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NOTABLE! How many Business Failures did you have before success?

How many failures before your first success (Profit!)

  • 1

    Votes: 23 7.8%
  • 2

    Votes: 19 6.4%
  • 3

    Votes: 21 7.1%
  • 4

    Votes: 10 3.4%
  • 5

    Votes: 10 3.4%
  • 6-7

    Votes: 13 4.4%
  • 8-9

    Votes: 3 1.0%
  • 10-14

    Votes: 7 2.4%
  • 15 or more

    Votes: 3 1.0%
  • Still failing (no success yet)

    Votes: 186 63.1%

  • Total voters
    295

MJ DeMarco

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Can't recall the exact number, if i had to guess I'd say 6 or 7.
 
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Cameron Aanonsen

Cameron Aanonsen

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Can't recall the exact number, if i had to guess I'd say 6 or 7.
I guess that's the bueaty of it all. Once you find success you dont really care to remember the failures but its part of the necessary process. Kind of reminds me about when i had lasik surgery. I woke up one morning with perfect vision and don't really remember the times I couldn't see.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Phikey

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Nov 7, 2017
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1. Shopify store selling confectionery (failed, didn't understand my market)
2. Blog on controversial topics (failed, didn't persist and gave up after 3 months)
3. Web design freelancing (didn't fail, but I didn't try to scale so i moved into..)
4. PPC management (currently succeeding, hit 6 figures this year and growing HR so I remove myself entirely from the business)

As long as you learn something, each business is not a failure.
 

Tom.V

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6 for me. Seems like 6-7 seems to be the common theme here. With proper education and direction this number can surely be reduced.

The older I get the more I truly see how experience in entrepreneurship is at such a great toll to sanity and general well being. If I had to do it all over again, I would have focused so much more on finding a mentor. All of the pain and pitfalls that could have been avoided effortlessly.
 

YoungPadawan

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I've failed a lot. I've pretty much lost count at this point. I haven't "made it" yet, but at this point, I don't really care how many more times I have to fail until I succeed.

Something that @biophase said in one of his threads really resonated with me.

About how he doesn't care if a product gets a crazy amount of sales per month, just as long as it is a superior product, to be happy with even profiting an extra $100 to $200.

So that's what I'm focusing on now. I'm just focused on creating a product that is better than what is already out there.

Even if it barely sells any at all, I will feel good that I'm actually helping people and I will build my business one $100 product at a time if I have to.
 

WJS

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How many business's have you all had before you found your breadwinner?

My first business was a success by normal standards (200k a year +) but not by fast-lane standards.
Lost count of how many failures I've had.. still working/failing and trying my best to make the most out of the experiences..

If I had to do it all over again, I would have focused so much more on finding a mentor. All of the pain and pitfalls that could have been avoided effortlessly.
If only mentors are so easy to find.. so far I've only met "Gurus" and "Pseudo mentors with ulterior motives". Having said that, I'm glad I found this forum. Learning a bit of everything from everyone is by far the closest I have to getting a mentor. They definitely opened my eyes to things I didn't even know existed, and their stories helped me avoid huge pitfalls and kept me going when things are really rough
 

Suzanne Bazemore

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I've failed a lot. I've pretty much lost count at this point. I haven't "made it" yet, but at this point, I don't really care how many more times I have to fail until I succeed.

Something that @biophase said in one of his threads really resonated with me.

About how he doesn't care if a product gets a crazy amount of sales per month, just as long as it is a superior product, to be happy with even profiting an extra $100 to $200.

So that's what I'm focusing on now. I'm just focused on creating a product that is better than what is already out there.

Even if it barely sells any at all, I will feel good that I'm actually helping people and I will build my business one $100 product at a time if I have to.
Thanks for sharing @biophase's great advice.
 

AllenCrawley

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At least 3 major failures that nearly destroyed me and my family. The other 4 or 5 were minor failures. All were just stepping stones.

I've ensured that all of my Ventures are cash flow positive from day one. That being said some I've had to shut down while others were acquired.
So that's zero failures? Teach me old wise one. LOL.
 

