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It’ll All Be OK In The End: Dealing With Failure As An Entrepreneur

Failure is inevitable.

If you’re starting a business you will fail. Hopefully your whole business won’t fail but I have yet to meet an entrepreneur who hasn’t tried things that didn’t work.

And as the saying goes…

“If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.”

The problem is, failing sucks.

And when everything is resting on your shoulders you feel the weight of it so much more than when you’re employed. There’s usually no one else to blame, and often no one to complain to or cry on the shoulder of.

It was the first big failing in my business that made me realise that some days I miss the camaraderie of workmates and that this journey can sometimes be a lonely one.

So what do you do when you fail? Here are a few words of support for those times when you’ve fallen flat on your face and you need to pick yourself back up and carry on…


Face your failings head on

You have to look at your mistakes and failings in the eye and accept that for whatever reason it just didn’t work.

If you try and avoid thinking about, or doing something about your failure it’ll grow bigger in your mind and could become a bigger problem. The quicker you face it, the quicker you can adapt, make amends or move on.


Assess the damage 

I find that doing a damage limitation assessment is a proactive way of working through the negative feelings of failure. I’ll take a notepad and write down answers to the following questions:

  • What went wrong?
  • Why did it happen?
  • What can I do to resolve this?
  • What can I put in place to avoid this happening again?

You won’t feel like doing this… but push yourself to try because it honestly slays the self-doubt monster faster than anything else I’ve tried.

It will all be OK in the end

My Dad used to say to me:

“It’ll all be OK in the end, and if it’s not OK, it’s not the end.”

And it’s pretty good advice. I can swear to you now, nothing is insurmountable. I have royally f-ed up a couple of times in the last 4 years of business in different ways. Whilst it felt like I’d never get past it, I did, and it got better.

Heck, you might even forget about this in 6 or 12 months time. Or, even better, it could lead to the greatest success story of your business…


You are not a failure

Finally, and I think most importantly, I want you to know that whatever hasn’t worked, YOU are not a failure.

You just did something that didn’t work. It doesn’t make you a bad person/entrepreneur/business owner.

Everyone makes mistakes… including your business-idols. Go on, Google ‘Richard Branson business failures’ and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

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Jen Smith

Jen Smith is a freelance writer and content strategist. Follow her on Twitter @_JenSmith

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