Business: Overcome Failure (PT 1)
My honest intro
After asking on the Facebook group what people might be interested in, this was one of the topics I wanted to talk about: how to overcome failure, and how did I get to where I am now. It’s something I get asked about a lot by friends, like I have a business degree or I’m qualified to talk about it. I’m not.
My background is being a terrible employee, ruled by bad employers. I’ve lacked severe motivation across my working career but I’ve never expected things for nothing, In that sense, I mean if I cant be arsed to work for it, then it doesn’t bother me that I don’t have it.
I started out my RAF career at about 18/19 years old. I say career because that’s what I intended it to be, I joined hoping for a decent life and a job I enjoyed. That all came crumbling down after about 3 years. I became unmotivated by the job, being surrounded by idiots who got their way because senior management saw it easier to just let it happen. It was a road to no where.
Rough start to business
So most people want to hear that I did a business degree, had a solid business plan and knew what I wanted from life. All wrong.
As a person I am very inconsistent. I took A level business and did 1 lesson and thought it was the most mind numbing topic I’d ever studied. Not that I took many other classes seriously either.
My intro to business was accidental. I didn’t plan it, and it fell at my feet through working at something that I found a passion for because it was for myself. I had just started vaping and the money I was earning was no where near enough to sustain smoking, so quickly I moved onto mixing my own e-liquid to save more money. I was hassled for months to mix it for others and I didn’t see the benefit, I declined several times until one day someone said, the market is huge around here, think what you could do with the extra money. Now people will always say, I didn’t get into this for the money. Myself personally I did, I needed the extra money and I’m not ashamed of that, its a fact of life. Although money isn’t why I stayed, and it’s neither why I will continue.
After this, a company some of you may or may not remember ‘Salterson Alchemy’ was born. A terrible name that was an SEO disaster. No one could find it or spell it, but that didn’t stop us at the time. Me and my friend Chris started that business with the intention to give us a bit of pocket money and in turn, a bit more financial freedom. Spoiler alert: it didn’t work. We ended up working stupid hours, not taking a wage and basically hating each other. It grew from a few buyers at work, to people all over the country. We started out selling mainly in person through Facebook, then made a group then a page, website etc. The TPD hit us and everything slowed down and changed. Liam then bought Chris out and we continued for a little bit until it failed.
Me and Chris remain good friends to this day, sometimes you just have to realise what you are better at. As much as this business was a failure financially, it was the stepping stone to overcome failure which our current businesses are built.
The infamous mech mods
We moved onto making mechanical mech mods (AIV), something that actually never ever made us any money. Me and Liam took £500 out of that company for ourselves which actually paid for our dads 50th birthday meal. So, after over a year of graft: driving up and down the country, hours upon hours of skype calls that we thought were helping the cause, working night shifts so I could contact Chinese factories in their opening hours, we decided to close the company. Another strike in the box and another failed company on our CV.
For clarity, we probably did £80,000 in sales. For those of you outside the business world, you probably think why aren’t they rich then? Break that money down into costs, time and all the other dramas including losing $10,000 to a Chinese seller and there’s a small, unimpressive amount left on the top. (£500 to be precise). The most important thing to overcome failure like this one, are what it taught us, although expensive lessons, we believe the experience is invaluable.
Third party and direct doubt
Throughout your life you will always run into some form of doubt. Whether its self doubt or from someone else, my opinion is if you are doubting yourself, use it wisely, I always doubt myself in terms of ‘Am I doing enough?’ ‘Why aren’t we doing better?’. Those kind of doubts have kept the business moving forward in the right direction so its not always a bad thing. Have a bit of self belief but also don’t stroll through the working day thinking you’re the king of your industry, sales are up and nothing can go wrong. That attitude is pending failure – it’s a long way to fall off that high horse.
I’ve never been polite or false to aggregate sales or opinions of myself, and that has probably slowed down my progress, but its hard to wear a mask all the time. Regular customers will know I swear, I like to have a laugh and can be an abrasively sarcastic tit, but I’ve always been nice to people when showed the same courtesy but its sometimes not enough. This leads me onto the next point of third party doubt.
If you embark down the route of self employment, I will be shocked if you don’t experience it at some point on your journey. For me I’d say this has been one of my biggest driving energies. Either hearing about it or being told you will fail is the icing on the cake to success whether your success will be small scale or large. Expect friends to become jealous, expect people to dislike you because you have done something they maybe wish they had of done, and expect people to doubt your competence, but above all expect people to discredit what you have achieved. On the positive side though, also expect some real solid support from people who want you to do well and never be afraid to support others. Selfishness will be the failure of most people and in my opinion anyone who gets up and has a go at it regardless of the risk or their experience, are the people to watch out for. Just know there are people on your side and others that aren’t. You just have to work out who is who.
Thanks for reading ✌️