[Failure Series] Part 1: Understanding Failure and Why We Need It

Failure. 

So often we’re terrified of this one little word. It paralyzes us. Keeps us fearful and holds us back from attempting a deeply ingrained dream. It scares us so bad, often we think it’s better not to try than fail altogether. Who knew one little word held so much power?

In this series on failure, our hope is that our readers will learn not to fear failure but embrace it as a step in their journey to success.

What Is Failure?

The best way to start understanding something is to become familiar with what it is.

According to Dictionary.com, failure is defined as:

  1. A lack of success
  2. nonperformance
  3. or an insufficiency

You’ll notice, nowhere in those definitions are the words “impossible”, “Non-attainable” or “unreachable.” The common themes are “a lack” of something. When looked at by entrepreneurs, the art of failing is when one stops (nonperformance) trying to attain their goals (a lack of success). dont-fear-failure-fear-the-absence-of-progress-motivational-gym-quotes

Why Does It Terrify Us?

Good question. What exactly is it about failure that terrifies someone enough to keep them from even trying? Is it a damaging view of others? Maybe we’re afraid to give our last dimes to obtain something only to have it backfire. Perhaps it’s the idea of wasting time over something which seems silly.  Truth is, why failure paralyzes differs from person to person. It often depends on the individual.

History Is Made on Failure

No matter how terrifying, failure is one of the most beautiful things in the history of creation. Every living and non-living thing has experienced a form of failure. The next time you sit down at your laptop, your phone, your game system, the airport, etc, take a solid look. Every inventor of these great technological advances suffered failure! You have your phone because of ridicule and failure! Airplanes are flying on the backs of multiple failures! The books we read were printed on failure. The list goes on! What makes this different is these failures didn’t stop until they made the plane fly. Made the internet work. Made a website where most of the world’s online commerce occurs. History, great and small was built on the backs of failures. 

Why It Is More Valuable Than Success

db12c93a5358756069a09d2cacd08033This is most likely going to sound like the most absurd of ideas but it holds true. Bishop T.D. Jakes states, “we learn more from our failures, than our successes.” Why does he say this? Because once you’ve reached your success, whatever it may be, you are beginning something anew. You reach failure again and again when you work to brand and market that success. Failures are teachers. They beat us down, they hurt, they ache but in the end, we can choose to get up or we can stay down. Failure is the best learning tool. When Charles Darwin wrote his Origin of Species, he witnessed one the most elaborate examples of failure. Nature. 

Why We Need Failure

We wouldn’t grow without it. Our characters wouldn’t build to become something stronger. Our intellects wouldn’t be pushed to solve the problems caused by failure to become success. Bishop Jakes offers a story about his father, who began a business with only a mop and a bucket in a difficult time in history. However, he persevered and built a truly flourishing enterprise. 

The Truth Is, Your Dream Has to Sound Insane

Going back to Bishop Jakes. In his most recent appearance at the Global Leadership Summit, he states “your dream has to sound unattainable for it to be worth it.” It has to sound like it’ll hurt or is it worth your failure? For avid viewers of the popular Food Network show, Chopped, one cannot watch an episode without hearing stories of people who gave everything to obtain their culinary dreams. Did they think they’d get as much back as they did? No! Not at all but they took a risk and landed in one of the most viewed shows on television. 

“Your dream has to sound unattainable for it to be worth it.” — T.D Jakes, Founder of the Potter’s House

Ultimately, failure is terrifying. There’s no escaping the fact. The trick is to look it in the eyes and push through to make your dream a reality. Ask yourself, what have I really got to lose? Then ask – What have I honestly got to gain?

Failure-2

Some great resources for when you need some reassurance:

Soar by T.D Jakes, Potter’s House

Creativity, Inc by Ed Catmull, Pixar

Power of Your Potential by John Maxwell, author, pastor

 

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Authorlife: It Can’t Be About Fame or Money

Sales. love-life-money-quote-by-luis-d-ortiz-390364

We all would love to see consistent sales of our products. They can be books, services such as coaching classes, art, games, etc. The list goes on.

As an author, learning to accept that we will suffer times of feast and famine is a part of the art of marketing and writing itself.

There may be periods where our books and/or ebooks are flying of the shelves quicker than we can produce them. Yet there are times when we can fall prey to disappointment. Wanting to give up because things aren’t going the way we planned.

This is something, through hours of research, that we quickly realize especially as Indie or self-published authors.

It takes hours of hard work and persistence to build a brand. That’s what needs to be focused on. Build the brand, not the book.

But most important, a creator needs to remember why they chose to create their product in the first place because let’s face it. History is full of entrepreneurs of all kinds who went through periods of plenty and nothing.

d1dd5e679b0da3d15d96eff945e15583“Make Your Passion Your Paycheck”

Why did you choose to create your product in the first place? What were the goals you set for yourself when you began? Was it for the money? Fame? Etc? Or did you do it because you love doing what you do?

Why did you spend hours of stress, blood, sweat and tears to hold the product in your hands?

The truth friends, you have to do it because you love what you do. Many authors who are starting out usually won’t see much turnaround and often wind up spending more than they earn. This is a common occurrence when building a new business. It’s about taking a huge risk and being open to realizing, you might fail but accepting that failure and continuing anyway.

“True writing is not about money and selling.

It’s about passion. And readers certainly do discover and buy, well-written books by new writers. Authors only need to inform readers intelligently that they are passionate about what they do. Then book sales will look after themselves.”

Via Justpublishingadvice.com

Do what you do because you love to do it. Not for fame or fortune.

