Failure, Like Good Medicine, is Essential but Tastes Horrible

A failure is not a mistake, it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying.

~B.F.Skinner

One thing that I keep learning over and over again is admitting failure is the hardest part of seeking financial freedom and location independence. Especially because there is no exact point of failure. There are no rules that someone else has set for us. It is not a simple matter of answering questions on a sheet of paper to determine success or failure.

The only one setting the rules (if any) is me. I can try something for a couple of days and if it doesn’t work I could say I’ve failed. Or, I can keep trying to do the same thing every day, making minor adjustments, and keep telling myself that if I persist it’ll eventually fall through. It was indeed a tough call to scrap something that I’ve spent months working on. Will the next thing work? How do I decide if that has to be scrapped too? Will I be able to keep going after admitting to repeated failures? I do not know, but I ain’t quitting.

While trying to build my online business, I had come across some really good advice that I decided to ignore. I believed I was special and that I can do it in a way others couldn’t. Now, I can honestly say that lessons learnt the hard way are always etched the deepest. I hope that by sharing my own failure I can warn the the side hustlers, beginner entrepreneurs/freelancers, and all other freedom seekers to listen to the folks who have walked this path before. These are the two things that I wish I had listened to.

You are not your customer

I know this is build your business 101, but I made this mistake. I wanted to help other 25-30 year olds with their career issues by coaching them. I thought I paid for coaching and online courses, so surely I can make others see the light as well. I can get them to pay me to coach them. And, before even starting to work on my business model I had gone against the pay certainty technique (by Ramit Sethi, of I Will Teach You to be Rich). I knew that my customers had the money, but I had BS’d myself into believing that they were willing to pay just because I had paid for similar products/services. So, from now on, I will put all my energy into rebuilding my business. But, only after proper customer research, a.k.a talking to them. Why build something that no one will pay for?

Find additional sources of income other than your own business 

I got this on a live group call with Jenny Blake and Melissa Anzman. I remeber exactly what I was thinking. No way! I am not going to let making money divert me from my goal. If I have to make money it will be only from my business.  All I can say now is I don’t remember how many times I’ve stubbed my toe, but falling down face first has a way of imprinting itself on memory. I wanted to make money by coaching other people to overcome their career issues. And, since the beginning I have been trying to deny the truth. A business that doesn’t make money is no business. So, I’ve decided to work my day job, try to build my business, and make money by freelancing, all at the same time. Extra hard work and lesser sleep, yaayy! Who doesn’t love that?

So, after nearly six months of trying to build my coaching business, I’ve realized that no matter how much I dislike the idea of doing something only for making money, without it I can’t keep seeking freedom. And, I can’t build a business inside my head. I’ve got to deal with the fear of actually talking to people.  The only thing I can do now is learn from these mistakes and move on. I won’t stop trying though, otherwise my will to be free will die a slow death. So, I would like to ask you what is one thing that you’d pay to have a solution for. Please leave your answers in the comments below.

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10 thoughts on “Failure, Like Good Medicine, is Essential but Tastes Horrible

  1. You definitely need to find the strategies that work for you and that feel comfortable to you. I would – and have – paid for the solution of how to find more meaningful, fulfilling work, and there are twentysomethings out there who will also pay for the solution. Are there enough to sustain a whole business right off the bat? Perhaps not, but once you get increased exposure and referrals, there are more of them. Best of luck!

    • I agree with what you say. However, twenty somethings are more likely not to pay because thy do not have a regular cash inflow. Not to mention they believe that one can conquer the world alone. To pay for services that have no direct, tangible benefit will take a little more maturity. But, like Jenny mentioned in her blog post last week, the creative process is not a linear one. So, I guess, it’s alright to try out different things and keep the ones that work and discard the rest.

  2. There are two many talking heads out there who sell expensive coaching that make me wonder if they’ve ever actually accomplished anything themselves. Granted some are even able to say, well, I don’t need to do that because I get results for my clients. True but I personally have a hard time selling that, so how do I ever get any traction?? One of the recent programs that’s shined a painful but much needed spotlight on what has been the key problem in so many of my previous ventures is Dane Maxwell’s Foundation. His 500k story is astonishing & elegant at the same time in getting down to the essence of why so many fail why others thrive.

    • I hear you. I’ve faced the same doubts when other people ask me what qualifies me to charge for coaching. I still haven’t found that traction. But, I think coaching is a relationship business. We must start helping people from the get go and take action on the coaching part. The business part we must keep trying by modeling other successful coaches.
      Hadn’t heard about Dane Maxwell, will check it out. I find Brendon Burchard’s story and work very inspiring.
      Thanks for reading & commenting. Best of luck.

  3. Lots of clever people say the key to business success is to fail quickly, so you can keep moving on to find the idea that works. Failure is not a bad thing! I’m not sure on the specifics of your practice but from what you described above it is a mile-wide niche with high competition, so bringing out your unique angle or niching down may help you to stand out more & attract attention. There’s gotta be that ‘why you?’ factor for them to pay you over the other coaches. It’s one industry where blending in isn’t an option! Good luck!

    • Well, I had niched down my target customers. I had even made an Ideal Client Profile. After talking to people from my target customer base, I discovered that they would be hesitant to pay for coaching. Primarily because they had never paid for such a service before. I believe there is no point trying to sell them on something they are unwilling to pay for. So, I’m trying to approach them from a different angle than directly offering career coaching.
      Thanks for reading & commenting. I appreciate the words of advice.

  4. I totally agree, im sure you know that fail stands for first attempt in learning!

    I pay for a lot of things just because I find value in it. I pay for coaches (even though I am a coach) because I want to improve my game, I pay for training programs, I pay for drinks and meals. I am actually a trained psychologist and my friends perceive

    I run a coaching practice, and I charge no so cheap rates. When I started off, I did it part time to my job, much like the advise from Jenny and Melissa charging $30 per session (in retrospect, that was ridiculous priced).

    I realized that my clients kept getting results. So I started to charge more, and now I am going to run my first online program. My key learning, is that my ideas suck always unless validated by 10 paying customers. I am creating the online course, because I do have clients who approach me who cant afford my rates, so this is a way I am capturing my market.

    You need to be clear on the value your giving them. For me I have realized that I give my customer is that they get the clarity of what they want to do, and we tackle fears that are stopping them.

    I would suggest, if you want to do coaching, then first work with a coach to see how it works or read three books or do a certification program. You can start to charge lower rates (never free – people just don’t value it)

    Best of luck, its an awesome journey!!

    • I am really sorry for the delay in replying to your comment. It had been sent to my spam folder; not sure why.
      I completely agree with what you say. Learning from coaches is the best way to become a coach. I am enrolled in a coach training program and the content is awesome. However, the kind of people I want to work with (offer my service to), are not amenable to avail such a service. So, instead of approaching them with the offer of coaching, I am working towards helping them in a way that makes sense to them.
      Thank you for the kind words.

  5. Pingback: Your Passion will not Make You Money, But it is the Only Reason to have a Business | In Pursuit of Freedom

  6. Pingback: How to Deal with Disappointment, on the Path to Freedom | In Pursuit of Freedom

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