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How many Business Failures did you have before success?

How many failures before your first success (Profit!)

  • 1

    Votes: 44 6.7%
  • 2

    Votes: 30 4.6%
  • 3

    Votes: 41 6.3%
  • 4

    Votes: 22 3.4%
  • 5

    Votes: 23 3.5%
  • 6-7

    Votes: 26 4.0%
  • 8-9

    Votes: 10 1.5%
  • 10-14

    Votes: 9 1.4%
  • 15 or more

    Votes: 4 0.6%
  • Still failing (no success yet)

    Votes: 443 67.9%

  • Total voters
    652
D

Deleted85763

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MODERATOR NOTE: POLL ADDED!! PLEASE VOTE!!

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.
My first 3 ventrures were not actual failures - I just found that it wasn't for me. Investment "lost" was very small. Exceptional value for practical education.

My billionaire friend failed I think he said 50 times before he got it right. He was "washed up"at about age 40 but by 50 he was extremely wealthy. Everyone looks at him now in awe but they have no idea what he went through.
 
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Guest-5ty5s4

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All of my ideas have made some profit, but none of them so far should be considered a success.
 

WJK

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I have had three different types of failures. The first is where the business failed and I closed the doors. The second is where a high-risk investment failed. The third type of failure is where one of my normal investments fails. The differences between the three are profound. Here's an example of each:

Business failure: When the real estate market collapsed in 1980, I owned two RE offices with a partner. We closed one, and the other we sold at a pittance to someone else who ended up closing it. Both were franchises and both failed. I lost almost all my investment in both.

High-risk investment failure: I bought an oil lease from the State of Alaska a few years ago. I started an LLC and I bought 4 contiguous surface lots to support the investment. It should have worked and I thought I had a winner. It was located contiguous to a working natural gas field. I partnered with an active oil development company that did seismic studies. That company owned other adjacent leases that they wanted to develop. When the ground was studied, my lease was outside of the gas deposit and it had NO prospectus. So, I surrendered the lease back to the State, terminated the LLC, and sold the surface properties at less than I had paid for them. I lost the investment money that I spent on the lease and the associated costs. I also had spent a lot of time and effort in the situation. NEXT...

In my normal investments, I rarely lose, unless I buy a property with a hidden problem. I always buy opposite of the market. When others are selling, I am buying. Then I sell, when most are buying. I do quite well with my normal investments. I am conservative and thoughtful.

I have only had a few total business or normal investment failures. BUT, I have had a bunch of high-risk investment failures. And I treat them totally differently.

Failure is part of the process. I try a lot of things. I know that many, if not most of them will fail. The trick is to NOT bring down the whole business or normal investment over one idea or a direction change.

Concerning high-risk investments, I have some rules. The amount I risk must be small enough for me to lose without it hurting me too much. The upside must be huge. It must be big enough to make it all worth the risk. I know that almost all of these investments will fail. I call them pie-in-the-sky investments. Most of them require me to be a "qualified investor" so they are not for a beginner. I reserve a small percentage of my cash flow to make that class of investments when they come up.
 
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Guest-5ty5s4

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I have had three different types of failures. The first is where the business failed and I closed the doors. The second is where a high-risk investment failed. The third type of failure is where one of my normal investments fails. The differences between the three are profound. Here's an example of each:

Business failure: When the real estate market collapsed in 1980, I owned two RE offices with a partner. We closed one, and the other we sold at a pittance to someone else who ended up closing it. Both were franchises and both failed. I lost almost all my investment in both.

High-risk investment failure: I bought an oil lease from the State of Alaska a few years ago. I started an LLC and I bought 4 contiguous surface lots to support the investment. It should have worked and I thought I had a winner. It was located contiguous to a working natural gas field. I partnered with an active oil development company that did seismic studies. That company owned other adjacent leases that they wanted to develop. When the ground was studied, my lease was outside of the gas deposit and it had NO prospectus. So, I surrendered the lease back to the State, terminated the LLC, and sold the surface properties at less than I had paid for them. I lost the investment money that I spent on the lease and the associated costs. I also had spent a lot of time and effort in the situation. NEXT...

In my normal investments, I rarely lose, unless I buy a property with a hidden problem. I always buy opposite of the market. When others are selling, I am buying. Then I sell, when most are buying. I do quite well with my normal investments. I am conservative and thoughtful.

I have only had a few total business or normal investment failures. BUT, I have had a bunch of high-risk investment failures. And I treat them totally differently.

