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

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How many failures before your first success (Profit!)

  • 1

    Votes: 31 7.5%
  • 2

    Votes: 24 5.8%
  • 3

    Votes: 26 6.3%
  • 4

    Votes: 15 3.6%
  • 5

    Votes: 13 3.1%
  • 6-7

    Votes: 15 3.6%
  • 8-9

    Votes: 5 1.2%
  • 10-14

    Votes: 8 1.9%
  • 15 or more

    Votes: 3 0.7%
  • Still failing (no success yet)

    Votes: 276 66.3%

  • Total voters
    416

MythOfSisyphus

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I'd guess around 10 if you count each individual website. If you're just going by business models then 2.

I started out with affiliate marketing for Amazon and while I wouldn't recommend it as a platform for long term success it was a great learning tool and played a hand in building my eCommerce business.

In a way though, I never really considered most of my affiliate websites as failures either. I usually made at least some money from them. I just didn't see enough success to warrant putting in the effort required to really grow them to where I was making a decent living.
 
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momomaurice

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I started my first business in March. An exterior cleaning business in Ireland wasn't the greatest idea but i learnt alot from it and I finally got started. The business was going well and I still get calls but I had absolutely zero interest in the work and in the end it just became a money grab.

I'm now trying to do Google Ads for local service businesses but I haven't found any clients, yet.

Me and my friend are meeting tomorrow to maybe start a painting business and I can use my google ads skills to get us leads and contract the work out.

I don't give a f*ck if I fail 50 times, I'm gonna crack this entrepreneur thing someday and get me my money tree.
 

Cameron Aanonsen

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Thanks for all the reply's everyone learned a bunch here! Just met someone who is an mechanical engineer and we are working on creating some products that dont exist yet. This is much like the story in MJs book about the guy he saw in the Ferrari who was an Inventor. Very exciting times!
 

MJ DeMarco

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Marking NOTABLE so people can understand that failure is a piece of the puzzle.

Your first attempt at business will rarely be the one you succeed at.
 

Flybye

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I hate using the word fail. I prefer to see it as a discovery of how not to do things. Oh and sometimes you need to find a lot of the wrong ways of doing things before you finally find the right way of doing it. There will always be trial and error from choosing the best stapler to having to close down an entire business. Just make sure you always learn from them. Don't get stuck in the same flow because of persistence.

I'm not sure where I land. I am currently on my first MY business adventure, but I have learned much from family businesses I have been involved with. Some have failed due to management, some have failed due to external factors (travel agency after 9/11), some are struggling, some were closed simply due to boredom then reignited because of a struggling alternative business, and some were very successful and finally sold off to retire.
 

Thomas Baptiste

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Marking NOTABLE so people can understand that failure is a piece of the puzzle.

Your first attempt at business will rarely be the one you succeed at.
Do you see failure as a necessary component to business success?
 

MJ DeMarco

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I've turned this into poll and posted on the front page.

I'd love to get a forum sampling too see what is reality around here!

Please vote!
 

Everyman

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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.

Why would you say it is like that? It's interesting...
 

MHP368

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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".

Yeh , let dollar city hedge on the expanding lower class and poverty sales. If someone can't casually drop 50 bucks on a thing then I'm going to ens up with headaches on the back end anyway (or so it seems)

I wonder if anyones ever done some data analasys on that and seen how complaints / returns etc correlate with the price of a good or service. I feel like its lots more trouble on the low low end but I wonder how expensive a single purchase has to get for it to pick back up again with the same ratio.

500 bucks? 5000? But I digress...
 

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.

Well, I just figured it out. A total of 10 failed businesses before real success.
 

minivanman

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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.

So I have a question. On #3, the blog, if you would have been having success, would you have kept it going or do you think you would have lost interest even if it had been a success?
 

ZCP

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grew up in small business ... had to get out of there
helped build a department ... politics
sole proprietor ... did well, incorporated
inc .... should have folded twice due to cashflow issues

no true 'failures' ... am on like the 5th iteration, so said 4
 

RoadTrip

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So I have a question. On #3, the blog, if you would have been having success, would you have kept it going or do you think you would have lost interest even if it had been a success?

That is a really good question. And thinking about your question seriously now I can't give you a conclusive answer. I would lean towards loss of interest because I'm not really passionate for the weight loss market. But who knows that passion might have sparked after helping lots of people.

Just out of curiosity... why are you asking?
 

Get Right

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Damn, I'm curious what you told yourself after the 5th and 6th.

