Every entrepreneur has their own story. Some find success rather quickly and without much effort, while others deal with failure. Then, there are people like Sam Ovens who find success early in life but experience their own fair share of troubles along the way.
Sam Ovens: Millennial Success Story
Meet Same Ovens: smart, personable, and incredibly ambitious. After spending just a few months working in his first full-time position out of college, Sam realized that he didn't want a safe nine-to-five job with a 401(k), good health insurance, and a few annual days of PTO. He strongly felt there was something more out there. So, he quit his job and moved back in with his parents.
But things didn't go exactly as Sam had envisioned when taking that bold plunge into entrepreneurship. He spent nearly a year working on a unique business idea - a reverse job board - that he felt could provide a valuable alternative to the array of options currently on the internet. The only problem was that this first business was a major flop.
And the second. And the third one, too.
While it would have been easy to throw in the towel at this point - after all, he'd just run through his modest life savings and was trying to overcome the stigma of working out of his parents' garage - Sam kept on pushing. To him, this was a small price to pay for escaping the monotony of pecking away at a keyboard in a lifeless cubicle for eight hours a day, five days a week.
So, Sam went back to the drawing board where he spent a lot of time reflecting on his own personal goals, as well as the many mistakes he'd made in the past. He asked questions, read books, and researched different markets. All of his self-reflection ultimately led him to his fourth business idea: a consulting firm.
While it may seem strange for a 20-something-year-old with three failed companies to launch a career in consulting, Sam felt like it was the perfect match. He knew all about failure, had discovered what it took to be successful, and could help clients avoid the former while seizing the latter.
His determination paid off. After just four years of consulting - at the spry age of 26 - Sam had made eight figures in revenue, moved out of his parents' garage, and was finally enjoying the lifestyle he'd always wanted.
Three Lessons Learned
One of the innate skills Sam possesses is the ability to look back on the past and extract valuable lessons from the successes and failures he's been through. Specifically, here are a few of things he's discovered.
The Balance Between Selling and Sharpening
For the first couple years, Sam felt like he was learning a lot, but just couldn't grow his consulting business in terms of revenue and client acquisition. He was confused because he was getting smarter, but not making any progress.
"I read blogs, books, I went to seminars, I did online courses, I just consumed any piece of information I could get my hands on so that I could learn and get an edge," he says. But it wasn't until he read a book by billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban that he came across the idea of balancing selling and sharpening.
See, up until this point, Sam had been sharpening his sword (learning) all day, when he really should have been selling and marketing. According to Cuban, every hour your customers are awake is an hour that you should be selling. Then, when you're customers are asleep, that's when you sharpen your sword.
"This changed everything for me," Sam says.
The Power of Asking
During the course of Sam's three failed businesses, there was something he wasn't doing. He wasn't asking for help, advice, or guidance. Instead, he was sitting back and waiting for something to fall into his lap. Now, looking back, he's pretty confident that the word "ask" is one of the world's most powerful.
In his words, "It is amazing what we can achieve in this world if we just ask for what we want, yet so many people sit in the dark waiting for the world to hand things to them."
Learn to Sell Yourself
Before you can sell products or services to anyone else, you must learn how to sell yourself on that product or service. This is something Sam has learned over the years and is a concept that he stresses to anyone who will listen.
"To sell successfully you need to truly believe in your product or service and know that it delivers insane value," he says. "You can learn every sales trick in the book but nothing will ever mask the fact that you don't believe in your own product or service."
Turn Failure On Its Head
Failure doesn't have to be a death sentence. In the case of entrepreneur Sam Ovens, failure was ultimately the key to his success. When you find yourself down and defeated, remember that there are lessons to be gleaned from even the bleakest of situations.