Failure is part of the process. I try a lot of things. I know that many, if not most of them will fail. The trick is to NOT bring down the whole business or normal investment over one idea or a direction change.

Concerning high-risk investments, I have some rules. The amount I risk must be small enough for me to lose without it hurting me too much. The upside must be huge. It must be big enough to make it all worth the risk. I know that almost all of these investments will fail. I call them pie-in-the-sky investments. Most of them require me to be a "qualified investor" so they are not for a beginner. I reserve a small percentage of my cash flow to make that class of investments when they come up.
This is incredible! You should start another thread ;)

How did you find the company that did the seismic studies? Were they going to be the ones drilling if the results were good?

Also, do you know if somebody else bought it after your go failed? I would be afraid the seismic study would be good, the oil company would downplay it, convince me to sell at a loss, and they would buy it for themselves.
 

WJK

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This is incredible! You should start another thread ;)

How did you find the company that did the seismic studies? Were they going to be the ones drilling if the results were good?

Also, do you know if somebody else bought it after your go failed? I would be afraid the seismic study would be good, the oil company would downplay it, convince me to sell at a loss, and they would buy it for themselves.
Actually, I got the oil company who owned the leases around me to pay for the seismic study (by a 3rd party) on my lease when they were doing theirs. That was a huge expense I didn't have. I live in a small, rural community and I know just about everyone here. This is an "oil patch" area. That oil company is known as a reliable, straight shooter. So, I trust what they said. IF my lease had been part of the gas deposit, I owned 4 contiguous lots, totaling about 40 acres, where we could have done straight and directional drilling from my lots for my lease and theirs. I had legal street access from the north and the south. And the gas field next door had a pipeline that we could have used to get our product to market under Alaskan laws. Our agreement was that I would have partnered with them or they would have bought out my lease depending on the drill results. It would have been the "gold ring" of my life. Oh well. It was a great dream while it lasted.

Oil exploration is always a HUGE gamble and this situation just happened to come available -- so I submitted a bid on it to the State auction. (At that huge lease auction, that involved lists and lists of leases, I was one of two private party bidders. The other bidders were there for their corporations.) I knew a guy who had been waiting for that leasehold to come up for bid for many years. He didn't have the money at that time to do it The oil company that did the seismic won the bids on all the leases further out from the working gas field. As the bid envelopes were opened and read, to my amazement, I won the bid on the lease which was closest to the working gas field. It was a very exciting moment.

My investment looked like a good bet at the time. I sure learned a lot about the oil industry and how the leases work here in Alaska.

People who come later have access to the seismic data after a few years. I actually reviewed all the data available at the time that I made my bid. -- but there were no seismic studies. We did do some satellite maps that looked favorable. But, the proof is in the seismic studies. I don't know of anyone who bought all those leases. I'm sure that they figure that if it could have been developed, we would have done that. And they'd be right.
 
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Guest-5ty5s4

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Actually, I got the oil company who owned the leases around me to pay for the seismic study (by a 3rd party) on my lease when they were doing theirs. That was a huge expense I didn't have. I live in a small, rural community and I know just about everyone here. This is an "oil patch" area. That oil company is known as a reliable, straight shooter. So, I trust what they said. IF my lease had been part of the gas deposit, I owned 4 contiguous lots, totaling about 40 acres, where we could have done straight and directional drilling from my lots for my lease and theirs. I had legal street access from the north and the south. And the gas field next door had a pipeline that we could have used to get our product to market under Alaskan laws. Our agreement was that I would have partnered with them or they would have bought out my lease depending on the drill results. It would have been the "gold ring" of my life. Oh well. It was a great dream while it lasted.

Oil exploration is always a HUGE gamble and this situation just happened to come available -- so I submitted a bid on it to the State auction. (At that huge lease auction, that involved lists and lists of leases, I was one of two private party bidders. The other bidders were there for their corporations.) I knew a guy who had been waiting for that leasehold to come up for bid for many years. He didn't have the money at that time to do it The oil company that did the seismic won the bids on all the leases further out from the working gas field. As the bid envelopes were opened and read, to my amazement, I won the bid on the lease which was closest to the working gas field. It was a very exciting moment.

My investment looked like a good bet at the time. I sure learned a lot about the oil industry and how the leases work here in Alaska.