I told myself I have another 25+ years to get it right. It doesn't have to be right...right now. I just have to keep learning, trying and giving myself the opportunity to draw a gold gumball. It only takes 1 gold gumball.
 

minivanman

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That is a really good question. And thinking about your question seriously now I can't give you a conclusive answer. I would lean towards loss of interest because I'm not really passionate for the weight loss market. But who knows that passion might have sparked after helping lots of people.

Just out of curiosity... why are you asking?

I didn't want to hi-jack this thread so I sent you a message.
 

biophase

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MJ, you didn't have a 0 option!

So I really thought about this and I can honestly say zero. But I say this with an asterisk because I dabbled before. I had a blog with adsense, I had a hobby business (where I made it a business to get wholesale pricing) and I had real estate. But I don't think any of those really qualify as me really trying to start a business. My first real business was my ecommerce camo business that I started in 2007. This was the first one that I actually got an LLC, a business license and business bank account.

So I think I got lucky with my first one, but my next 3-4 businesses failed and I ultimately decided to stop trying to start more businesses and to stick and grow my first one.
 

rollerskates

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I'm still failing, sort of. Still working on stabilizing my primary business (handmade stuff) which is not fast lane. I do make a small profit, but the income needs to be stable before I dabble in any more fast lane ventures, although they are always being worked on in my head and in the background.
 

MythOfSisyphus

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MJ, you didn't have a 0 option!

So I really thought about this and I can honestly say zero. But I say this with an asterisk because I dabbled before. I had a blog with adsense, I had a hobby business (where I made it a business to get wholesale pricing) and I had real estate. But I don't think any of those really qualify as me really trying to start a business. My first real business was my ecommerce camo business that I started in 2007. This was the first one that I actually got an LLC, a business license and business bank account.

So I think I got lucky with my first one, but my next 3-4 businesses failed and I ultimately decided to stop trying to start more businesses and to stick and grow my first one.

Any ideas why your subsequent ones failed?

I'd like to think that once I sell my current business I'll be able to start another successful one but often worry that this one might have been a fluke.
 

rogue synthetic

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I've had at least 2-3 failures that I can remember, where either the business wasn't profitable or I folded up something that might have been profitable with more patience. I'm voting for the last option in the poll though, because despite some short-term profitability I haven't actually created a profitable business.
 
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biophase

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Any ideas why your subsequent ones failed?

I'd like to think that once I sell my current business I'll be able to start another successful one but often worry that this one might have been a fluke.

It was a long time ago, but what I can remember is that for two of the businesses, my dropshippers were really unreliable. On the fourth one, I just didn't spend enough time on it. Basically I was trying to run a bunch of niche ecommerce stores, and once I decided to just do one store, it was much easier and it took off.
 

Timmy C

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Do What I Love business website for meal plans and advice about anxiety and lifting weigjts. (before I joined the forum)

Subscription Underwear business failure number two after reading TMF I thought hey it meets CENTS! legit had no idea wasted a good couple months on this. Just found the forum and was pumped just to start anything.

Third business - in the grind now don't know yet. But I'm definitely getting somewhere with this one unlike the others so not sure yet.
 

JokerCrazyBeatz

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For me it was 1 but i still havent mastered it . I honestly just recently realized I was "successful" because I've made money online consistently . For the longest I was like "If im not making $50k a month I'm not successful " .
 

Andy Black

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0 I think? My business just evolves as I move along a sliding scale from contractor to freelancer to agency to platform.
 

Sheens

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I am also at 0. I had not considered starting a business during the 8 years of college and then worked as an employee before owning. Profit, yes. Fastlane, no.

Would the poll still be amendable to add 0? Or zero with a mandatory explanation or options such as: I have never tried, I have made profit and not failed, or I am one and done swimming in my FU money!
 

Suzanne Bazemore

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These statistics are encouraging. As of today, 49 people have had success versus 72 who are still failing. I am one who is still failing, but I have a lot that I can change to get into the previous category, because I am failing through my own fault, and the cool thing is that I have the power to change it.
 

Kloetenlui

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I tried a clothing business without having any clue about how that industry worked. Failed really hard. Then I tried youtube. Worked but wwas unreliable. Now I have a mineral company. Let's see how that works.
 

GoGetter24

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I wonder if anyones ever done some data analasys on that and seen how complaints / returns etc correlate with the price of a good or service.
It's widely anecdotally accepted that the lower the price point, the more complaints and returns. I found this myself, everyone I talked to found this, and every speaker in real-life or YouTube I listened to said this.

The less money people spend, the more they complain and demand. It's to do with personality defects that disproportionately and causally affect the poor.

For this reason it is absolutely critical for new small businesses to do the best they can to screen them out, and target monied / higher-class groups instead.

You can always expand into their shitty market later once you've got the capital to create the necessary economies of scale and to hire customer service meatshields.
 

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