Creative Small Business Success: 5 Ways Failure Made Me Succeed
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After 7 years of operating a business you learn pretty fast that failure can be your best friend – yes, I said friend! Why? Well first and foremost you will never learn much from success, but you will learn from your failures, big or small. So yes, your small business success is based on what you learn and choose to do with failure.
Don’t get me wrong. I do not expect myself or anyone else to love failure. After all who likes to work hard at something only to have to go back and rework it or worse completely start over? I’ll be the first to say I abhor that feeling – the feeling of wasted time is the worst!
However, failures or life frustrations in general work out so much better when make a choice to have a positive reaction. Well, as positive as you can – sometimes you have to do a 5-minute screaming and crying session then collect yourself and move on.
In this post I will share with you how I learned and am still learning, to help my small business success grow through adapting from my failures.
Small Business Success: 5 Ways Failure Made Me Succeed
1. You learn how to be yourself
I think for some, we start out on a creative journey and are initially driven by some of our own ideas mixed with ideas we have seen from others. There is nothing wrong with being inspired by other people, but I will be the first to admit it can be easy to fall into the trap of trying to be like someone else. You will probably find yourself getting caught up in the art of comparison from the start.
You need to constantly remind yourself that this is your journey with your unique vision. True, what you are doing probably has been done before, but it has never been done by you!
I promise you will be so much happier when you see your own ideas succeed because it’s all you! Genuinely presenting yourself to your tribe with authentic ideas and products with get you much further than being a total copycat.
2. The beginning plan will never match the end result
This is a valuable lesson that a lot of people will learn as their small business grows, but won’t fully realize till years later. Whatever your vision is now it will change. As you grow and change so will your business. You may learn to love something you didn’t expect, or know about or fall into a new creative passion that life’s journey brings you.
This is a great thing! Embrace the fact that the beginning will never look like the end. So if you feel like you’re failing in the beginning, that’s alright! It just means that your end will look much different – it will be better!
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3. You find your tribe
Failing can often take on the face of rejection. I promise no matter what niche you are in, at some point and time you will receive some form of rejection. It may be a negative product review, a rude comment, no one reading or engaging on a website, etc. But despite the fact that this is not a pleasant thing to experience it is, again, a good thing to learn from.
First, this shows us that you are rejecting the wrong people and attracting the right ones. Not everyone will like you no matter what you do. In fact, it’s a proven fact that at least 10% of people you come in contact with will not like you.
The good news? That means you can learn from that to attract your tribe!
This brings me to the second point and bottom line; you should focus on captivating your tribe of fans and repelling the people who are not, which may mean feeling some rejection from time to time. Don’t worry, that just means you are succeeding in growing the right audience!
4. You find a better strategy
I don’t know about you but when I experience any type of failure I always find myself pausing and re-evaluating what I am doing. I take a moment to consider if there is anything I should take away from the loss or the criticism. It can be very hard not to jump straight into the trap of blaming a system or person.
Ask yourself if there is anything the failure can teach you about the following:
- How to refine your brand’s message?
- How to revise your strategy?
- How to communicate better?
- How to raise or improve your standards?
- Can you build a stronger foundation or vision in a specific area?
- Can you go and educate yourself better on a certain topic or task?
- Can you research or plan better?
- Can you be more consistent?
5. You find your courage
Charlie Chaplin once said, “It takes courage to try something scary, courage to fail, and courage to mess up and make a fool of yourself.”
Failure will make you pretty darn courageous. The first time you fail at something, big or small, know that if you choose to learn from it rather than run from it you are courageous. Courage is a decision you will have to make over and over again for your small business to succeed. You will have to look a dream in the face scared of failing and then do it afraid anyways.
If you don’t, that doubt will end up trampling more of your small business dreams than the failure by itself ever will. In the several websites/businesses I have run, I have had to revise my vision and even take on full re-banding, losing some business because of it, but in the end, succeed at a greater level by taking that risk and being brave.
So courage, dear heart!
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Although never fun at the time, accepting failure is a part of the process of small business success. You have to make a choice to learn the lesson failure is trying to teach you and to not stop there, but apply the lesson learned to create your success. Succeeding in your small business is not going to be a linear line to the top. Rather it will be a journey of finding yourself, understanding the end will not look like your beginning vision, finding your tribe of people, constantly refining your strategy, and then finding courage in yourself through it all.
You will never meet any successful person who hasn’t had their share of letdowns on their way to small business success.
So the next time you experience some sort of failure, celebrate! You are one step closer to learning how to make your small business a success!
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Wishing you creativity and success!