The Art Of Failure For Startups And Entrepreneurs
Ask any successful Entrepreneur or Startup executive and they will tell you that they have failed many many times before succeeding. If they claim that they never ever failed before, then usually they’re either lying or got really lucky. Unfortunately luck doesn’t stick on forever and sometime it is ok to accept failure. After all startup is filled with uncertainty. We just have to make sure that if an idea fails, we as entrepreneurs can come back up off the ground and keep moving forward. Let’s go over the art of failure!
Most people would say it’s ok to fail, it’s even better to fail faster than anyone else. Why? Failure is a life experience. I remember a few years back when tech support jobs were consider the hot jobs. A lot of college undergrads and post grads tried to apply for these jobs, but none of them got in. Why? Because the employers knew that it doesn’t matter if these recent grads have a PHD, they can’t put together a router. In other words, they lacked real time experience. What’s the best way to experience something? Go out and built your startup, talk to people, get it done, and take action. That is when the art of failure comes in. Nobody is going to be a genius in the real world the minute they step into it, you learn along the way. Failure is what drives us forward. Imagine if you were successful everyday and everyone appraised you for your work, you would probably think that you are doing well and that you do not need to push yourself any further. Now switch it up and imagine that if you failed on your idea, now you can dive into why you fail and not run into that same mistake on your next adventure. Failure is what drives us and motivates us forward. It’s an art.
So What If I Fail, I Can Come Back Up
The key difference between someone who climbed a corporate ladder vs an entrepreneur or startup co founder is that most of the time the entrepreneur is already used to failing. If someone who has been receiving a paycheck for the last 15 years loses their job, it can be a big hit for them. For startup entrepreneurs we’re use to failing and we can always find a way around it and get back up. That’s the mentality that entrepreneurs need to live by. We have to tell ourselves that if we want to succeed and achieve our goals we must not give up. In the end you only lose when you give up. As an entrepreneur, you have experienced more than what a lot of regular people have out there. Life experience is the key to success in any business. If your startup venture fails, don’t go banging your head against the wall. Instead, understand that you failed faster than anyone else and you learned a lot from it that is all that matters. I recently asked an upcoming startup CEO whether or not he would regret running a startup if his startup did fail. The CEO replied to me saying, “No, because the lessons that I learned about running a business, getting my hands dirty, managing employees, and developing customer relations is priceless. This will carry on with me onto my next startup adventure.” This CEO claims that he failed terribly 3x and that he was forced to switch his product’s idea during an incubator.
Being Uncomfortable Does Not Lead To Failure
A lot of startup entrepreneurs talk about how they do not want to get out of their comfort zone. The art of failure requires that you get out of your comfort zone and that is how you become successful. Think about the most uncomfortable situation you could be in when starting a business. Now tackle that problem and face it. Again, if you fail you learn from it and grow yourself along it. There’s a famous quote that says, “It’s easy once you know and experienced it.” Being uncomfortable does not mean that you have fail, it actually means that your startup or business is growing. You are expanding beyond your usual horizon and trying out new stuff. Isn’t that what startups is all about? Testing and finding the correct product/revenue model? If your the type of person who wants everything to be under your control and not take any outside advice, chances are you won’t get far. Think about the roles of a UX/UI designer, who does many many A/B testing everyday. Those talented individuals fail everyday because sometime their first designs just doesn’t attract enough people, but with A/B testing, they can determine which designs work. The art of failure is something that everyone should get use to not just startup entrepreneurs.
The Hidden Rule Of Failure
The art of failure isn’t taught in schools. In school they teach that you have to do everything correctly. You have to do things a certain way. For example if you were taking a math class and you solved the problem with a different formula, the teacher might mark off points because you didn’t follow their formula or their way. The problem with that concept is that every single year, you have the same teachers teaching the same material from the same book to a big class of students. So, how does that make you different from your classmates? Noone is naturally born smarter than another person, it is what you learn along the way. I’m not saying the school system fails or that you shouldn’t go to school, but many entrepreneurs would agree that learning stuff on your own and failing over it is the fastest way to jumpstart any education or startup.
Examples of where preparing for failure mattered
Robert Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, emphasizes on the importance of failure. Even though a lot of people believe that what he says is a joke, there are still a lot of valid lessons to take from it. For example, he mentioned in a speech that when he was in the military they taught him to fail. That wasn’t something he could have learned in school because in school they teach everyone to do things correctly and not fail. He would practice putting himself in dangerous situations and reacting to them everyday. That eventually saved his life when he was on the battlefield because he prepared how a failure could occur and trained himself to react accordingly. Noah Kagan a famous internet marketer also speaks about the art of failure quite often. In his business model course, he teaches people how to fail. He believes that the first thing you have to do to become successful is to get out of your comfort zone and fail. Hell, he even created an iphone game that teach people how to fail. Tim Ferriss is another person who advises that entrepreneurs learn how to fail. He talks about approaching random girls and asking them for a date just so that you could get use to being rejected and failing.
There’s a lot more to failure, but the key point to take away from this is that it is perfectly ok to fail. We as entrepreneurs can come back up in the case of failure and overcome it. We learn to analyze the mistakes and ensure that we do not make the same mistake ever again.