What Can You Learn From Failed Business Ideas?
If you don't already know, it's not all rainbows and sunshine when you take the leap into entrepreneurship and pursue your business dreams.
In fact, it's probably safe to say that for most of us, starting an online business involves a few bumps, bruises, and “WTF” moments along the way.
Of course, we all want to hear the success stories of our favorite bloggers, authors, and online entrepreneurs who are running successful creative businesses.
We want to know exactly what makes them successful, how long it took to get that success, how much money they made, and any other positive details that will inspire us along our own journey.
But what about their failed business ideas? What about what DIDN'T work?
What about the times they fell flat on their faces with their business ideas? You know, the ones that completely, and utterly flopped?
I'm always fascinated with this side of the story (Here's a good failure story to read.)
This is probably because I have my own unique failure stories which have shaped who I am as a mom entrepreneur and how I approach my online business today.
In this post, I'm sharing some of the dirty little details of how I failed at my first several attempts of running a business as a mompreneur, what I learned, and how it's brought me to where I am now.
The Beginning of My Entrepreneurial Journey
When I turned 25 (still single and child-free), my entrepreneurial spirit emerged. It was as if someone turned on a faucet, and one idea after another came flowing into my mind.
I self-published my first book that year, which was an amazing accomplishment for me. Then, before I could even get started on the plethora of other “Million Dollar” ideas cramped inside my brain, I found myself married, moving, and expecting two baby boys!
The Business of Love and Motherhood
Instead of continuing in the business of writing and book publishing, I found myself in the business of love and motherhood. In 2010, I embarked on the most fantastic, nerve-wracking journey of my life. On a mild October morning at 11:12 am, I became the mother of a beautiful, 7 lb 1 oz baby boy. Then, two minutes later I became a mother again to a gorgeous 5lb baby boy.
In the span of 120 seconds, our petite family of two had doubled in size! We were instantly no longer responsible for just ourselves. After a 36 week 5 day wait, we were now the proud guardians of two children to call our own.
The change came swiftly, and rather unapologetically to my life.
Nurturing two babies at one time was FAR, FAR harder than I would have imagined. Life was a blur of breast milk, formula, burp cloths, poopie diapers, soaking wet diapers, baby baths, cat naps, and last but not least bills–Bills, Bills, Bills.
That entrepreneurial flame that had sparked inside of me not even two years earlier, flickered in and out as I tried to balance my family and my desire to be a successful writer. Then, in a moment of slight insanity, I decided to launch a new online business despite the chaos that was my life.
Failure to Launch…Failure to Stay Afloat
Let me start by saying that I have to give myself an A for effort and a pat on the back for having the balls to attempt a brand new business in the midst of caring for two infants.
But on the flip side, what the hell was I thinking? Who would have thought that balancing two newborn babies with a newborn business idea would be as physically and financially draining as it had turned out to be? Definitely not this go-getter, push-it-to-the-limit mommy. NO WAY, JOSE.
You see, I was superwoman, wasn't I? I could do anything and everything I put my mind to, right?
Supposedly, I could have it all–marriage, motherhood, a thriving business, sleep, etc.
I later learned there is a name for this complex; It's called CRAZY.
The truth is, I simply was not prepared for the long-haul with my business, and I most definitely underestimated how completely exhausting motherhood would be.
In the end, my business model was not sustainable, and my online business failed. My hopes of being a work-at-home mom, running my own business, and building independent wealth and security for my family seemed like a distant and unattainable business model.
Here's The Thing About Failure
Failure has a very funny effect on some people. Sometimes it completely shuts us down. We feel exhausted and defeated by it. But in truth, failure is just a stepping stone to success.
Sometimes we have to fail and fail again and fail better before we really know what the hell it is we are doing, where we are going, and who we are meant to be.
As a mother, as a wife, and definitely as an entrepreneur, I am learning the art of failing better over time. Don’t get me wrong…I’m not a glutton for punishment or anything like that, but I’ve grown wise enough to realize that there are lessons to be learned in my failures.