People who come later have access to the seismic data after a few years. I actually reviewed all the data available at the time that I made my bid. -- but there were no seismic studies. We did do some satellite maps that looked favorable. But, the proof is in the seismic studies. I don't know of anyone who bought all those leases. I'm sure that they figure that if it could have been developed, we would have done that. And they'd be right.
There are lots of farmers down south with land that's been in their families for generations, with each generation (usually poor, but with lots of land) saying that this will be the day that the big oil guys start drilling on their land and they all become rich! You know, like the "Beverly Hillbillies."

Well, the day never comes, people are born and die, they move away, but the land sits there. In some cases, nothing happens even though there are oil wells and deposits everywhere around them. The question is, how do you even know what's under it if you never get a study? Is sitting there waiting and hoping for 100 years the only thing such a poor landowner could do?

(I realize this is a huge derailment to the thread, sorry)
 

WJK

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There are lots of farmers down south with land that's been in their families for generations, with each generation (usually poor, but with lots of land) saying that this will be the day that the big oil guys start drilling on their land and they all become rich! You know, like the "Beverly Hillbillies."

Well, the day never comes, people are born and die, they move away, but the land sits there. In some cases, nothing happens even though there are oil wells and deposits everywhere around them. The question is, how do you even know what's under it if you never get a study? Is sitting there waiting and hoping for 100 years the only thing such a poor landowner could do?

(I realize this is a huge derailment to the thread, sorry)
That's absolutely true about the farms. You know by doing seismic studies, which tells you about the possible pools of oil and gas trapped in the underground rock structures. The satellite maps are only an indication of possible deposits. But, even with the studies, drilling is still a huge gamble. There are a lot of "dry holes" that are drilled.

I also learned about a lot of pumping techniques. These pools of oil and gas are not static. When they start to deplete, you can many times let them sit and they will regenerate themselves. I learned that oil to the earth is like the blood in our bodies. If you over pump them, that allows water into those spaces and you can ruin the percolation of the oil forever. Managing a pumping field is a dance on a very thin wire.

Here, because the US government bought Alaska from the Russians, and then we became a state, the mineral rights are almost all owned by the State or the Feds. The only ones that are not are ones that were included in homesteads.
 

Greg26750

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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.
Congratulations.
Sorru but what is PPC management ?
 
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Smith953

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Because I was unaware of how unsustainable it would be, my first year was an incredible success. However, in my second year, I failed on every metric. In year two, I made so many costly mistakes.
Now that year three has begun, I've learned SO MUCH about running a business that I can't really consider year 2 to be a failure, but it was still a costly experience. I took many risks that more seasoned businesspeople would never take, and I now promise never to repeat those errors. Even though they were very costly errors, the cost was still less than a year of business school, and I already had connections and real-world experience.
Since I surpassed the industry learning curve during those first two years, I refer to them as "my street MBA."
Months have passed before I was able to move past how terrible year two was. But the fact that I now know where to concentrate my efforts gives me hope.
 

WJK

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Because I was unaware of how unsustainable it would be, my first year was an incredible success. However, in my second year, I failed on every metric. In year two, I made so many costly mistakes.
Now that year three has begun, I've learned SO MUCH about running a business that I can't really consider year 2 to be a failure, but it was still a costly experience. I took many risks that more seasoned businesspeople would never take, and I now promise never to repeat those errors. Even though they were very costly errors, the cost was still less than a year of business school, and I already had connections and real-world experience.
Since I surpassed the industry learning curve during those first two years, I refer to them as "my street MBA."
Months have passed before I was able to move past how terrible year two was. But the fact that I now know where to concentrate my efforts gives me hope.
I too have had a lot of failures over the years. Many of those were necessary steps for the successes that came later. It takes a real learning curve to make it all work. And sometimes stuff happens that is way beyond your control or experience.
We're headed for a very painful economic moment right now. I saw this coming a few years ago and I started to prepare. I had a bunch of other RE investors around me who told me that I was stupid and didn't understand RE and how to invest. They had 8 or 10 years of experience and were into OPM (other people's money) and leverage. I was getting lean and mean through debt reduction and consolidation. I tried to tell them I had 40+ years, but they were totally unimpressed. I tried to explain the early 1980's inflation fix (21% and 22% interest rates) and the 1990 decade when the bottom fell out of the RE market for years on end. Time will tell. Like Warren Buffet says, when the tide goes out, we'll see who is skinny dipping. I'm starting to find some good RE deals right now so my ship is coming in again.
 

