Entrepreneurs average 3.8 failures before final success. What sets the successful ones apart is their amazing persistence. – Lisa M. Amos
I have a friend, Jordan, who’s really going through the struggle at the moment. He’s a new entrepreneur and he’s experiencing the growing pains of having a new, untested, unproven business. Uptake is a bit slower than he’d like. Sales are well behind where he assumes he should be and would like to be.
We speak frequently and I know he’s working hard and putting his whole into his business. He wants to succeed but doesn’t quite see the way there yet.
Life Is a Highway – Which Off Ramp Is Yours?
Imagine life as a long stretch of highway in the middle of nowhere. Every 25 miles there’s an off-ramp to a destination. Some of these are labelled, others are unmarked. Your journey through life has two unavoidable choices:
- Keep going on the highway as far as it will take you.
- Take one of the exits and try a different road, hoping it leads somewhere better.
If you keep going on your current path, will you succeed? That depends on the goal, right? You’ll get somewhere in the future and it’s further ahead than you are now. But will that be the road to success, profit and happiness? That’s harder to predict.
I was on the Pro Photography highway. I took this road for almost a decade and it brought me places I never thought I’d be. I have made thousands of friends along the way, been to Vegas to present at a major conference and learned most of my business skills sitting in the Borders café reading books until it felt like they would kick me out.
Along the way I realized I didn’t really want to go where that road was leading. I could see the struggles pro photographers are currently having with iPhones and iPads at weddings, instant-gratification society and the possibility of having a career that may disappear from under me.
I took an exit ramp onto the SEO Expressway. As I drove on my new highway, I passed through Entrepreneurship, Affiliate Marketing, SEO Agency and Corporate Politics. I didn’t want to call any of those home permanently so I will continue on Marketing Consultant Drive until I find somewhere nice to spend more time.
Jordan Shoots … But Does He Score?
If you only ever chase the quick wins, the easy drives, the fast money you are going to fail more than succeed. Someone once posed a question: if you were starting your studio again today would you rather be the best businessperson on the block and a poor photographer or a poor businessperson and the best photographer in town?
This is an exceptionally easy question to me. The best businessperson can sell, grow their business and if needed, hire someone better as a photographer or even pay someone to teach them. They will have revenue and profits and 10 years from now still be in business. A great photographer who doesn’t understand money, taxes, profit margin or accounting is the definition of a “starving artist.”
Similarly, talent is not as impressive as passion and persistence. If you have more talent than someone else but give up easily, a few setbacks will knock you down. Meanwhile, someone less talented but with more passion will keep fighting. We call this “Win Like Stupid” named after a great article by a giant metal dinosaur.
I admire Jordan for his persistence with his new business. He’s giving it a lot of time, effort and money to make this work. Will it?
Honestly I’m not sure it matters. Jordan has an incredible passion for marketing and business. Maybe he will turn this into one of the great successes of his career or maybe it’s just 1 of the 3.8 failures he will suffer before his final success.
As Jordan works on his business I’m reminded that business success can take many forms. One of those forms is as a lesson. Whether or not this particular business succeeds, Jordan will take many priceless lessons with him as he continues his drive. Only he will know whether he’s happy when he arrives at a later destination but for now, he pushes forward.
Success can come from talent but it can equally be found in passion, patience and persistence. Find what you have inside that can take you as far as you want to go.
Have you had failures before? What did you do about them? Are you pushing on to new challenges? Comment below and as always, don’t forget to subscribe.