A Summary of My Failed Business Ideas
My first online business (a local health and wellness website) slowly fizzled after a couple of months. This failure taught me the importance of marketing and having a plan for sustainability. I also realized that I didn't want my business revenue to be simply ad-based (local companies paid for me to promote them on my local blog).
After this initial business, there were several entrepreneurial business opportunities that I started. Here are a few:
Wine Consultant (2012). Hosting wine parties and selling wine and accessories. While I found it quite fun to host wine parties, in the end, I found it hard to sell people expensive bottles of wine with high shipping rates when I was, in fact, more of a “$20 bottle of wine or less” type of gal.
Lesson Learned: I need to believe in my product.
Healthy Coffee Consultant (2012). Selling organic specialty coffee and growing a team of consultants. This was fun until I had a repeated allergic reaction to the coffee.
Lesson Learned: It's kind of hard to sell something you are allergic to lol.
Freelance Editing and Writing (2013). I probably can't even count these two things because I actually never launched it to the world. I built a website for an editing business and then a website for what would have been a health and wellness freelance writing business, but it never went any further than that–I lost interest.
Lesson Learned: Just because you have experience on a topic, doesn't mean you should start a business around it. For me, it has to be something I'm passionate about.
Positive Thinking Blog (2014). I'm super big on the power of a positive mindset. However, when I launched my positive thinking blog initially I was still working a day job and trying to balance motherhood…unsuccessfully. I decided to change the blog name and add a business aspect to it.
Lesson Learned: I love helping to spread positivity in this world. It's a passion and a talent that I have.
Life and Biz Blog (2014). I merged my love for positive thinking with my love for helping people develop their business ideas. For a while, this was great! But soon, I began to miss my love for writing and publishing books. So, I decided to launch another blog and run it simultaneously with my life and biz blog.
Lesson Learned: I can't run two businesses at one time as a mompreneur. Two businesses would require a partner or a least a steady virtual assistant for any chance of success.
Self-Publishing Blog (2015). This was actually one of my more successful websites, however, the focus just on book publishing wasn't enough to keep my attention. I wanted to talk about more.
Lesson Learned: I had to find a common bond between my passions and create a brand that allowed me to discuss various topics without it feeling disjointed for my audience.
Lipstick Consultant (2017). My sister and I got hooked on a line of long-lasting lipstick. Even though I wasn't much of a makeup connoisseur, we decided to combine my love for marketing with her love for makeup and sign-up as a team for a direct sales beauty company. It was fun working together for a few months, but the earnings vs. the time we were putting into the business were simply not worth it.
Lesson Learned: While I do believe that some direct sales opportunities are amazing, I should have realized that me selling lipstick would not have lasted very long because it's not something I'm passionate about. I also learned that a partnership often works much better in theory than in action.
The Rise of Mompreneur Money
What I am doing now as a mompreneur has been years in the making.
I launched TeachandFlourish.co in 2016 (changed business names to Mompreneur Money in 2017) after nervously over-thinking the decision for months.
Yes, I was afraid of starting yet another business that would run into a dead end. But despite these feeling, I knew in my gut that it was a chance I had to take.
I wanted an online business where I could talk blogging, self-publishing, course creation, mindset tips, and more with an audience that “got me” and where I was coming from.
It's taken several failed mompreneur business ideas, pivots, and a great deal of soul-searching to get to this point in my life.
I know with all my heart that success is nothing but failure turned inside out. Equipped with this belief, I have set myself on a trajectory to accomplish the happy life I desire, and to help those inspired souls around me to do the same.
It's been a process to learn how to balance being a mom who is both active and present in my children's lives, and also be true to myself and pursue my creative passions. And some days, well, I still suck at it. But I'm improving daily.
For other aspiring mompreneurs out there, my hope is that you can use my story as motivation. Use this website as a business resource to help you plan out your awesome business and take action.
My mompreneur story is still in the making. There's more to come…maybe more twists and turns…maybe even more failures. But I know how to fail fast now. I know how to pick-up the pieces and create again and again.
What's your story? Have you started several businesses but can't seem to make one stick? I'd love to know where you are in your journey. Leave a comment below or shoot me an email!
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