What do John Lee Dumas, Jeff Bullas, Natalie Sisson, Joel Runyon, and Warren & Betsy Talbot have in common?
Not only are they all featured in today’s post (to help me celebrate my one year blog-o-versary, Yeah!) but they’ve all experienced disappointment in business and succeeded despite difficulty.
Being an independent creative isn’t easy.
There are many days of self doubt, uncertainty, occasional instability and more. Frankly, anyone navigating the human condition regardless of their employment status or title has days of doubt, disappointment, and struggle.
Fortunately, these successful pros have shared with us some of their wisdom. If I do say so myself, I find it reassuring and motivating to hear these lessons in their own words.
So, read on, and benefit from their timeless wisdom in response to the following question:
What is a disappointment in business that you’ve learned from? Can you provide a follow up sentence or two that explains how you avoid it now or how people like you might avoid it on their own path?
John Lee Dumas, Podcaster of Entrepreneur On Fire sent this special Mp3 response for our listening pleasure. Its a great message and I strongly encourage you to click the link (to download) and then listen via your media player.
Jeff Bullas, Blogger at JeffBullas.com (which more than 4 million people visit every year) says this,
“One disappointment that I have discovered is that not every customer is a good customer or even one you want or need. You need to be very clear on who your typical customer is and focus on acquiring those customers and firing the customers who don’t fit your appropriate profile.”
Joel Runyon, Extreme Adventurer and Do-er of all things impossible over at JoelRunyon.com says this,
“One thing I’ve learned in business is that things never go as planned. How do you deal with that? Well, you plan on things not going as planned. Keep an open mind and a flexible attitude towards your goals and keep plodding after it — even when you hit bumps in the road.”
Natalie Sisson, Business blogger over at the Suitcase Entrepreneur – Creating Freedom in Business & Adventure in Life – says this,
“Each time I launch a new product or program – especially when I was starting out, I felt like it was a real failure. On one hand I’d made sales, I had happy participants, and I was delivering on my word. But I’d constantly be comparing myself to people who were years ahead of me in business and in understanding online marketing. I’d look at their 6 and 7 figure launches and go “Ha my little launch sucked.”
What did I learn from this? Never compare yourself to anyone else and don’t try to be anyone else either. Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” When I started focusing on my unique talents and what I could offer, and charting my own journey and milestones I felt a lot happier and less like I’d failed at all.
So look up to people you admire, emulate and model their success and strategy so you can grow, but don’t compare yourself to them as you truly don’t know their history or what they’ve had to do to get to where they are. And remember to celebrate every single small step and win on your own journey to personal success.”
Gina Hessburg, travel aficionado and Art Producer based in Minneapolis, MN, states,
“People have tried to cut my rate, not pay me what I am worth, or look for freebies because they are a “friend”. I have learned that sometimes it is better to walk away from the project than to negotiate pay. I have always learned to outline expectations and fees before the job starts. With friends, I politely say I can do what they are asking and at a discounted rate and show them specifically what I normally charge in comparison to what they will pay. My number one rule in business and in life; I am the one, and no one else, who states my value.”
Jeanna Gabellini, Master Business Coach at Master Peace Coaching, assists high achieving entrepreneurs and their teams to double (and even triple) their profits by leveraging intention, systems, and fun! She says,
“My biggest disappointment in business was when I did a full blown marketing campaign (hired a marketing coach to help me do it effectively) and not one person said yes. I had been counting on this program to sell out because I was about to have my second son and I needed to leverage my time. This is when I discovered the power of emotional attachment. I felt I NEEDED that program to fill or I’d not be able to increase my income or leverage my time. My marketing was spot on, my state of mind was not. Now whenever I launch a new program I’m thrilled about being of service to anyone who says yes and I’m totally ok if it doesn’t fly off the shelves. And guess what? My sales have been drastically increasing each year since then and I’m having a ton more fun marketing. :)”
Cody Mckibben, Nomadic Entrepreneur and Lifestyle Designer at ThrillingHeroics.com, took time out of his full schedule to say this,
“Ooh, that’s tough addressing a disappointment/challenge in 1 sentence! 🙂 For me – I’ve been stabbed in the back a few times by “partners” in business. You can only learn to avoid this through experience. The path of entrepreneurship is like getting punched in the face a thousand times, but eventually you’ll learn how to take ’em and how to dodge ’em and where they’re coming from. There’s no other way to become a Muhammad Ali, for example! :)”
Corbett Barr, Blogger, Podcaster, and Co-Founder of the online community, Fizzle.co, recommends,
“The biggest disappointment in business is building something that nobody wants. You spend weeks (or months, or years) building something, only to find out that the idea isn’t useful to anybody. This happens all the time, and it’s a shame. The way to avoid this is by getting close to your customers, involving them in the creation of your business idea, and releasing early for feedback.”
