Failure – My Catalyst For Success
I want to talk about that word that most people hate. Failure! I have met many people over the years that are deathly afraid of failure. They are so afraid of it that it keeps them from trying. The stop trying to reach higher and achieve. Failure is a burden for some. For me, it is a motivator.
I can’t count how many times I have failed over the past few years. I would try something without fully researching what I needed to do in order to make it a success. With so many failures under my belt, I have had people ask me why I keep trying. They want to know why I don’t just settle for what I have and keep on going. Well, my answer to them is simple. Without trying, I will never succeed!
My History of Failure
Since I am talking about failure, I figured I would share some of my past misses. While I have failed in the past, you will always see me continue to try. I don’t give up very easily, but I also know when an idea has run its course.
The Lawn Mowing Business
Back in middle school, I started a lawn mowing business. It was in the summer time and I needed to get some cash flow. My parents allowed me to purchase my own things, but only if I had the cash. In order to get said cash, I needed to come up with it. I was the one that mowed the lawn at my parents house and did a good job. I figured it would be natural to offer that to other people in the neighborhood. After a few lawns mowed, I got bored with it and realized it was going to take a lot of work to build up. That little idea crapped out after a month!
The Infomercial Pitch
Yes, I have been sucked in by an infomercial before. I was in college and it was very late at night. I had a job, but wanted to make more. Since I really didn’t have much time during the day, I figured that I needed to think outside of the box. Well, one night an infomercial came on showing me that I can sell other people’s products and make some money. Light bulb!
Of course, the only way I could get access to such a lifetime opportunity was to send them a few bucks to get the catalog and get an account number. Well, with my lack of sleep and college student stupidity (aren’t I supposed to be learning in college?), I got the catalog and my account number. I was super excited about the opportunity. That was until I started doing more research.
The crappy products in the catalog were overpriced and all over the place. You could buy the stuff anywhere for cheap. This business idea failed before it really even got started.
My Turnkey eBay Store
I got bitten by the eBay selling bug when I was in college. I sold a few things on there and it was exciting. I was able to make a few bucks by selling stuff around my apartment. Seeing dollar signs dancing in my head, I decided to look around for opportunities to create an eBay selling presence.
After a few days of intensive research, I found one of those turnkey solutions. You pay a monthly fee and get access to your own website with its own domain. The website is loaded with products. You market the website and whatever is sold, you get the profit. This was really just a crappy drop shipper that charged too much. Along with my turnkey website, I also got a turnkey eBay store. The problem was that I had to pay the listing and selling fees. Ouch!
I was actually able to sell quite a few products via my little turnkey website solution. It got me excited about selling products. I made a little money, but the time that it took was too much. I kept having shipping problems and they wouldn’t give me the profit from my sales. After a few months and many angry customers, this business idea died.
My First Blog
I have loved blogging for quite some time. I have blogged on many different topics and really enjoyed it. The problem with blogging is that it takes a lot of time. My first blog was about consumer electronics. I have always enjoyed the topic and I can speak on it pretty well. I started the blog and after a couple of months, I started getting tired of it. I wasn’t getting many visitors, so I was just speaking to myself. I didn’t know how to market my blog or SEO. I was lost in a big world. My first blog crapped out along with the many blogging platforms that have come and gone.
These are just a few of the ideas that I have had over the years. There were many more that I would come up with, but either wouldn’t dedicate enough time to or would be caught without the necessary knowledge. Here are a couple more of my failures:
Car Detailing – FAIL
2nd eBay Store – FAIL
Amazon Affiliate Site – FAIL
2nd Blog – FAIL
3rd Blog – FAIL
4th Blog – FAIL
Internet Marketing Company – FAIL
1st E-Commerce Site – FAIL
If I were to list all of the DIY things that I have failed at, then this could be a huge post. Along with the many DIY failures, I have succeeded creating and fixing things on my own. I love DIY and will continue to do it. You can never learn how to make or fix something without getting your hands dirty.
Why Keep Trying?
Alright, I am sure you are looking at this and saying, “Damn, this guy is a failure!”. Sometimes I feel like one. The one difference between me and some others is that failure does not keep me down. It pushes me harder to succeed. Failure is my catalyst for success. Without my past failures, I would have never learned all of the lessons that I have. With failure comes knowledge. When you fail, you should learn from the experience and change your strategy.
From the list I wrote above, you would think that I didn’t learn much from my failures. That is just not true. While I did failure on a few blogs and other websites, I learned a lot from each. Each failure taught me something different. From those, I was able to create this blog. I knew from my past that I needed to change my way that I thought about blogging. I consider Debt Roundup a success.
Along with my other failures, I was also pushed to pursue more e-commerce business ideas. If you have read my bio, then you know that I ran a successful online electronics website. I built the website from scratch. I worked hard on that site each and every day. I ran the company for four years. It went from $0 in sales to over $1 million in the last year. I built and ran the site all by myself. I had no help. It was all me. While I shut down the business, I still consider it a resounding success. Why?
I achieved my dream at the time. I created something that people wanted and I did it under my own power and knowledge. Not only did I achieve my dream, but I also learned more in the four years when I ran the business than I did during my college tenure. There is nothing better hands-on experience.
My biggest success as of late is paying off over $50,000 worth of credit card debt. While a general failure got me into the debt, I worked my ass off to get out of it. I learned how to budget, how to save, how to invest, and many other things that I share here. Over the years I was paying down my debt, I grew as a person. My mindset changed and now I am succeeding financially.
Flourishing From Failure
I was reading a great article from my blogging buddy, Matt from Mom and Dad Money, a while back. He wrote about how you have to allow failure in order to promote growth. Failure is just part of the success process. Most people that “succeed” have failed numerous times. I feel that I flourish from failure. When a failure occurs, I just get stronger and more determined. I want to achieve a goal even more and will try to figure out any way to get to that goal. I embrace failure and accept it. I think this mentality allows me to succeed.
If you get anything out of this post, then I hope it is that you should not be afraid of failure. Embrace it! Learn from it and allow it to help you grow. Yes, failing at something can suck, but it shouldn’t stop you from trying. You will never succeed if you don’t try. No matter what you are trying to succeed at, just try it. You never know how it will turn out without giving it a go. I am sure that I will fail many more times in my lifetime, but with those failures comes success. I am OK with that!
Do you embrace failure? Are you scared of it and find that it hinders you?
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net