WJK

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Many "failures" are a necessary step in the quest toward success It comes down to this. You cannot get from A to B without traveling through the fire. But, you can talk to the guy who has already done it and learn about fire suits!

It also has to do with the odds. I live by my assessment of my odds. I keep stats to create averages on just about everything I do. I know how many contacts it makes to gain a prospect. I know how many prospects it takes to make a RE offer. I know how many offers it takes to get an accepted RE deal and how many I close. Those scores of attempts are not failures. They are just part of the process and the journey. The real trick is to find ways to up my odds of success. I can tweak my program and have better odds. It's doing A & B tests for different formats and presentations. I can find out what works better and then do it.

Anyone who doesn't fail isn't playing the game. On the other hand, they aren't succeeding either. In life, you are either moving forward or drifting backward.
 

HoneyBadger302

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If "failure" is making some kind of profit when all is said and done, I've had side gigs that brought in money - some that resulted in spending way more than I earned in an attempt to keep them going (although spending on things I enjoyed, so there's that), but my current business is the first one that is changing my financial landscape - still a VERY, VERY long ways to go, but this is the first time when things have really taken a large financial impact, but a very long ways from success (there are many out there who still earn more in their day jobs than I do between both the business AND my day job).

I voted as if the current business is heading in the direction of success, even if it's not there yet.
 

WJK

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If "failure" is making some kind of profit when all is said and done, I've had side gigs that brought in money - some that resulted in spending way more than I earned in an attempt to keep them going (although spending on things I enjoyed, so there's that), but my current business is the first one that is changing my financial landscape - still a VERY, VERY long ways to go, but this is the first time when things have really taken a large financial impact, but a very long ways from success (there are many out there who still earn more in their day jobs than I do between both the business AND my day job).

I voted as if the current business is heading in the direction of success, even if it's not there yet.
Failures can be a vital stepping stone to a successful venture. They can get that one contact or skill that you really, really need. They can educate you on how things work. They can become a necessary piece of a bigger puzzle. They can be a road sign to get you to change your direction... If you are really lucky, they can be more than one thing or have multiple meanings.
 
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HoneyBadger302

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Failures can be a vital stepping stone to a successful venture. They can get that one contact or skill that you really, really need. They can educate you on how things work. They can become a necessary piece of a bigger puzzle. They can be a road sign to get you to change your direction... If you are really lucky, they can be more than one thing or have multiple meanings.
In my case, they definitely highlighted the difference between a business and just a side gig/hustle. Some lessons learned along the way for sure, many of which were what "not" to do, but lessons none the less. I'm sure there are more failures of various magnitudes in my future as well, but so long as persistance and a vision and self discipline pay off, I can make it happen.
 

Jrjohnny

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I mean what counts as a “failure”? I’ve been starting little businesses since I was 9 or something. If a failure means that it never took off or didn’t get any clients, Im at like a solid 3 or 4. But I’m hoping this next one will succeed. (There’s only 2 listed as I forget the rest)

Business 1 = pokemon card rip off called
Chip Cards: money made: $0
Ill try to find one of them and send a picture.

Business 2 = lawn care services
Money Made: $0 (on hold for now)
 

Bperry2

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I said 5, but I don’t know the exact number. There were little wins along the way but no continued business.
I worked at cemeteries and funeral homes for a few years. At 1 funeral home they allowed me to setup a monument company. I gave the funeral home 10% of sales. I only ran it for 6-12 months as I changed jobs after that. However, it was very successful. I sold less than 10 monuments, but a couple were expensive. I think I remember making $4 - 5k on 1 monument, and that family prepaid 2 funerals at the same time. I think it was my first $10k month.

I now run a successful painting and pressure washing business. It pays pretty well, but it’s a job - even though it’s my business. I’ve had losses since starting this business too.

Now I’m starting an online Christian Men’s Mastermind. I hadn’t planned to do this. When the idea hit me, I said no. When it hit no again, I said no. When I couldn’t sleep because I was thinking about the need for this, how exactly it will look, and the value my business can bring, I finally said yes. I’m building it out now.

We will focus on 7 areas of health: physical, mental, financial, spiritual, family, vocational and social. We will also focus on how to lead your family in these areas. I know I need help with this.

My goal is to provide MASSIVE value. I want men to be amazed at how much they get when they join this group. I also want them to be able to make money by being an affiliate.

Great things are happening. I’m pumped!!
 