Work Smarter Not Harder

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One of the most successful women in the Indie publishing industry I have seen is Kristen Martin. Author of five best-selling books including her new self-help novel, Be Your Own Goals, Kristen offers multiple avenues of inspiration to those just starting out.

A powerful phrase she uses is “Work Smarter, not Harder.”

Now what does this mean? It means do the research and find what has worked for others and be willing to reach out to mentors who have been through what you are hoping to achieve.

It can also mean, utilizing the tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite to handle the work of scheduling early. It takes about 30 minutes to an hour to use these tools and it takes a great deal of stress off and avoids the twitter hustle and batch retweets.

Set deadlines, carve out hours to work on your passion and hold those hours sacred.

Be Consistent

“Don’t be upset about the results you didn’t get, from the work you didn’t do.”

Entrepreneurship-is-about-turning-what-excites-you-in-life-into-capital-so-that-you-can-do-more-of-it-and-move-forward-with-it_Richard-Branson-Quote_Mindset2MillionsAny successful entrepreneur will tell you they only got where they were because they put in hours of work.

Authors and creatives of any kind, in any field, must put in the late nights, early mornings and weekends to create and become successful at what they did.

You have to be willing to treat what you do like a business. Do not rely on just social media. It is necessary in forming bonds and networking but does not often result in sales.

 

Don’t Give Up!7da6194cf12177755188f4220f92d19b--writing-quotes-on-writing

Odds Are, you Might Not be The Next Stephen King or J.K. Rowling but that doesn’t mean you don’t have something to offer.

It may take a few titles, events and hours of promotion and networking. It may take break-downs, sadness, depression, and questioning your decisions. All of this is normal! We all go through it. Whatever you do, don’t give up!

3 Moves Entrepreneurs Must Make by Gerald Pilcher

There’s a lot of pressure for small-business owners to be masters of every aspect of their business. This is especially true when you’re first starting out and are often a one-person […] With somewhat limited resources and fear of failing, small-business owners will often push challenging tasks to the back burner. This may work out […]

via 3 Hard Moves Entrepreneurs Must Make — Gerald Pilcher

[Marketing 101] The Importance of Investing in People

Marketing101People4When you hear the names Harley Davidson, Ed Catmull, J.K Rowling, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg, what do you think of?

Do you think of motorcycles? How about Pixar? Harry Potter? Amazon or of course, Facebook?

What do all these success stories have in common? Yes, they have overwhelmingly popular brands making thousands of dollars every day. BUT! What is it they all have in common? What gave them the appeal? Did they just wake up and have these massive empires?

The answer is an all over resounding, NO!

These people had something they wanted to share with the world. Something they dreamed of and wanted to see successful. But how were they going to do this? Just post it up and wish or hope people would find their product if they decided to do no marketing whatsoever?

There was no social media when many of these great success stories came to fruition so what did they do to make such monumental impacts?

Simple. They saw the answer in front of them. Something so easily overlooked in a world saturated with desires to be famous and get rich quick goals. It wasn’t about them.

As marketers, we must remember it is about people first, not us! (2)They realized early on… in order to have a successful product, you need to focus on pouring your energy into people. It is people that pass around the news of your product. People who bring awareness. People who spread the word. It’s people that makes a company what it is. And this doesn’t only apply to book marketing!

It’s a universal truth in businesses of all kinds!

For example, in today’s marketing world, there is not a person who would not recognize the name of Amazon. It is a multi-million dollar corporation reaching across a global scale in a variety of products. In the world of eBooks it holds the top slot in self and indie publishing.

Why? Because of people.

“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” — Jeff Bezos

Jess Bezos recognizes the power of the influence of people. He goes on to say:

“Obsess about customers, not competitors.” Jeff Bezos

Here is a man, a powerhouse in today’s market, humbling himself to the influence of the people his company serves.

Think about it? If no one used Amazon. If they went on with going to Wal-Mart on black Friday or never participated in cyber Monday, would Amazon still hold the place it does in today’s market? No, it wouldn’t. It is the overwhelming power of people that Jeff Bezos utilized to make Amazon what it is. He saw a need; he filled it and now look at what he has?

So often, new marketers and entrepreneurs fall into the trap of “Here’s my product, buy it!.” We flood our social media with constant self-promotion and forget: As marketers and entrepreneurs, we must remember it is about people first, not us!

As marketers, we must remember it is about people first, not us! (1)Here are seven things to think about when you start marketing your product.

  1. People buy from entrepreneurs who have something they want.
  2. Satisfaction leads to word of mouth. Word of mouth spreads awareness.
  3. People like to feel like more than a wallet. Make it about them.
  4. Making it about them leads to repeated visits and customer loyalty
  5. People identify with people who take the time to speak with them
  6. There is no product without the audience
  7. People invest time and effort into something they attach too. You can help create that attachment.

Things to Remember:

  • Having a great product must always be about something you want to bring into fruition first and foremost! If you are serious, the passion has to continue into marketing and reaching people!
  • Do NOT see marketing a product as a get rich quick scheme. Many of the companies listed (Amazon, Harley Davidson, Pixar, Harry Potter and Facebook) took years to gain momentum!
  • Recognize a need/ find your niche/ tribe.
  • Anyone can bust out information told over and over on blogs and websites. Find something you want to ask but no one seems to have addressed yet.
  • Anything worth doing is going to take some serious work!
  • 80/20 Rule >> 80% of your engagement must involve your audience; 20% can be you.

Marketing101People2Making money doing what you love is a dream many of us have. We long to quit our jobs and make our burning passion our daily job BUT we must remember, in the end, we want people to know we exist. If your passion is more than a hobby, start networking with people now! Whatever you do, never give up. Success is a process, not a sprint.

 

 

 


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