It’s often very easy to talk about success but talking about failure can be a lot harder. I recently caught up with an expert in the topic, Dave Nelson. Only a few years ago Dave was broke and in debt, now he is one of the most well-known people in the Australian Network Marketing Industry. So much so, that he has recently released a book called “The New Era of Network Marketing,” which he sees as his biggest personal win. Whilst being in his twenties and driving a Ferrari every day, Dave still remains humble and really wants to share his knowledge.
Whether you believe in Network Marketing or not, it doesn’t really matter, what matters is that it’s an entrepreneurial journey and one of the hardest. When you pick a really hard industry to get into, like network marketing, it’s even easier to fail. There is no money down to join so it becomes “easy in, easy out”. The difference is if you spent $50,000 to get into something then you probably won’t quit as easy.
Dave see’s his biggest failure as having sales in his business go on a downward spiral, even after spending money on marketing and still seeing zero return. He turned this around by doubling his team’s weekly sales in a couple of months, which became the highest point in his business to date. In order to achieve this phenomenal result, Dave’s team believed that “mastery lies in the basics”.
The standards of their basic actions were all over the place initially. It wasn’t about releasing more product lines or a new marketing campaign; it was about raising their standards and doing all the little one percenters.
What is failure?
Failure is quitting. Failure is when something is over, you have quite and you have actually gone under. Perceived failure is where we make the mistake. We often think we are failing when we are not.
Below are Dave’s five ways for your startup to overcome failure.
1. It’s not hard it’s just you thought it was going to be easy
Dave spent about $15,000 starting his own juice delivery business, which failed. He ended up with a large number of empty water bottles sitting at his house as well as all the council permits that never got used. He eventually ran out of money and didn’t have any sales coming in so he closed the business. The big lesson that Dave learnt from this early on was that he hadn’t anticipated how much hard work was actually required. Often this can be the biggest mistake for founders who haven’t done a business before.
No startup has ever had an upward curve every month. There’s failure’s every month in some aspect whether it’s retention, new orders or a marketing campaign that doesn’t work. There are thousands of mini failures; you need to look for the lesson within the failure so you can grow from it. This is what will build a strong platform and strong startup. Grant Cardone says, “it’s not that business is ten times harder than what people think, it’s that entrepreneurs think it’s going to be ten times easier than it really is”.
What is so great about failure is that you get stronger with every failure you go through. When you go to the gym and you try and lift heavy weight you usually fail the first time and it really hurts. When you consistently keep trying to lift the same weight, eventually your body stops hurting and you can start looking to lift heavier again.
“A great idea is not enough; you must dedicate the time and energy to it.”
One of the most frustrating things in business is to have a consistent plateau. To overcome this, you have to try and stay positive and find where the glitch is in your own system is. From here you obviously need to fix it before you can move on from the failure. If you’re an entrepreneur that does a lot of reading (and you should be) then you would have read plenty of stories of entrepreneur’s and even successful millionaires, failing multiple times.
There are so many Virgin marketing campaigns that you’ve never even heard about, but it takes all of that failure to have a few that work. Keeping this in mind is what helps keep you positive. If you’re not consciously aware of this then it’s easy to get down and get stuck in a rut.
2. Pay no attention to the Naysayers
Fear of judgement is one of the great fears of the human existence. All entrepreneurs have been judged by the naysayers and the critics at some point in their journey. Often these people judge you because your success can highlight their failures and so in turn, they want to see you fail. Understand that this is the dark side of humanity and that it’s normal. You can’t be in control of this you just have to be in control of what you do.
Even if you’re onto your third failed startup you should keep going as long as the desire is still there. The average millionaire has gone through eleven different failures, so if you really want it and it’s in your blood, you should go for it! The only real question though is how long do you keep going on the same venture until you move onto the next one? Only you will know when the time is right but don’t quit too early because a lot of entrepreneurs quit just before they are about to hit momentum and then they never get the reward.
Once you’re an entrepreneur there is no going back. For you to go from being an entrepreneur, back to a day job, would be like prison on earth, so keep persisting.
“Sylvester Stallone was an overnight success in 20 years.”
3. Use Personal development, you’re not god
Stories from biographies or leadership experts like Tony Robbins and Robin Sharma help to give you a new perspective. Without self-development, sometimes your perspective is your failure. If you have read the books and you know that everyone has been through it, then now you have a path to follow because someone else has already paved the way. Personal development really helps with your beliefs; putting things in a positive perspective, dealing with problems and helping you manage your emotional state.
You would have to be very godly to make it to the top without a lot of help along the way whether that’s a book, a mentor, seminars, audiobooks or Youtube videos. This is why people are developing so fast these days because we have so much access to these resources. Thanks to platforms like Youtube, you can now watch the most successful people on the planet and the way they use speech and body language. Once you have watched a few videos you can then mirror these traits yourself, for free.
4. Understand the entrepreneurial traits and mindset you need to win
Your character has to be unyielding, you have to be so strong because it’s hard to be confident and push through the mud when things are not going well but this is the true test of your character. Dave also says “back in the 1500’s you had to be physically a warrior to survive but today the battle is all in the mind”.
A good way to describe how you need to be is “compassionately ruthless” and relentless. You still need to care about people, but you have to be so strong because only the mentally tough will survive. Don’t dwell on things and self-condemn, as this will only cause you to be down on yourself.
The ones that think outside the box, question normality, don’t follow the herd and were even a little bit crazy at school often end up becoming excellent entrepreneurs. Usually, the ones that aren’t a bit crazy tend to quit. All of these traits are great, but you still must be hardworking.
If these traits sound like you and you’re not an entrepreneur, maybe its time for a career change?
Everyone’s failed and it’s in everyone’s story. What you will generally find is that the failures will often create the success because the failure creates such a void in their life; so then they have an extra drive to be successful. Sometimes the failure and poverty can actually be your best friend and so many successful people and startups come from this place.
5. Make sure you manage your state and learn to deal with fear
From the start of your journey into the business world, you often come in with no emotional strength but then as you experience the failure you start to build it.
Understand that fear, hesitation and thoughts of quitting are very normal. Your state management as an entrepreneur, which includes your charisma, energy and confidence, is very important to turn on even if you’re failing. If you don’t turn these on then your actions become a reaction of your result. This means every time you have a down in your business your energy is not going to be where it needs to be. Be very aware of your state management and stay positive no matter what.
Our world is based on duality (cause and effect) and if your effect is failure then there is some action occurring in your startup that needs to change. Within every failure, there is a lesson to be had and a chance to see where you can improve in your business.
“The only difference between the winners and the losers is that the winners just keep going even though they have the same fear.”
Dave’s Favourite story of Success
Everyone assumes with Richard Branson that everything he touches turns to gold. A lot of the businesses Virgin has done have failed badly yet most people don’t realise it. If more people knew this then they would survive longer in the business world, not get so down on themselves and try more things. Generally, a lot of us only see people’s successes and this needs to be something that we become more aware of