The Ten Most Important Things We’ve Done In Our Business: #5 Take Risks, Experiment and Invest Back In

goldfish jumping out of the water

Taking risks, experimenting with new methods, and investing back in the business could easily be three separate categories.  However, I’ve intentionally made them into one because they all have a related foundation:  fear of failure.

People who are scared of failure don’t like to take risks.

People who are scared of failure don’t like other people to criticize them.

People who are scared of failure don’t like to experiment with new things (because they might fail).

People who are scared of failure hold their money tightly.  Most people who are scared of failure never become entrepreneurs. They work for entrepreneurs.  They are employees for their whole life.   If they invest back in the business and the business fails then they will lose their money.  They don’t like this, so they won’t invest.

You have to get over your fear of failure. It isn’t serving you well.  Who cares if you fail.  Who is going to look down at you?  Who is going to judge you?  Do you really care what they think?

Anyone who looks down at you because you failed is a weak person, and you don’t need their influence in your life.  Anyone who judges you because you had the courage to try, but your venture didn’t turn out as planned is a coward themselves.

Anyone who has ever taken a risk genuinely respects others who take risks to create something great. Anyone who judges you because you tried and failed, has likely never taken a significant risk. Those people shouldn’t be your role models in business.

This quote from Theodore Roosevelt perfect describes what I feel about people who judge those who try but fail:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Odds are, your fear (if you have any fear) of failure is more related to how YOU are going to make YOURSELF feel. You can’t do that to yourself.

YOU have to be YOUR biggest cheerleader, not YOUR biggest critic

A business person has to take reasonable risks.  A business person doesn’t always know the clear path to success (because a clear path doesn’t exist) so they have to experiment from time to time.  Often this experimentation costs money, so a business person has to be willing to invest back into their business from time.

Talk to any successful business person (and I have talked with many in my life) you will ALWAYS see that these three factors were present at times in their business career.  The business person wasn’t hung up on the prospects of failure, in fact they were so compelled by their creative vision that they were willing to fail.

They were willing to fail for as long, and for as many times, as it takes, to get what they want

In our business we’ve never been afraid of failure.  In the beginning hardly anyone believed in our ability to make it big so we had nothing to lose.  So we took risks, we experimented, and we invested back in.

We took risks by investing in fairs, shows and other opportunities, building a strong online presence, spending money on advertising, marketing and promotion, and being willing to travel to seek out opportunities.  We took personal risks by getting outside of our comfort zone, not being concerned with rejection, and “wearing” our business on our sleeves.

Do you know how many people have mocked me because I’m the lawyer who “sells flameless candles, purses and chocolate with my wife”?… LOTS… Do you want to know how much I care?……ZERO

We took risks by daring to belief in ourselves, daring to believe that something unconventional was possible.  Daring to disagree with others who thought that we couldn’t do what we wanted to do.

We have experimented over the years with HUNDREDS of ways (both non-online and on the internet) to market and grow our business. Some methods have worked, lots haven’t worked.  Our success ratio doesn’t matter.  What matters is that we were willing to try. We were willing to fail so that we could figure out what worked.

We have invested tons back into this business (in terms of both time and money) but have received way more than we have put in.  We are NOT employees.  We understand the necessity for investment.  Employees don’t understand this. They equate time with money.  They think “I put in 50 hours, so I should be paid the equivalent of 50 hours through my profit”.  Then, when they look at their returns and see that they are making less, they think that the business doesn’t work, and so they give up and quit.  That is silly.  

A successful business person will be willing to work for free, for a long period of time, if it means that when they get paid the payoff is big, and it comes with  freedom as well (something that you will NEVER get as an employee).

If you want to turn the corner on your business  you will learn to take reasonable risks.  You will not care about failure or what people say.  You will get creative and experiment with a variety of methods.  You will try until you get what you want, and you will be willing to invest back in.  You are not an employee. You are a business owner.

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