You ARE going to fail......and that's good

27 replies
Every week we see a slew of posts by people new to the world of IM. These posts are asking for advice, the new members are looking for answers and many of their questions are the same. We do our best to help them out but most of our responses are generic too.

Today I'd like to share a piece of advice which I've learned over my years in this industry. No matter how long you've been in this field, you know how important it is to do your research. We tell newbies to read everything they can, to learn as much as they can before they start. The common notion is that knowledge will help fight failure.

Well, I'm here to say knowledge has no definite relation to your chance at success.

More importantly, failure is inevitable. It WILL happen to you, regardless of your level of knowledge or experience. It doesn't matter how hard you try, the universe doesn't care about how intensely you want to succeed. You ARE, without a doubt, going to fail.

Failure is Fear

The biggest fear most people have, especially in business, is the fear of failure. We put so much time, effort, and money in our businesses that we want to see a return. In some cases, people have put everything they have into it and failure could be rather catastrophic.

In order to fight this, many people spend countless hours and hundreds of dollars learning everything they can. They want to know every last bit of information, every variable or potential outcome. In short, people want to know every step before they even begin.

This leads to the biggest trap in the IM world. You spend so much time learning and researching that you never take action. You rationalize your lack of action by telling yourself that you aren't knowledgeable enough to begin. Eventually you start to believe this mantra. You can't start now, you say, because you don't yet know enough.

Failure is Success

When you do this, you're missing out on the most valuable learning experience you can find. I've personally been quite successful in IM but that didn't happen right away. My history of failure, in fact, dates back long before I ever entered this field.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a comic book artist. I can draw better than 90% of the USA but it still never went anywhere. I tried starting a graphic design business but that eventually failed. I was part of a web design company but that failed as well. I've started websites, designed products, and tried out different IM strategies which all failed.

I've also worked with a lot of entrepreneurs. I've seen countless businesses grow and fall apart. I've seen people invest thousands in developing a product only to have it die in the water. One entrepreneur, who runs a successful coffee brand, went so far as to tell me:

"You can't call yourself an entrepreneur unless you've had three businesses fail already."

The Hidden Commonality

What I've noticed throughout my life is that not only has every entrepreneur I've known failed at one time or another, the successful ones are no longer afraid of failure. We all want to create the next big product, we all want to command a million dollar company but we think that will happen on our first time out.

The only reason truly successful people have managed to create something great is because they stopped being afraid of failure. It is always a concern, of course, but it is not such a strong fear that they never try.

One day I realized why they weren't afraid. I realized this after thinking of all the failures I've experienced in my life. The truth is failure is absolutely the best way to discover what works. There is simply no replacement for what you can learn by failing.

The following are a few steps which will allow you turn your failures into future success:

1. Know when to quit

To get the most out of your failures, you have to know how to do it right. The first step is know when to quit. You need to get out there, pick a strategy and see how far it takes you. Not every effort will fail in the beginning. Some may take a while, they might even be successful for some time, but there may come a point at which you need to let it go.

Don't waste any extra time on a sinking ship. If things are not working, if you've tried your best but still aren't getting anywhere, it's time to give up. The precise point at which you should give up will vary from case to case. The key to knowing when to do it is to be honest with yourself.

2. Analyze what went wrong

Businesses fail for a number of reasons. More often than not, however, there is one main contributing factor. It could be ineffective marketing, a bad product, or a market which is simply not spending any money. You need to look for the root cause, the fundamental flaw in your plan.

Once you've found it, you need to analyze it. It's important to understand why it failed and how that affected the rest of the business. If, for example, you chose a niche which simply doesn't spend money, you'll understand why there wasn't much competition.

3. Factor that into your next plan

I never tell people to only focus on one thing at a time. I will, in fact, go as far as to suggest that you should constantly be coming up with new ideas. Let them flow into your mind, write them down and leave them for later. This is more of a mental exercise than anything else but it also has one major benefit.