ZF Lee

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Can't recall the exact number, if i had to guess I'd say 6 or 7.
Failure could mean anything.

If we follow the strict definition of business existing when you make a sale, even if you have no formal business body that you can operate in, then of course lots of people can say they failed lots in that scope.
I stopped counting failed proposals, freelance gigs, resell attempts and so on. You can easily fail without a business structure in place, as they take longer to die.

Failure could also mean downsizing a company, wrapping it up and liquidating everything. Have we failed at that level yet? Of course you find fewer failures there, as fewer people have gotten up to that level.

Failure can also be more micro. Failing a business partner. A supplier. Employees.
One of my biggest regrets from freelancing is not following up with a client well enough to deliver some writing work. The guy was getting married, and he said he would continue our gig after the honeymoon. I congratulated him and wished him well. I respectfully did not bother him for too long a time, I must say, until the contract lapsed.

I hope he's alright.

I think we should fail safely, in a way that doesn't kill us or the business, or create a system that 'fails' for us. That is why folks have developed concepts like statistics and A/B testing as a means to 'fail' for them.
 

GoGetter24

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Haven't had the success bit yet, but haven't been swinging at it long (started in earnest roughly around the time of registering here).

Bona fide business failures so far: 2.

The first was something I had no idea if it would be in demand or not, but I just wanted to launch into selling a product to get my feet wet in business. It sold enough to make a pittance, which given the work put into it made it a failure. Learned a lot as to why it was a pointless venture from the get go, but couldn't have gained that knowledge without executing on it, so was worth it.

The other seemed like something that would be in demand, but really wasn't because I didn't properly understand that type of customer, but really couldn't have known they were a dead end without executing on this idea (they turned out to be the type of dumb-a$$ customer who claims they want a thing but absolutely don't want that thing -- kind of like how most gym goers start after new years and never go back after 2 weeks), so it was worth the test and wasn't wasteful.

Result: went broke, but the skills I built under those businesses were in demand, and the work I'd done acted as portfolio, so it allowed me to fall back to a decent job that paid well enough to rebuild savings at an acceptable rate.

What I did right:
  • Targeted areas I had at least a little skill or interest in, which helped get them to market
  • Didn't take on any debt, so just ended up broke instead of bankrupt
  • Hedged my bets by making sure the work involved overlapped somewhat with skills that were in demand in the job market
  • Worked at my fatigue limit for a sustained period of time
  • Knew roughly when the play was a dud and when to ditch it, without giving up too early.
What I did wrong:
  • Failed to get advice from people who knew what they were talking about. Boy did I try though. Unfortunately, finding these people turned out actually more difficult than working things out yourself. There is no correlation between how confident someone sounds in their advice, and its quality. Being an absolute braindead dumbass has never stopped anyone convincingly sounding like an authority on a subject. The best solution is just to learn the basic principles behind succeeding by reading biographies of successful men who are dead (the dead have no ulterior motives), and then learning the fine details yourself through trial and error. Always assume that 99% of people who open their mouths to give advice are as dumb as shit, regardless of how convincing they are.
  • Didn't have enough runway and didn't try to find partners. Both would've boosted the chance of a timely success. More capital and a complementary partner or two would've allowed 2 more business plays in the same period, which may have been enough to start something that gripped.
  • Didn't have enough understanding of different types of customers, and the market depth/breadth/money flow generally. Customer selection is probably more important than the product or service you present: a good offering cannot get money out of shit customers. Better to have a so so product that targets moneyed customers than to have a good product that targets nickle-and-dimers, is only considered a "nice to have... if I get a discount" to them, etc. I had no idea this was even a factor until I did more research and started to notice patterns. Now it will be a key factor going forward.
Key finding: A wallet, with wads of money in it, that opens, is all that matters -- this should be the starting concept of any new business play. Definitely not "this seems like a good business idea".

The overall value was: I learned why those two ventures failed, which is putting me on stronger footing for when I execute the next one.
 

eliquid

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Not sure I can count the number of attempts, but I know it took me roughly 6-7 years from start of journey ( knowing ZERO ) to hitting good money in my choice of business.

