You tried (business venture, project, idea, etc.) and failed. Now what?

Here is a quick Q & A of things that might be on your mind during this time and how we suggest in dealing with them. What exactly are our qualifications for writing the answers? In the last 20 years, we’ve failed a ton and we’re pretty good at it too, so hopefully this will help you.

1) Who Do I tell?

Besides the people that it affects directly? Really no one. No need to rent a bill board right? But seriously, you obviously tell anyone who might be impacted directly. That’s it. Or tell everyone. You think everyone “out there” cares far more than they do. The only people who mattes are those who are directly involved.

2) What do I say?

Be honest. Say as much as you want. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. As actress Lucille Ball said, “I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.” Zero shame allowed. The world, believe it or not, will keep turning.

3) How do I do it?

We have found if you aren’t interested in staying the course, it’s best to close things down, delete the files and move on as quickly as possible. This falls under the “fail fast” banner. Don’t spend time agonizing.

4) How do I learn from it?

Do a ‘Failure Autopsy’ by listing the reasons, as far as you can tell, why it failed. List the things you’d do differently next time. And list the things that went well too. We do this for virtually every project and it helps immensely.

5) How do I get my confidence back?

Well, why is it gone? Where did it go?  Congratulations you are in a category of very special, elite people who tried something and failed at it. J.M. Barrie said, “We are all failures – at least the best of us are.”

6) But I thought I was supposed to be persistent, what’s the deal?

Glad you brought that up. There is a fence we walk on of being persistent and quitting. How do you know what to do? Of course only you can decide. But there are a couple good tests: If you are only interested in doing said venture if it “goes fast” or “goes easy” that is a bad sign – probably best that you quit and move on. Another good test is to pretend that everything that needed to happen for your venture to be a success just happened. Would you be happy? Or are you still unhappy? You can never get enough of what you don’t really want. If that is where you find yourself, be honest, it’s time to move on.

7) What do I do now?

Don’t give up! This is when persistence comes back in. Take what you’ve learned and try something else. Take another shot. What’s next for you? Maybe you really are just ready to move on. Or, maybe you’re interested in giving this thing another shot. Think it over.

That said, how can you monetize your failure? For example, we’ve published several books over the year. Some have done extremely well, others were disasters. We dug in and studied why those books failed and taught people how to avoid the mistakes we made. So, in the end, the failures were not only good lessons, they paid off, literally.

Finally, we will leave you with this. Actor Jim Carrey said, “It is better to risk starving to death then surrender. If you give up on your dreams, what’s left?”

Comments? Please let me know your thoughts. And if you liked this post, please share! – AW