As you come up with ideas, you will eventually come up with a few very good ones. If you put your heart into something and it failed, you still have a notebook full of other ideas. Now that you understand why your previous idea never became successful, you can analyze your other ideas with this knowledge in mind.

You'll be able to single out only the best ideas because you now have real world, action based experience in this industry.

4. Try again

This is the most important step. Some of the most successful people in the world failed repeatedly. If they didn't try again, however, they never would have become successful in the end.

You failed. It's not a big deal. If you had quit in time then you didn't waste too much effort or money. You must try again. When you do, you'll be more experienced and more powerful than ever before.

A cycle of success

Failure is just one step in success. Every time you fail, you are getting closer to finding a successful strategy. It really doesn't matter what you do in the world of IM, you will never be successful until you've failed a few times. This can be a frightening concept for some but the only way to fight your fears is to face them.

Once you've tasted failure and found that it's easy to wash out, you won't fear it anymore. As you gain more experience, you'll see that failure is simply a different kind of success. When we try something, we are trying to see if it works or not. If it doesn't work, we still have our answer and are better able to formulate a new theory.

In short, the absolute best advice I can give to anyone, not just newbies, is to get out there and fail, fail, fail. That's how you learn to be successful.
#advice #failand #failure #good #newbie
  • Profile picture of the author pwolly1234
    simply put -

    if you want something enough, you will get it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Shadowflux
      Originally Posted by pwolly1234 View Post

      simply put -

      if you want something enough, you will get it.
      Only if wanting something bad enough means you're willing to do the work required to achieve it.

      I'm a fan of positive thinking. I always try to look on the positive side of things but there's no magic in that. You aren't going to become rich simply because you want it, no matter how badly you may want to be rich. There is always work involved in success. Even winning the lottery requires you to go to the store, buy a ticket, and pick out a few numbers.

      Opportunities may come to you, for whatever reason, but they will always require work. Sometimes an intense desire will motivate people to do whatever it takes to achieve their goal. Sometimes people simply like to sit around and dream.

      Truly successful people have wanted something so much they were willing to do what was required to get it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mack
    Well said.

    When I first started I actually had a fear of success...

    I always thought to myself, "what the hell am I going to do if I can't handle everything?!"

    Though, naturally I failed a bunch of times before I came to that moment in my life lol
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeff Schuman
      Nice post. I like your statement "Failure is just one step in success"....

      Makes me want to go do something wrong after I type this!

      It does take a lot of pressure off of all of us when we look at success that way.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
    Great post Shadowflux. One of my favourite quotations from Thomas J. Watson (Founder, IBM) is:

    Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It's quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn't as all. You can be discouraged by failure, or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember, that is where you will find success.
    More advice here:

    http://www.warriorforum.com/mind-war...s-beliefs.html
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  • Profile picture of the author justhumza
    Very nicely said ShadowFlux, instead of running from failure, it's better to learn to embrace it. You always gain more experience from failure than you think
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  • Profile picture of the author Bhekizwe
    well said indeed.Failure is feedback in the path to success
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  • Profile picture of the author alkinkasap
    there is no doubt that failure is a way to success. well said Shadowflux thank you..
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  • Profile picture of the author malcsimm
    True.

    "The most successful people are those who have failed the most. "

    Those who are afraid to fail achieve less. It's a fact.

    I like to think of the toddler learning to walk. It fails. It fails. It fails again - falling over.

    Do the parents say: "Well, you might as well give up on that one - you're never going to make it?"



    Malc
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    • Profile picture of the author Shadowflux
      Originally Posted by malcsimm View Post

      True.

      "The most successful people are those who have failed the most. "

      Those who are afraid to fail achieve less. It's a fact.

      I like to think of the toddler learning to walk. It fails. It fails. It fails again - falling over.

      Do the parents say: "Well, you might as well give up on that one - you're never going to make it?"



      Malc
      I think you've hit on another problem we face in modern society. We are under a lot of stress. There is a lot of pressure put on us to achieve as much as possible in the shortest period of time. This is especially true for an entrepreneur.

