July 29, 2021

Failing

I closed a business today. A business that only ever made $150.

Why didn't it work? No sales. The business was a solution in search of a problem; offering something I am good and and like doing but that the clients I targeted did not see as valuable. There are businesses which sell this service – one in my region, even – but they typically have a brand name associated with them that greatly helps in selling. It didn't help that the service is fundamentally in person and in groups, but it wasn't working before the pandemic.

I didn't try hard enough to sell. I sent email after email and had a few sales calls, but I didn't offer a free seminar. Because I was working full time – some of the time working 70+ hours a week – and going to graduate school and starting a family. I did not have the time or commitment to make it work.

As a result of working hard at my job and finishing a graduate degree I have a job that pays well. I make twice what I would be making if the business had operated on par with the main competitor in the area.

I have failed at a lot of things. Lots of people write that failure is good, that we should "fail fast," and put quotes over images they post to social media. But failing sucks. Even if you learn a lot from failing – and every time I fail I do – you might not be learning how to get the outcome you wanted. You might be learning that the outcome you wanted isn't worth wanting.