People don’t give enough credit to failure.
We frown on it in school, we frown on it in life.
What we don’t really understand is that failure is the only reason people obtain success.
I can name over 100 of the most inspiring people in the world who failed before they got to success.
And since now you’re curious; Oprah, Steven Spielberg, Elvis Presley, Sir James Dyson, Michael Jordan, R.H.Macy, David Sanders, Soichiro Honda, Isaac Newton – and every single entrepreneur, ever.
What we need to understand is the core principle of failure. Let me give you an example:
Your Driving Test
This day is scary for most. Getting behind the wheel of a car after absorbing as much theory as you possibly can before hand. Today is the day you are tested on your knowledge. Your family is counting on you, your driving instructor is counting on you. Your heart is racing, you’re about to begin, you’re freaking out a little.
And let’s say, you failed.
Did the world end? Did you say to yourself “OMG I spent so much money on this and now I failed, life is over. I am such a failure; I should be launched off a cliff. My parents should disown me”
However, wise old you now realises all you had to do was to retake your test, and it wasn’t as big a deal as you made it in your head. In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t really as challenging as the stuff going on in your life right now.
Chances are, if you had to re-take your driving test now, you wouldn’t bat an eyelid.
So in hindsight, “failing” didn’t really signify much.
Now that you have your driving license, can we say you failed? Yes.
Can we also say you succeeded? Absolutely.
Did you need to fail to succeed? Yes. Absolutely.
Then how it is everyone I know who wants to start a business fears failure? The main reason for not starting a business is fear of failure.
What holds Britons back is a fear of failure. Seven in 10 would-be entrepreneurs say they’re daunted by the possibility of not succeeding.
Making a mistake is so feared in our heads that it prevents us from actually taking a step forward.
Let’s fast forward to the truth.
I have failed. I have lost over £60,000 from my personal savings and even borrowed money from my family. I have never owned a house or had enough assets to just sell and pay everyone back, I wasn’t given a stash of money to go start my business.
And yes, I failed. In fact, I failed 3 times.
But, what we all don’t realise is my knowledge in the last 5 years has increased so incrementally that I feel like I have a PhD in business, marketing, consumer psychology, web development & strategy.
So really, if you boil down to the core – my failure was an investment.
If you’re happy for your parents to invest in your education, even if it cost a bomb and you can’t remember a thing, think about how much knowledge you will acquire when your business doesn’t perform how you want it to.
You will push yourself to learn, you will find experts to help you, you will improve your product, you essentially start with a slab of concrete and slowly and steadily you perfect the mastery of sculpting turning into that perfect business you dreamed of.
Now, interesting question: Why were you happy to spend your parents’ money?
Why were you comfortable spending your parents’ money on your driving test but you are not okay to spend money on executing your idea or creating your business?
Both of them involve you. Both are attributable to you. Both of them affect how you are perceived.
So what’s the difference?
I’ll tell you.
The misconception of being under-prepared.
You feel you’re going into your driving exam and you’re not prepared. You haven’t studied, you don’t know the book, you cant just rush into the exam!
So what happens? Fear sets in.
You’re now fearful you might fail at an exam that you haven’t prepared for. The so called “launch your business” exam.
Not only do you need to take this exam, you also need to pay a hefty non-refundable deposit for it – I can imagine you’d be saying “That’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard”.
Not to mention if you fail life is essentially over. You maybe possibly might make a tiny weeny bit of money, but failure is more common of course – what will your parents say, they hate you already.
There is no “launch”, there is no “exam”.
Think of it as sculpting. Business is an art.
Setting up a business, most of the time means going on Companies House and registering a business.
Yep, you’re done. You can do it in about 10 minutes.
This is what I entrepreneurs end up doing:
Little by little, you’ll start taking steps towards your goal which will prepare you for this “exam” you dread.
It may take you 1 week to set up and get started, it may take you 1 month to get going. It’s exactly the same as your driving test, some took longer to learn, others picked it up naturally right then and there.
What I’m really saying is that there is no exam.
In fact, there is no such thing as launch. I hate the word LAUNCH. “I’m going to launch a business”. No, you won’t.
Launch implies something you can’t do again. Something once you let it go you have to deal with the consequences. That is not what business is.
I’ve seen brands change name, change products, change markets – and I’m talking about multi billion dollar businesses. You’re telling me your tiny website cannot tweak it’s product? Improve it’s logo? You need to stick with it if it’s not good enough? You’re not allowed to improve it?
My business partner (Kunal) and I started in a tiny office where if we stretched we probably would punch each other in the face (accidentally, of course).
We now sit in 1200sq ft with astroturf and bean bags.
I can assure you, what we are doing now has the most vague relationship to what we started doing back then. We improved, we opened up 4 new verticals, we diversified, we bettered our products, we kept on going and believe me just yesterday we defined 6 more bits we want to improve.
Guess where we set up our business and really made our first deal? Sitting on Kunal’s bed while I was living with him at his mum’s house. She was calling us for lunch when we just signed our first deal.
That is the same bed he used to register our company, to set up the bank accounts, the same bed where we worked on our website. The true Head quarters if you ask me.
So forget all the under-prepared fear, the exam taking thoughts, the “launch” illusion, the overwhelming task lists you need to complete and the complicated bits of business – start simple. But whatever you do, start right now.
Remember, failure is the key to success. Don’t ever define failure as the outcome, failure only becomes permanent if you stop. If you keep going, it’ll turn into a great story.
The true win is and has always been consistency. Dedicate 1h a day to your business. That’s all. That is the magical formula that stands between you and a bucket load of money to spend on your Ibiza party boat get away.
Distance yourself from the misconception of a “launch” and treat your business for what it really is, an art that requires consistent work.
Do this right now
Go to Godaddy.com – register your website right now. Make up a name. Again, it’s not a launch. Change it tomorrow. Bluetooth – What kind of a name is that? We all seem extremely happy with it. Moonpig – What?! No complaints there. Believe me, as long as it’s catchy and memorable, no one cares.
Not – NiteshsFunWebsiteForTeamPlayers.com (although, even that could work).
Tomorrow – Work on your idea. Ask you friends. Ask entrepreneurs. Randomly message Richard Branson. Call up Oprah. Brainstorm with me. Find me. Call me. Ask me. Attend one of my ridiculously under-priced workshops, E-interact with me. Make a task list. Keep going. Create momentum.