06 Jan

5 lessons I have learned from my failed businesses

1.A goal which is not measurable is just a dream!

We are told very often that we shall follow our dreams, which is a wonderful advise to give wings to someone, so they gain the courage try what they are truly passionate about but that can be sometimes too much of encouragement.
Depending on one’s tendency to get motivated there is a great chance of success due to the encouragement of other people or despite other people. Go big or go home is not a good always a good advise, when someone does not know the knots yet.

I always knew I want to have a business of my own, that was created from scratch. I would work tireless to launch it, create the product, the branding and seting everything up. What I didn’t know is how to measure my business development and growth. I  was treating my business ventures like spoiled enabled children, throwing money on them, hoping that in the future it will pay back. There was too much “follow your dreams” than “what’s the bottom line”. Make a vision board (busoness plan) with clear goals and mile stones. Short term and long term vision.

2. One man show sometimes is a very bad show

I am a hands on entrepreneur, I spent months learning how to code to create my own e-commerce website and it was very basic – I was proud with it but it was not up to the market. Only to discover a free platform called prestashop which can be installed in hours, do I regret the time spent – no, as I am difficult to fool around from people trying to charge a fortune for some tasks, but one can allow “doing all by yourself” if it is a hobby or a small scale business, at certain point delegation becomes crucial. Discovering the hot water at such times is costly.
With regards marketing I revamped my strategy, when it is feasible we outsource. We use fiverr for some tasks, and plan to use upwork in the future

3. Not knowing thyself is like being a loose cannon.

I had to answer the question “why I wanted to have my own business so badly?” The answer was “my tendency was to be a rebel”, I would not thrive under someone else’s supervision. I though I want to be my own woman. Which is fantastic and has been the reason for many successful businesses. But being a rebel who wants to do it all is a tall order.

Luckily I got to know my personality. I am an ENFJ with a tendency to get bored of monotone tasks, my strengths  are learning, building teams and communication. I can inspire and motivate others, but my book keeping skills, staying focused and and follow through need a backing up. Preferably from people who enrich the team work with the proper set of qualities. 

My view on business ownership shifted completely, I believe in good partnerships in which partners bring their skill on the table
I highly recommend doing your homework on getting to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses to.

4. Avoiding the rainy days talk early on

Doing business in partnership is a great experience when sharing same values and goals. But then we shall not forget – life happens, difficult times creep in and then if we don’t have our troubleshooting manual prepared, the partnership might fall apart. We make plans for the ideal circumstances, but we should be prepared for the hardships. How we handle financial setbacks, how we handle sickness, how much do we feel reinvesting, are we gonna be conservative. Here is a great ted talk on that topic

5. Following the trend or being to early

Timing is crucial for any business. When I entered in real estate in one of my first business ventures I made the mistake to catch the real estate train but to be in one of the tail carriages. The market was at its peak and it was balloon which burst few months after.

When we launched templeofpleasure.eu our online adults store in the very conservative Catholic country of Malta, that was too much ahead of its time. The market was not ready for such an activity back then. Two years down the road, the first radio talk show “let’s talk about sex” started, and a lot of the stigma started shifting.

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  1. Pingback: Your kids might fill bigger shoes than yours - business school for kids in Malta - From Flaw to Flow

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