After experiencing my personal share of business failures, I can honestly say… “Failure is the stepping stone to success”!
On reading that statement, a good friend and long time reader of Clothed In Scarlet expressed her interest in reading more about business failures I had encountered in the past. Well, if I had to go in detail into all my business failures, I would have enough to fill a book!
So, let me start by sharing with you my very first major business failure. You know why it failed? Because it never took off!
Yes, you heard that right!
In January 2007, I had a clear vision for a website I wanted to launch. It was to be titled Online Business Manual, and it was going to be a one stop shop for all the training and resources anyone might require to start an online business. I did all my background research, and purchased the domain name.
I paid $30 for a membership at IAHBE to learn more about setting up an online business. I wanted to create a similar website, but providing the content for free.
This was the time when duplicate content was permitted online, provided the author gave you the rights. So, I was looking for articles that had electronic reprint rights that would make up 70% of the site content. And 30% of the website content was to be my own.
I went ahead and hired a web designer for about $150 with money graciously extended to me by my husband. We worked on the website for almost a year, but I was never fully satisfied with the design and some of the functionality. I wanted people to join a free membership area where they could get access to more content – but it just wasn’t coming together.
Eventually, my web designer got into the police academy and my progress on my website ground to a halt.
I had invested a lot of time and money into this project, but I was left with almost nothing to show for it (except for the content I had gathered, and a domain that was lying idle!) I conveniently repressed all thoughts of my pet project, shoved it under an invisible rug, and acted as if I didn’t just spend a year of my life on nothing!
Now when I look back, I realize I did a lot of things wrong. And so, to sum up, here are the lessons I learnt from that first business failure…
1. Lack of support
Working online was a relatively new fad back in the day, and not many people understood what it was all about. No one (in my family or friends circle) really knew what I was up to. It was basically a one-man show.
One thing I learned this time around is the importance of a network that will support you and push you to keep going even when you feel like you want to quit. This could be immediate family, like-minded online friends, or even other experienced people who have gone down the same path.
The quest for perfectionism proved to be my undoing. I edited, and changed, and tweaked things on my site, expecting complete perfection and getting disappointed because it wasn’t happening the way I envisioned it. I also had so many ideas, that I was distracted and couldn’t focus on just one.
Well, I could have just launched the website and added the membership area functionality later. Now I know that it is best to move forward and get it done, even if it’s not 100% perfect. That’s my motto these days… to just get started, do my best, get it out there, and then later tweak it to my satisfaction.
3. The wrong reasons
When I started “Online Business Manual”, I was a believer but I was far away from God. I wanted to launch the website just to prove myself. I was also competing with my husband to prove that I too could earn an income – right from home. Let me just say, anything we do for the wrong reason is not worth doing at all.
I do know better now though. I have drawn closer to God over the past 7 years, and I’m more keen to listen to what God wants me to do and follow His direction. The only reason I start new projects now is because God wants me to – and that’s good enough to sustain me!
I still own the domain “OnlineBusinessManual.com” to keep me grounded, and to remind me where I started from. The vision I had for Online Business Manual has become a reality through Clothed In Scarlet. It was a God-given dream, and in His time, He has made it beautiful.
Our God is gracious. He redeems what we consider lost, and creates beauty from ashes. He takes our mess and allows His glory to shine through. He does work out even our failures for our good… I am living proof of that![/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]