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Pirsimils

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I've had a couple of businesses before finding my current breadwinner. They were all valuable learning experiences, but it took a bit of trial and error to hit the sweet spot.
 

WJK

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I've had a couple of businesses before finding my current breadwinner. They were all valuable learning experiences, but it took a bit of trial and error to hit the sweet spot.
I sure don't expect things to work out the first time I try them. I know it's a long learning curve to figure out how it is all going to work. This is especially true for complicated operations and plans. I try to take it one part at a time and get that aspect working. Then I move on to the next one and add it to my working parts. And I start with the easiest one first and move on from there. By the time I get to the hardest part, I've had time to think about it and it goes together easier. I used to start with the hardest part and struggle with it. I found that starting there caused total failure because I was stuck without seeing a way out.
 

SSTrey

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I sure don't expect things to work out the first time I try them. I know it's a long learning curve to figure out how it is all going to work. This is especially true for complicated operations and plans. I try to take it one part at a time and get that aspect working. Then I move on to the next one and add it to my working parts. And I start with the easiest one first and move on from there. By the time I get to the hardest part, I've had time to think about it and it goes together easier. I used to start with the hardest part and struggle with it. I found that starting there caused total failure because I was stuck without seeing a way out.
I find that 'in Steve Jobs words', we can only really connect the dots looking back.
As we are consumed in our journey we sometimes forget to look back.
Ive had carwashes, tutoring, furniture selling business, all I consider failures, lets hope my current fastlane attempts are much more fruitful ... 3 yrs and counting.
 
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Kak

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Once upon a time, I voted 4. But for more of an approximation.

Today, 5 years wiser, I've realized that even though I've experienced some levels of success, advancement requires exposing oneself to more potential failure. Success and failure coexist... likely forever.

I'll likely have failed in 1000+ major ways by the time I kick the bucket, just to make the successful stuff I'll ultimately be responsible for exist in the first place.
 

datagod

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Wow! 68% are still failing. That's high amount.

I would say at least 10. But depends on your skills and so many factors.

My first project that was doing more than 200$ a mo took me at least 5 years of failing. But that's because i was extremly young, out of focus. But during that 5 years i learned various skills that most don't have.
 

Sterling729

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I'd say 2 that I put serious effort in, 1 that I'm starting to do more seriously

1) Daytrading
Started trading forex while doing grad school. Quit grad school, worked for a prop firm daytrading stocks full time. Moved to a different city to join a bigger prop firm. I was a part time trader for about a year a half, before switching to full time for 3 years. The prop firm was commision based. I'd say I only took about about 5K the entire time I was there. I went practically insane learning every single strategy and market I could find. I guess the plus was I took up coding to do automated trading, and eventually left to get a software developer job.

2) Vlog/eBook
Had a soccer YouTube channel and analyzed pro players techniques. Started at the beginning of the pandemic and recently been winding down. Built value and goodwill with my audience. Only grew to 1.5K subscribers since, but engagement is high. All this time, never really thought how I'd make money. Ran a shopify store selling soccer equipment which I linked to the channel, but never generated any interest. Finally released the ebook. From running shorts on Youtube, TikTok, Instagram, only managed to get 10 sales at 7 dollars each, with each short having around 1-3K views each across the platforms. Don't know if I should promote it more, but I feel like there's not a ton of money to be made in it. If I sell enough of it, the ebook can be distributed freely online. From what I seen other soccer channels do to make more serious money, running training camps and ID camps where scouts come to look at you isn't something I want to do. I don't like the idea of selling improbable dreams to desperate kids looking to go pro. (Though have thought about being a soccer agent and doing private session trainings using the research I've done with those players under my contract)

3) Shopify/Dropshipping
6 months ago, bought custom made sunglasses with emojis (wearing sunglasses) on the arms from a supplier. Seems to garner 0 interest. Started it because my GF's uncle has been very successful with his sunglasses brand. Been researching what products seem good. Did RC Cesna Planes, but my site was shitty. Restarted with Japanese tea cups with designs. Site is better and got 1 add to cart but no sale because my shipping was high. Found a supplier with very cheap shipping since. However, I know this is quite a saturated space. Plan is to kind of figure out how this kind of business works before potentially manufacturing the items themselves and getting better distributors, etc. However, compared to the daytrading world, it feels no where near as saturated. At least, I'm not competing with a gazillion machine learning algorithms all fighting each other. On the other hand, reading through this forum, it seems like dropshipping isn't a market I should really focus on lol.

Any wise words welcome.
 
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