Tyler Tervooren, Blogger and Head Riskologist over at Riskology.co says,
“Disappointments? I’ve had many of them! One I’ve experienced a number of times is in the burnout and failure that comes from overextending myself. I have a tendency to say “yes” to too many things all at once, and it ends with me being disappointed with how they all turned out because I was spread too thin. Today I try to be more careful about the projects I take on and make sure I can give them the attention they deserve so I can be proud of them when they’re done. As they say, focus is the key to the world.”
Jason Sugar, Founder and CEO of Breakthrough Adventures (which combines coaching + diving), has this to say,
“I used to confuse “micro-managing” with the idea of “being responsible”. Especially with a business partner. When I learned that it wasn’t very effective to micro-manage someone to whom I’ve given a position of responsibility (which was a good lesson), I also made the mistake of giving away MY responsibility. And when things went sideways I found myself essentially a “victim” of someone else’s error, shortcoming, etc… That was a painful disappointing experience.
What I’ve since learned is that, while micro-managing doesn’t work, I must still be responsible for MY role in being an active and engaged support to my partner (and staff), and for MY role in ultimately ensuring our overall success. Now, HOW to do this isn’t always immediately clear… but I find this distinction to be invaluable. Not only in terms of creating actual success in the business, but (perhaps even more importantly) it takes me out of “victim” mode and puts me back in the driver seat. Which is empowering and feels a whole heck of a lot better.”
Lindsay Laughnan, Coach and Blogger over at Thirtylicious remarks,
“When I first started my business, I was under the false premise that if I build it, people will automatically visit my website. Instead, I learned that it is necessary to take deliberate actions to drive traffic to my website through social media, blogging, and other SEO strategies. I remind myself that success begins with a single action. Each day, I choose to take a step forward.”
Jeremy Motil, Life Coach and Entrepreneur at JeremyMotil.com advises,
“When I first got started, I poured my heart into getting my business off the ground, only to realize that I wasn’t at all happy with what I was creating. So I took a step back to do some intense introspection, and I eventually discovered my authentic purpose in life as a result. Now that I’m treating my business as an organic extension of that purpose, my workdays are far more satisfying and it’s significantly easier to persevere in the face of difficulty.”
Shelley Roberts, CEO/Co-Founder and Coach of Strategy Clicks explains,
“Disappointments are opportunities to reaffirm why we do this work at all!
Early in my career I was starry eyed and hell-bent on causing big change. Transformational change of businesses and organizations into places of trust and respect. Change at it’s deepest and most heart-felt. After all, we spend more time at work than with anyone else in our lives, right!? And it makes sense that people who have an experience of being trusted and respected at work go home different people, right!?
But that size of change doesn’t happen like that. I would find myself disappointed on so many projects when an organization wouldn’t shift- even after what seemed like an eternity of obvious hard work!!! No. That kind of big change happens one day, one conversation, one tiny seed at a time. That kind of changes takes a lot longer than we’d like to admit.
The biggest disappointments provided a window into a learning. They forced me to challenge my belief in my work. What if… no matter how committed I am – and how much passion I bring to my work – the change I want will take longer than the time I have? What if… the seeds I am planting will take time to germinate? What if… I may not actually see the change I am committed to seeing in my lifetime? For the type of change I am committed to, this is entirely possible. We never know when the seeds we plant will germinate. We never know exactly how long it will take for those seeds to create a forest. So, can I handle the heat? Can I stand in the ‘not knowing’? Can I trust that results are brewing, even if I can’t see them? Can I trust myself and the work enough to do it anyway? Those are disappointments and learnings- and a test of my faith- that I am willing and eager to face.”
Warren & Betsy Talbot, authors of Married With Luggage: What We Learned About Marriage by Traveling the World, had this to say,
“Going into business with your lover can be complicated. We had a lot of trouble early on in separating our personal meeds from our business. Our best advice if you decide to work with the person you love is to separate your ego from the business. Learn to give and receive feedback without tying it to your sense of worth or place in the relationship, and don’t try to “read between the lines” in any scenario with your partner. Spell it out, ask follow up questions, and don’t look for drama. It’s an easy trap to fall into, using your business as a metaphor for your relationship. But it’s not and learning to work well together as business partners will do wonders for your personal relationship.”
Lisa Lubin, Freelancer and Blogger over at LLWorldTour suggests,
“After working as a full-time broadcast journalist and TV producer for nearly 15 years, I quit my job and have been freelancing ever since. I don’t have any big “disappointments” per se, but definitely challenges. The biggest for me has become how to stay focused and not get sidetracked. As a freelance writer, photographer, blogger, marketer, speaker, and consultant there are a lot more tasks to keep track of that I didn’t necessarily have before. It’s still a constant challenge but I would say that truly sticking to a small to-do list everyday helps. I used to look at this long list of EVERYTHING each day and that just overwhelmed me. But now I know if I just stick with a few must-do tasks, it seems more manageable. I would also say at some point, it has helped me to finally hire a couple virtual assistants and delegate out some tasks. One other big challenge has been defining myself. Since I wear so many hats now, it’s been a challenge to really define who I am and what I do. That one I’m still working on!”
What is a disappointment in business that YOU’VE learned from? Which “pro” response resonated the most for you?
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