embrace the failure
That's hard to read, isn't it? We usually think of a failure as a bad thing, something to hide and quickly move past. I believe there is good in all the bad, all of the failures, those business ventures that left you in at a loss. I've had them all and I've learned a lot. Often, people will ask how I've gotten where I am today with screen printing and the store. Whenever I respond, I cannot leave out the fact that it has not been easy. Trust me when I say, it would not have been possible if I didn't stumble and fall face first along the way.
When I purchased the screen printing business in June of 2008 I knew NOTHING about screen printing. I received a phone call from a great uncle who was asking me to come look at this "thing" he was selling. Interested, I drove up and saw a pile of dusty metal equipment and a lot of potential. It took me about a year to get my feet under me and my head wrapped around this screen printing thing. With little to no experience, I had to learn how to cure ink, work a dryer, clean screens, price orders, and try really hard not to loose money on a job, even if it didn't quite go according to plan.
Even recently at this stage in our business, I've fallen short. I don't think avoiding failure is possible. But over time, you learn to fail smarter and grow.
I'm guilty of beating myself up really bad when it comes to falling short. I used to overthink it and give in to the self doubt words like "you suck" "give up" "walk away" that were lingering in my thoughts. BUT, I've learned that only impacts me in a very negative way and uses energy I don't have. So before we start this new year, I want to give you a printable that helps you remember how to turn a failure into a positive learning experience. Click below to get your worksheet on how to start each day and each new project with the right attitude, and not fear the possibility of failure.
- Reasonable Expectations. I always try to lessen my expectations now when it comes to sales, shows, and new launches. Don't get me wrong, I do everything I can do make sure the outcome will succeed and thrive. BUT, I am prepared for a smaller outcome. Most of the time, the outcome is amazing and I'm overly excited about the success. However, when it does fall short, I'm ok with it because I am already prepared for it.
- Take notes. Before, during, and after each new product, launch, or show plan to take notes on how it went. What did you do to prepare? What steps could you have put more emphasis on? Did you make time to promote? What felt like a failure and how can you do it differently next time?
- Get feedback. This is a hard one for me. I rarely take time to ask others what they thought. BUT I'm learning this is one of the most important parts of running a business and putting new things out into the world. As creative entrepreneurs, we are so used to being in charge of the tasks that we rarely take a step back and gather another's perspective. I am working towards making it a point to get friends or even strangers feedback when it comes to new shirts, styles, and/or brand redesign. We need to make sure that what we want to portray and what we are actually portraying are inline with each other.
- Take action. I understand it takes time to gather all the data, take notes, and analyze a situation, but we can't learn from it if we don't understand what the problem or failure was to begin with. Be sure to take all the notes and data into account when you are getting ready to launch your next product. Take action on your feedback so you are setting yourself up for success.
Embrace the failures, learn from them, and know that it means you are taking risks.