It took me roughly 12-13 years though from the mindset of "I know Im gonna hit a million NET in the bank", to actually hitting it. This is me telling myself at 17 I'm going to make it.

So if you do the math, I spent the first 6 or so years in my 12-13 year journey floundering around not knowing what I should focus on or do. This was from the ages of 17-23. Once I did find my focus, it took another 6-7 years to go from ZERO to hitting my goal ( ages 23-30 ).

If most people attempt something for a year and failed ( and got their 6-8 failures above ), then I am pretty much on the same track like everyone else because it took me that many years once I got focused and started.

.
 
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Jaden Jones

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It really depends on the definition, Ive had a lot of side gigs fail, enough that Im fully scripted right now I guess.
 

JAJT

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Depending on how you count - I'm up to 4 or 5.

The quickest thing a new entrepreneur should learn to help avoid mistakes (IMHO) is understanding their costs - fully and completely.

It's (relatively) easy to build up impressive looking revenue numbers - $100k in year 1 is not even remotely unrealistic for most businesses. But there's a very, very good reason why you don't often see the after-tax profit number being thrown around in case studies and success stories. The number of businesses running high revenue, low profit businesses is staggering. I'd even say it's the rule, not the exception.

Even bank account screenshots aren't great indicators - look at any business bank account after Black Friday and you'd be downright envious until you realize that the owner just ran the most expensive month of the year for advertising dollars spent, needs to do an expensive inventory re-order, is about to be bombarded with returns, and still has to pay their taxes.

I know I've been guilty myself of not understanding what I made in a year until I got the summery from my accountant after tax season. This should never happen.

Keep good financial records, then keep them better than that.
 

Jello

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To many to count. Mostly because of not knowing what I was doing, not knowing my numbers and losing very fast interest.

Thanks to TMF, Unscripted and this forum I now know what to do or more important what not to do.

In fact the business I was running last time and did fail miserably at I'm running again and this time with success.

It's still a job and not fastlane but I'm pulling in revenue. When the opportunity knocks I can go fastlane with enough experience and capital.

It's all about setting goals and stick with them.
 

YoungPadawan

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Depending on how you count - I'm up to 4 or 5.

The quickest thing a new entrepreneur should learn to help avoid mistakes (IMHO) is understanding their costs - fully and completely.

It's (relatively) easy to build up impressive looking revenue numbers - $100k in year 1 is not even remotely unrealistic for most businesses. But there's a very, very good reason why you don't often see the after-tax profit number being thrown around in case studies and success stories. The number of businesses running high revenue, low profit businesses is staggering. I'd even say it's the rule, not the exception.

Even bank account screenshots aren't great indicators - look at any business bank account after Black Friday and you'd be downright envious until you realize that the owner just ran the most expensive month of the year for advertising dollars spent, needs to do an expensive inventory re-order, is about to be bombarded with returns, and still has to pay their taxes.

I know I've been guilty myself of not understanding what I made in a year until I got the summery from my accountant after tax season. This should never happen.

Keep good financial records, then keep them better than that.
Amen
 

AllenCrawley

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You'll have to get your flamewar merit badge somewhere else.
:rofl:
I just find it disingenuous to come in here presenting yourself as such an amazing business person that you've had no failures and everything you touch is gold.
 

SYK

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This thread is such a real look at what it takes to be successful in business. Anyone just starting out should know this is the reality of being an entrepreneur.

Also reninds me of the Mark Cuban quote: “You only need to be right one time”.

For me, sitting around 3.5. And I’m sure I’m not done yet...
 

TreyAllDay

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How many business's have you all had before you found your breadwinner?

My first business was a success by normal standards (200k a year +) but not by fast-lane standards.
6 or 7. But every one of them I can trace exactly where I went wrong in using MJ's "CENTS" model. I used to think failed businesses would be like "oh shit that came out of nowhere", but it's almost always a failure to meet "CENTS" or meet it to the proper extent.
 

