How to use your failure and turn it into business insight and success

Oh lordy, she has dropped the “f” bomb! Wash her filthy mouth out with soap! One word we usually don’t associate with success in business is failure. By definition, it is, in fact, the antonym. The very opposite of what we’re all working towards. So how could failure possibly be a great thing for your business?

I have had many failures in my business. Some were so epic I was driven to the quiet darkness of my linen cupboard to muffle my snorts and sobs from the neighbours. For a few years while trying to move to an online business model the linen cupboard was so frequently visited Office Assistant was confused if I ever went in and emerged with towels. What I know now that I didn’t know then was the failure deserved celebration, not commiseration.

I learned how NOT to do things by actually doing them

A common theme with both my one on one clients and my Members Club gals is a fear of putting their new product, service, marketing funnels, pricing models, Facebook Ad etc…. (the list goes on) out into the world for fear they will fail. What if it doesn’t work? What if no one buys? What if they waste a lot of time?

There really is only one way to see if your idea is going to fly and that is to test it out by taking action. Sure, there is some learning and researching and planning that you need to do but it’s at the point where you need to push the “go” button that women get stuck.

The “what if’s” will drive you mad

Stuck in the what if’s is business purgatory. I have been there. Second guessing every move and over analysing every decision. I would go looking for reasons my latest offering, marketing, ad or course wasn’t going to work. I would obsess over what my competitors were doing and scrutinize every possible path forward. The fear of failure was paralysing.

You learn by doing, not by planning

I wasted a lot of time and money in the “what if’s”. I learned nothing. I made no extra income from that thing I didn’t launch. I just burned precious hours, raised my cortisol levels (not a good thing) and tied myself in to knots. You don’t learn by planning. You learn by doing.

Let’s take an example of packing a suitcase, something I have done countless times. I have moved countries and spent months on the road working and living out of suitcases. Before a big move or long stint of work travel I would write a list of items needed then gather it all and dump it on the bed. I didn’t then spend the next month trying to figure out if all the stuff would fit by staring at it. That would be weird and crazy.

I took my goodies and rolled and squished and stuffed until my suitcase was full. If I couldn’t zip it up (regular occurrence!) I would edit non-essentials or anything I could purchase when I arrived at my destination.

The only way to figure out if my bag packing was a success was to do it. Once packed I jumped on the scales to make sure it was underweight, those excess luggage fees are no freaking joke!

The faster you fail the truly you succeed

The faster I failed to pack my bag the faster I would figure out what to do next. Your business is the same in a slightly obtuse kind of way. The faster you launch your online course, new service, new email building sequence, new bonus offer…. the faster you will see if it works or not.

If it doesn’t work you can move quickly to make adjustments and try again. Don’t chuck your proverbial suitcase in the trash. Just unpack and start again with a new approach. You might need to repack many, many times so don’t get discouraged. I almost threw out a very successful offering because it didn’t sell the first or second time. Now that offering feathers my nest, fills my tummy and covers Office Assistants regular (and totally indulgent) salon visits. It also covers my trauma insurance and bumps up my retirement fund. Well worth repacking that suitcase!

Numbers don’t lie

The best indicator of success is the measurables. The numbers. Oh… yes… here she goes again with her numbers tracking rant…

If you truly want to know if your new idea was a success then track the number and see what they tell you. Did people show interest? Did people buy? How many people who showed interest then became customers?

Once you know your numbers you can all your energy on repacking the parts that didn’t perform well. If you keep those numbers somewhere safe you can then refer back to them next time you have something to offer. That way you can make educated assumptions about the results you should see.

I know when I launch an online program what I am expecting the outcome to be. I know how many members and how much money that course should bring in. If it doesn’t then I look through the numbers to see the red flag. Where did I lose people? What number wasn’t what I expected.

Now over to you! What have you been sitting on for fear of failure? What new thing are you ready to put out into the world? How much money and time are you wasting sweating the details instead of launching? All interesting questions, right?