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Want to Succeed? Get Used to Failure

Stop thinking so much--you're just procrastinating, says Jessica Herrin, founder of and Stella and Dot.
Stella and Dot CEO Jessica Herrin speaking during her Balance is the New Business general session at the Inc. 500 conference.

You have to fail your way to success. In entrepreneurship, "there is no easy. There is no shortcut. Never," said Jessica Herrin, founder of jewelry company Stella and Dot, speaking at the Women Entrepreneurs Rock the World Conference in New York on Thursday. 

Herrin, who was named female entrepreneur of the year by Savor the Success, the organization responsible for organizing the conference, told the 500 women in attendance that if starting a company was easy, it wouldn't be as fulfilling and anyone could do it. 

"You are not supposed to pursue something that's supposed to fall into place over night. If there weren't hard parts, there would be no value to creating. You have to fail more often if you are going to be successful," said Herrin, adding that entrepreneurs must fail their way to success through effort and passion.  

That means conquering your fears--fears that often manifest in the form of obsessive thinking and planning. In order to really launch a business, entrepreneurs must stop over thinking their ideas and business plans and rather do business, even if it means failing and getting up in the process. 

"It's the doing that makes the business, not the contemplating, the fighting, the thinking, the wondering. Do more. Think less. Not because you don't think, but because the doing really outweighs it," Herrin told the audience.

"You can waste a tremendous amount of time doing things that are superfluous to success. That is not business building, that is procrastination, because you are afraid to go do what really matters. How do you get started? Go sell something. Go market something."

Instead of focusing energy on the obstacles such as raising money and increasing sales, entrepreneurs should focus on how amazing it will be once they scale the obstacles. The key is to avoid becoming jaded, insisted Herrin. 

"I will always make sure that life never makes me too jaded, too tired to try," she said.

Last updated: May 10, 2013


Jana Kasperkevic is a graduate of Baruch College, City University of New York, where she earned a bachelors degree in Journalism and Political Science. She covers start-ups, small businesses, and entrepreneurship for Inc. Her work has appeared in The Village Voice, InvestmentNews, Business Insider, and Houston Chronicle, among others. She lives in Brooklyn.

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