      Most people in your life will not understand business. They don't realize how hard it is, how much work is involved, and how it can take a bit of time to get rolling. When you decide to dedicate yourself to IM, or simply being self employed, you're going to be dealing with people telling you to quit.

      I've lost count of how many times friends and family members had given me a "helpful suggestion" to simply give up now and find a job. They don't care if I would be miserable in that job, or if I would possibly make less than I do working for myself. They just want me to give in to their way of thinking.

      Society is often like a crab trap. Sometimes a crab will be able to climb out of the trap but the other crabs will pull him back down. When you achieve success, especially when you achieve that success by going out on your own, you're challenging people's preconceived notions of the world. You're making them question their own choices in life.

      You're going to feel a lot of pressure to give up. Friends, family, acquaintances will all make you second guess your own strategies. The most effective tool they have is the fear of failure and it's a powerful weapon.

      You need to learn how to accept failure for what it is and see all of the benefits hidden within it so you can continue to expand your success until you've reached your goals.
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      • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
        Remember to enjoy the process of IM.

        It certainly requires work, however it doesn't have to be tedious providing you're enjoying what you're creating for people. My Information Publishing Organization is a labour of love. : )

        Forget competing with society (etc.) and do your own thing.
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      • Profile picture of the author malcsimm
        Originally Posted by Shadowflux View Post

        I think you've hit on another problem we face in modern society. We are under a lot of stress.

        I've lost count of how many times friends and family members had given me a "helpful suggestion" to simply give up now and find a job. They don't care if I would be miserable in that job, or if I would possibly make less than I do working for myself. They just want me to give in to their way of thinking.
        Yes - friends and family can be helpful like that - not!

        The thing to remember - as no doubt you realise - is that some people are just not made to run their own businesses. And these are the people who will advise you to get a job - it's just their own fears speaking up for them.

        But personally I haven't worked for anyone since 1978, and so working to somebody else would be not only weird but also unacceptable!

        Maybe I'm just naturally awkward LOL

        So it's easy to avoid paying attention to those people telling you to get a job - they just don't "get it". Working for yourself is just being in more control of your life. If you don't want that that's fine. But don't stop the rest of us.

        Just get out of the way!

        Malc
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  • Profile picture of the author Joe Benjamin
    A master ghostwriter you say?

    Try "Master Motivator".

    Personally...

    ...I've learned to embrace this
    idea you call 'failure'.

    I call it an 'idea' because when
    I am out there in the trenches,
    I'm the one who has the balls
    to go out there and face what's
    coming my way.

    Bullets...

    ...shrapnel.

    ...shellings.

    ...and all.

    So what is failure to the man
    who boldly steps forward and
    go after what he wants?

    Is it 'failure' if I'm aggressively
    pursuing my ideas and dreams?

    Or is failure, if I give up before
    I tried?

    Did I fail if that cute girl told
    me she wasn't interested?

    Or did I fail if I never bothered
    to ask?

    The ONLY way I can sleep at
    night is knowing I took a chance
    or risk REGARDLESS of what I
    thought the outcome was going
    to be.

    Almost all of the time I assume
    it's going to be awesome, but I
    am NOT surprised if it doesn't
    work out.

    ...and I don't care.

    Because I enjoy the process as
    much, if not better, than I do the
    end result anyway.

    I LOVE the process...

    ...why anyone would want to do
    away with it in favor of instant
    gratification is beyond me.

    Because it really isn't about the
    money, it's about personal growth, ya?

    The more you GROW as a person,
    the more money you earn.
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  • Profile picture of the author mpollak450
    I used to hear "Fail forward" all the time and couldn't really relate to what it meant until more recently. You have to accept and use to your advantage a failure. Its by failing that we then can discover how to succeed. It's like the first step on the ladder toward your victory. You have to get to a low before you can get to your high, right!
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  • Profile picture of the author Mateenyall
    My biggest life lessons and consequently earning leaps were achieved when failing MISERABLY.

