Everybody loves to talk about their successes. No one likes to share their failures. But when it comes to learning, screw-ups are often vastly more valuable than inspirational tales. Hearing about others' missteps helps you avoid pitfalls, manage expectations, and plan realistically for what's likely to be a long and bumpy journey.

So where can you find the sort of unvarnished honesty that will teach you the most? People might be shy about sharing their biggest embarrassments face to face, but as a helpful recent post from startup PodReacher points out, they can be more willing to give up the good dirt from behind the podcast microphone.

As founder Jaclyn Schiff notes in the post many entrepreneurial podcasters have bravely opened up about their stumbles and challenges. She's even rounded up specific episodes:

In March entrepreneur Melanie Spring celebrated the anniversary of starting her business by downloading "nine years worth of entrepreneurial experience into a one-hour podcast," including plenty of details on the hardest moments of her journey. "It was NOT easy and I talk really fast - so beware," she warns listeners, but she also promises, "It's real, raw, and as usual, me."

Want a look under the hood of another entrepreneur's financials? Then entrepreneur David Siteman Garland's 2017 year in review is for you. In the episode he breaks down "what worked (yay!), what didn't (BOO), lessons learned and revenue numbers." Schiff calls it "a brutally honest look at his business, including the stuff that didn't work (like an event he called off)."

Earlier this year Brian Clark sold StudioPress, his WordPress theme company, to WPEngine. This episode offers a behind-the-scenes peak at the realities of what is often a dream outcome for entrepreneurs. It wasn't all sunshine and roses. "He offers lessons from the experience, including details what almost killed the deal," says Schiff.

What does it feel like to give up a safe, lucrative career to go it alone as an entrepreneur? This episode of Tim Ferriss' podcast gives an up-close-and-personal answer full of gritty details and real emotion. In it he interviews Brandon Stanton, the former-bond-trader-turned-photographer behind wildly successful blog Humans of New York.

Schiff's final choice provides a realistic look at navigating the ups and downs of the tricky relationship between co-founders. In the inaugural episode of Wandering Aimfully, husband and wife team Jason and Caroline Zook "don't shy away from messy topics or disagreements they've had to navigate," promises Schiff.

Check out Schiff's post for several more suggestions.

Published on: Dec 6, 2018