In a post called “There’s no ‘undefeated’ in entrepreneurship”, founder of Vaynermedia Gary Vee counts 6 of his recent failures right off the bat:
“In the past year I shut down two divisions at VaynerMedia: VaynerLive (our focus on live events) and VaynerSampling (our product sampling division). I had a social network called Cork’d and a developer/designer community called Forrst. Even after doing a successful 1000 episodes of Wine Library TV, I only did Daily Grape for 84 episodes.”
However, he hasn’t allowed these failures to faze him at all. He states that he is obsessed with failure and loves mistakes. Indeed, the social media guru says that he’s always making mistakes because he can learn from them and that he is never afraid to try new ideas, even if they look like they might fail from the start.
The world’s number 1 peak performance coach who has coached both presidents and celebrities alike. A crazily successful business owner of more than 30 companies. A fulfilling and supportive marriage. Tony Robbins has it all.
But the international speaker (who has also written several bestselling books) has also made his fair share of mistakes.
He married his first wife, Rebecca “Becky” Jenkins, out of a sense of obligation and stayed in the marriage for 14 years. One of his former business partners left him to foot a $150 million bill.
But he hasn’t let any of those mistakes prevent him from moving forward. And now, he is leading an extraordinary life and teaching others how to do the same.
Founder of 3 wildly successful companies, Crazy Eggs, KISSmetrics and Quick Sprout, Hiten Shah is one of the most successful internet business entrepreneurs. However, even he has made bad choices. He shared that he and his co-founder had spent $1,000,000 on a web hosting company that never launched. They were so infatuated with building the perfect web hosting company that they forgot to understand their customers’ point of view.
Now, Hiten says that “We have now learned to spend smart, optimize for learning and focus on customer delight.”
The female American transport entrepreneur who founded GoLoco, Buzzcar and Zipcar, Robin Chase is a woman not to be underestimated. Having previously ranked in Time’s 100 Most Influential People, she is an inspiration for women all over the world.
However, when she first started GoLoco, she admitted to having “built the website first and asked our customers about it later”. This meant having to undo many of her previous assumptions once customers started giving feedback.
The former CEO of MOZ and co-founder of Inbound.org admits that they have repeatedly made the same mistake. They built “big bang” projects that required many months of development time without much visibility into progress.
According to Rand, “It’s sad because it actually worked a number of times, before we fell flat on our faces with a recent project that started in Q4 of 2011, was initially supposed to roll out in July of 2012, and has now been delayed until (fingers crossed) September of 2013. Missing something you budget and plan for by more than a year is really bad news in the startup world.”
What has he learned from that? “Use agile development, have lots of visibility into progress, and keep your team accountable to each other.”
An author, blogger, speaker, and the former chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Michael Hyatt has also made mistakes. His biggest? He allowed growth to exceed his ability to fund his business.
In 1992, he borrowed money to fund his growing company and unfortunately did not understand the difference between rapid growth and healthy growth. Eventually, the growth consumed his capital and the business failed.
Now, he warns others that if they are tempted to seek outside funding, it is a sign of a flawed business model.
The founder of Quibb, a successful network that allows users to share industry news and analysis, said that she had previously spent 6 months building a product she wouldn’t use very often, in a market she wasn’t familiar with, for users she didn’t understand. That’s three big mistakes altogether.
It made it extremely difficult to figure out why things were or weren’t working, and she ended up creating a product that no one wanted.
It is an important lesson to remember: always be an expert in your product. Don’t ever be swayed by trends!