    You just learn so much, sometimes I hope I fail, (obviously I don't aim to fail lol).

    I've tracked my profit/losses every single day since I've started Internet Marketing and put it on my blog in my signature. It's interesting to see that after a week of low to negative ROI, there's always a big streak of green!

    It's the way business works, hence the most successful are the ones that aren't afraid to fail.

    Good post man.

    ~ Mateen
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  • Profile picture of the author Trey Morgan
    After failing plenty of times I realize how beneficial it has been to my self and life improvement. The problem is that failure is always unpleasant and the fear is always there, even though, the fear is not as big the second time around.

    We have to recognize that every time we feel uncomfortable and fearful, that we are actually faced with an opportunity to become smarter, stronger, and better than we were before.

    Sometimes the fear is so strong that it causes us to make excuses and become timid but we have to face our fears. I feel like "facing fears" should be the definition of the word "Entrepreneur".

    Being an entrepreneur is not just about taking financial risks it's about taking action in the face of fear.

    If you're unable to face your fears it is going to be difficult to be a successful entrepreneur.
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    • Profile picture of the author jsla
      I have had some expensive failures. While there is one or two I'd love to take back for the most part they have taught me a lot.
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  • Profile picture of the author 7A
    Good point. Because if you always had success and no drawbacks, how would you be able to measure, and judge success? You would have really no idea or clue.
    Whether seen from a philosophical point, or spiritual one, we need what others perceive as "failure" to make us appreciate anything else.
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  • Profile picture of the author daileywealth
    Great post. I agree you need to learn how to embrace failure. I think once you realize that it is only getting you a step closer to where you want to be, you can move on from that. If you don't fail, how else will you learn?
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  • Profile picture of the author mpollak450
    Thanks Shadowflux! Totally agree! I think we learn more from trying and failing then from simply studying training courses and never trying.
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  • Profile picture of the author talfighel
    Most people think that the people who are very successful in internet marketing have all started this way.

    I know that a lot of marketers who are really successful, have gone through many challenges when they started and have "arrived".

    Many of them, it took them a few years to breakthrough and start earning a really nice income for themselves.

    The best thing you can do is to learn from each lesson and take new actions that may sense to you. There are a lot of things that may not work out for you but if you just keep pushing and persist, you will succeed.
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    • Profile picture of the author Shadowflux
      The point of this whole thread is to emphasize the need to reframe the way you think about failure. I have a perfect example:

      The scientific method is something we learn early on in school. It's the process by which nearly every major scientific breakthrough was achieved. There are a few parts to it but it boils down to three basic steps.

      Develop a theory
      Test that theory
      Analyze the results

      If we develop a theory such as "Maybe solo ads are the best way to sell this product" then we need to test it. We buy some ads, get the information sent out to a good list, and, for the purposes of this post, let's say it goes nowhere. We failed.

      What we learned, however, is that this theory is incorrect. We've also, hopefully, learned why it was incorrect and can apply that information to future efforts. In this case, failure is just a different kind of success. We've tested our theory and found out why it wasn't right. That is still success because you're closer to perfecting your next theory.

      IM, and business in general, is often the same. We need to develop a plan we think might work, test it out, and try to pinpoint what went wrong. Eventually, it becomes like a process of elimination where every subsequent failure brings you closer to success.

      The trick is simply not spending too much time or money testing your theories.
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  • Profile picture of the author tobyjensen
    What concerns me about this title, “You are going to fail . . . and that’s good.” Is the negative presumption that you have to fail before you can succeed. This is simply not true although it seems to be quite accurate. Doesn’t this start things off on the wrong foot for someone? Hey, let’s go take basketball lessons and remember, “You are going to suck for quite some time before people stop laughing at you.”

    Doesn’t seem to be very motivating, does it? If you ask most pro ball players if they started out thinking about how hard the work was, or how long it was going to take, or how bad they were going to suck before they made it big time they would laugh at you. This is not what was going through their heads. You know what was? How awesome they were. That’s it. They stuck with it. That is why they got good. Grit. Perseverance. Determination. Practice. That is what separates the men from the boys.

