of different businesses. Some made a little money; some did not. But he never quit, even when a business didn’t work out. He found something else to get excited about and eventually made millions, and then retired.
Here’s the thing: The average entrepreneur will try at least four or five different things before being successful, unless he gives up. Unfortunately, you will never hear that statistic from the government. They only give you part of the story, telling you that 95% of new businesses fail in five years. Hearing that, why would anyone start their own business? That stat scares people to death, which is why they quit before they even start. Why give it a try if you are faced with such miserable odds? They prefer to stick with the little soul-killing jobs they hate so much, where they feel like they’re in prison every day, just marking time until they are finally released.
But that 95% failure rate can also be a lie, because it hides the fact that most entrepreneurs have to try a lot of different things before they finally find their one crazy success story. And many of those businesses that cease to exist after five years? It’s because they were profitably sold to someone else, were incorporated into a larger company, or were deliberately closed so the owner could participate in a different opportunity. The statistics do not take into account any of that.
Ordinary people get rich every day. A great book came out in the 1990s called The millionaire next door. Two college professors wanted to do a study of people who had a net worth of more than a million dollars; They were going to find these people, interview them, get some of their best tips, tricks, and strategies, and reveal them. And frankly, it’s easy to find people who have a net worth of over a million; it is public domain information. So they went to a city, settled in a nice hotel suite with caviar and champagne, and invited local millionaires to visit.
It turned out that the people who showed up weren’t people with caviar and champagne. They were beer and pretzel people, mostly average small business owners. And I’m not talking about high-tech companies either, but the kind of mom and dad (the internet was just taking off at the time). For the most part, they didn’t live in fancy neighborhoods or drive new cars. Read The millionaire next door. It is informative and fun. It turns out that most millionaires live in older neighborhoods, in houses that have paid for. They are not flashy people. In fact, the teachers found that people living in flashy neighborhoods were mostly within about six months of being homeless. They lived beyond their means, so if they lost their jobs or something happened to them, they were in trouble.
Failure is not failure until you give up. My friend who said he had failed for nine years, no, he did not fail. He tried many things during those nine years. Learned all the things that no work, and I was also learning other things as I went along. Thomas Edison and his team reportedly tested more than 1,000 different experiments before perfecting the light bulb. When asked, he said it did not fail; just found a thousand ways that didn’t work.
In his most famous speech, Winston Churchill stood in front of these kids in a college graduating class and basically said, “Never, never, never, never give up.” And then he sat down again. Nobody expected that, but it was absolutely brilliant.
I subscribe to Forbes Magazine, and they have some great articles on people who are making money. I once read about an entrepreneur who was 52 when he started making billions about ten years earlier. There was a phrase in that article that jumped out and hit me like a mallet: “Push it until it breaks, fix it, then push it until it breaks again.” That’s an incredible philosophy, especially coming from a billionaire. It resonates with that, whereas it might not if someone less successful speaks it.
Success leaves clues. You have to try a lot of different things. Look at Thomas Edison and the light bulb. Look at Dan Kennedy’s client story with all the business cards. And remember my friend, the one who thought he had failed for nine years in a row. Most of these people were surrounded by others who told them that they did not know what they were doing, that they were wasting their time, that they would never succeed.
You will never please your detractors, no matter what you do. They will always be critical, and that’s okay. But they have never built a statue of a critic, have they? The heroes of this world don’t just criticize other people. They are out there making it happen. They are out there doing it, every day. That’s what you have to do too.
Learn from the things you taste. Even the mistakes are not just mistakes, they are ways that you have found not to work. You should always look for a better, faster, easier, simpler, more effective and more profitable way of doing things. By the time you find it, you will have had a lot of experience, because you will have tried many different things and that It will be your secret to earn all the money you want and need.
All that money is out there, waiting for you. Be good to yourself. Just because you’ve tried things in the past and failed doesn’t make you a failure; makes you a typical entrepreneur. Keep trying. Continue to fail. Eventually, you will make it big.