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My Startup Failed. 5 Lessons Learned

This is a quicky but it packs a punch. I stumbled across an article written by someone who’d just officially killed his startup. His story speaks volumes.

You’ve got to go read his post here. You can sense the pain in his words.

Below are 5 lessons to take away from this with my commentary on each.


1. “Amazon (who was our payment processor) suspended our account for not complying with money transfer issues.”

Know the rules of the services you use. Play by them.

To be honest, I’m still kind of excited they took the chance and launched the thing. I can picture another scenario where they waited months to ship out of stress to get the amazon stuff just right.

That would have solved this problem, but likely created others.


2. “People really didn’t really LIKE anything about our product.”

This is an amazing moment — to hear the feedback, have the realization and admit it to yourself.

Can you picture it? You put time and money and blood into making a thing. It’s all you’ve seen for MONTHS and the the resounding feedback is: I don’t like it.

Are you ready for that kind of experience? Work on it.

This wasn’t feedback telling HIM that HE was an idiot. It’s not personal. Try not to take it that way when you end up in this scenario.


3. “They were trying to support the artist, so saving a few dollars didn’t excite them.”

This was a built in blind spot. It happens more often than you think.

When you hear it for the first time coming from the mouth of your audience it’s a DUH! moment… how could I have been blind to that!?

Ideas that feel right to you create tunnel vision — you can’t see the corollaries even though it’s the FIRST THING the audience thinks in many situations.

This is one reason why release early, iterate often has become the mantra. Get it out, get the feedback, assume you have blind spots.

Come to your business ready to learn from the audience.

(By the way, I have to say, if this stuff is resonating with you I highly recommend the course I just put together in Fizzle about the mindset tweaks you need to make as an entrepreneur. Get it for a buck here).


4. “We should have packed it up early right then, but we felt like we had already gone too far to quit.”

Ugh. I so feel for this guy. This is human nature: to chase after the bits you’ve spent and try to get the value out of them even though you ALREADY KNOW IT WON’T WORK.

Spend $500 with a designer, get two weeks in, realize they’re bad…

But we’re emotional about the money we’ve already spent. INSTEAD of cutting the losses, taking it on the chin like a big boy/girl and making the hard and true decision, we chase after that initial $500 and end up paying more time and money to get a sub-par return.

I heard someone say a while back: an entrepreneur is someone who makes hard decisions. When it comes, acknowledge it, evaluate, make your best call and pull the trigger.


5. “Although our company did not succeed … we all learned more in the past year than we had in college.”

There’s the moral of the story, folks. Sound cheezy? Maybe it’s because you haven’t been there. Because this is true.

8 out of 10 new businesses fail in the first 18 months (source). That means you’ve got a 20% chance of success with your new venture.

My question is: what are the chances for your second time around? What about your third?

They get better.

Look at things this way, with a longer term view. Listen to your business, learn from it. Take it out back and put it out of it’s misery if necessary.

And welcome the experience, because it’s setting you up with deeper insight, more conviction and better odds for the next time.



The Top 10 Mistakes in Online Business

Every week we talk with entrepreneurs. We talk about what’s working and what isn’t. We talk about successes and failures. We spend time with complete newbies, seasoned veterans, and everything in between.

One topic that comes up over and over again with both groups is mistakes made in starting businesses. Newbies love to learn about mistakes so they can avoid them. Veterans love to talk about what they wish they had known when starting out.

These conversations have been fascinating, so we compiled a list of the 10 mistakes we hear most often into a nifty lil' guide.

Download the guide

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