RoadTrip

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This is the first time I’m creating a list of my failed attempts. Counting 5 real attempts in total and I haven’t made it yet. I haven't lost my motivation and will continue once I’m fully recovered from my burnout.

Attempt 1: International dorm finding platform for students
I started this with 2 partners: my brother and a developer, back in 2007. We were gaining some traction and wanted updates to the website but the developer wasn’t motivated enough. We quit. Now there is a successful platform called HousingAnywhere. In hindsight, I should have learned to develop it myself. Unfortunately, at that moment I hadn’t read TMF yet.

Attempt 2: Recruiting unemployed Spanish technicians to fill gaps in the Dutch market
I found a client and traveled to Spain to network with recruitment agencies and schools. In the end I couldn’t find the right people and the client lost interest. It was really hard to combine with my fulltime job. And it really didn't fit my personality.

Attempt 3: Weight loss blog and ebook
This was my first attempt in which I made money. Sales of the ebook were doing well using Facebook Ads but finally the audience got saturated. The blog wasn’t doing too well. I finally lost interest and quit.

Attempt 4: Clothing line for influencers
Together with my brother we had the idea to create clothing lines for influencers. For a percentage of the sales we would take care of all the design, manufacturing and distribution while the influencer would do the marketing. We found a client (influencer) and started working. We found a designer and a manufacturer. I traveled to Portugal to meet the manufacturer. 6 months later we had 3 sweaters ready for sales. It flopped and we lost 10k. We decided to quit. This is where I experienced the first signs of a burnout.

Attempt 5: Supplement brand
I got this idea based on my own health issues. I saw an opportunity to create a supplement brand. I jumped on the opportunity and gained traction using Facebook Ads. Unfortunately, not too many customers were reordering. This is where I noticed the importance of recurring revenue! And a productcracy. The product just didn't fill a big enough need.

It was also too niche for a small market like The Netherlands. I couldn’t find an insurance which covered sales to the US. I started thinking of products to add but couldn’t find a direction. I should have focused on a target market fist instead of being focused on a product. I gave this so much thought that in the end, next to having a fulltime job and 2 young kids at home, it caused me to burnout back in in April 2017. I’m still recovering from the burnout.

It's definitely hard to create a business but for sure the 5 previous attempts have taught me a lot. I hope these lessons will be enough to make the 6th attempt a success!

Lessons learned
  • Focus on a market, not solely one product
  • Focus on creating recurring revenue to promote growth
  • Find a market and a solution that fits my personality
  • Focus on something that has been done before and add my own twist/improve/be awesome.
  • By finding something that fits my personality finding the next step will come to me more naturally. This will avoid me getting completely stuck and shift into a burnout.
 
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ned.ryerson

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Nov 14, 2018
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Leaders develop strategies to assess, position and execute against opportunities in the market. They employ tactics to implement the strategies. Tactics are realized through programs, which are made up of projects, having work streams of tasks.

How should businesses fail?

Being at the edge of innovation means that projects and programs will fail. But our strategies account for this and loosely couple them from core business operations. That’s how R&D functional areas spin out of engineering or operations.

How businesses might fail?

Often launching a venture in an emerging market means using new strategies and tactics that aren’t proven. This, however, can often produce a huge landfall if it’s viable. But is failing as a result of calculated risk truly failing? Idk.

How businesses will not fail (ultimately).

Following the pattern of proven strategies on how to start to monitor and exit the market. Doing so allows you to be cash flow positive from day one and not lose money in the venture.
 

Carrenoda

New Contributor
Nov 18, 2018
12
12
16
1. Shopify store selling confectionery (failed, didn't understand my market)
2. Blog on controversial topics (failed, didn't persist and gave up after 3 months)
3. Web design freelancing (didn't fail, but I didn't try to scale so i moved into..)
4. PPC management (currently succeeding, hit 6 figures this year and growing HR so I remove myself entirely from the business)

As long as you learn something, each business is not a failure.
PPC, is where I'm focusing right now, specifically FB, so it's great to see someone here who's got it down.
Congrats!
 

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