    Here’s a vid from Ted Talks on it that is interesting. It is only six minutes long.

    I hear things along the lines of, “You need to make more mistakes.” And I just cringe. It is terrible advice and simply does not work. It is too easy to justify your mistakes, excuse failure, and spiral out of control with complete permissiveness of faulty unhealthy behavior.

    Recognizing your own humanity, forgiving yourself, learning from your own mistakes but even better to learn from the mistakes of others by doing what works sooner and faster is what will lead to success. This is a far more healthier approach to take and will produce success faster. Lemons into lemonade is essential but what about lemonade into a lemonade stand?

    Failing is not good. To try to spin it is depressing. Tell the truth – failure is quite common, learning from it stops it from happening again. Stop failing, just get success. Learn from it and you will not have to ever repeat it again. That’s it, you are done. Why don’t we tell the truth? Because the truth is boring and people do not want to hear it. So it doesn’t sell. Now I love the marketing approach of this title.
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    • Profile picture of the author Shadowflux
      Originally Posted by tobyjensen View Post

      Doesn't this start things off on the wrong foot for someone? Hey, let's go take basketball lessons and remember, "You are going to suck for quite some time before people stop laughing at you."
      Let me give you an example: I've never played golf. I've played mini-golf but I haven't so much as gone to a driving range. My friend, however, loves to play golf. We were talking about it and he said this:

      "I'll tell you what, I'd be happy to take you to the golf course. I have extra clubs and a guest pass to the course. I'm going to tell you right now, though, that your first time is going to be awful. You're going to be frustrated, you're going to hate it, it might ruin your day."

      This is the truth. Golf is hard. Most things in life have a learning curve and some are steeper than others. The problem isn't that I'm demotivating people by telling them they'll fail, the problem is that most people are terrified of failure. This is especially true if you quit your job, told everyone you know about your plan, and basically have a lot riding on that success.

      Failure is inevitable, there's no use in being afraid of it. More often than not, it's a great learning experience.

      Originally Posted by tobyjensen View Post

      Stop failing, just get success.
      While I appreciate your optimism, this isn't a very realistic strategy. I would wager that 99% of the world is not great at something the first time they try it. It's virtually impossible to simply never fail. Failure isn't an option, it's an inevitable part of life. Perhaps you've never failed at anything, maybe you've only ever been successful, but that puts you in a very small minority.

      I think it's much more useful for people to learn how failure can be good, to teach them to grow because of it, than to tell them to simply never fail. Telling someone to avoid failure at all costs is a good way to get them to never try something new.

      Anyone who says failure isn't going to happen once in a while has not been in business very long.
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  • Profile picture of the author tobyjensen
    Saying “your first time” is called setting expectations but he also said it with love, support, fun, or some other way to intrigue or keep enticing you or else you wouldn’t have gone. Nobody does anything to intentionally just to cause themselves pain. See the movie “Fight Club” as an example. So much fun to be had there.

    “Golf is hard.” Well said. If only most people learned to enjoy hard work the way we learned to enjoy golf. Yes, we actually learn to enjoy golf because it is hard, involves work, and is complex.

    “Failure is inevitable” Argh, so close you were with this. May I add, “Failure is inevitable until you succeed. Then there is failure no longer. It ceases to exist at the moment of success.”

    “I think it's much more useful for people to learn how failure can be good, to teach them to grow because of it, than to tell them to simply never fail. (agreed, did you miss that in my post?) Telling someone to avoid failure at all costs (never said that) is a good way to get them to never try something new.”

    Anyone who says failure isn't going to happen once in a while has not been in business very long.” (yep, and stay aware of self fulfilling prophecies as well.)
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  • Profile picture of the author coop47
    Well said, and how true. If you have never failed then you have never tried.
    I challenge anyone to refute that tenant.
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  • Profile picture of the author thepapertrailbiz
    Hi I'm new to this. Just wanna introduce myself to this new industry. Great post BTW
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