According to Bloomberg, entrepreneurs who fail find more success the second time around. The research found that the experience entrepreneurs gain from business ventures, even if they result in failure, is invaluable as a stepping stone to future success. That's good news for any entrepreneur whose business crashed and burned.
You can tap into those failures and make your next business even better than before.
Some of the world's most accomplished entrepreneurs failed at least once, if not multiple times, before blazing the trail to success. Learn from their setbacks and use their success stories to fuel your momentum and keep you motivated to push forward.
1. Arianna Huffington
Arianna Huffington wasn't always the darling of the online publishing world. Instead, she was rejected by 36 different book publishers before finally getting her second book accepted for publication. She could have archived her manuscript, moved on, and used her continuous failure as a reason to stop pursuing her goals.
The Huffington Post also wasn't an overnight success when it was founded in 2005. Critics largely panned it for its poor quality and dismissed its potential. By 2011, the Huffington Post received over a billion pageviews a year, and was purchased by AOL for $315 million.
Entrepreneurs and content marketers can emulate Huffington's success by being relentless and not taking "no" for an answer. Sometimes it's just a matter of finding the right platform and marketplace. This tactic worked for me after selling my first digital marketing company, by working 13.3 hours a day, 6 days a week on building companies through growth hacking and content marketing strategies.
2. Warren Buffett
Warren Buffet was famously rejected by Harvard Business School when he was just 19 years old. He could have taken the rejection as a sign that he wasn't cut out for the elite business class, but his father's unconditional belief that he could succeed fueled his desire to keep going. Buffet ended up landing at Columbia, where two investing experts helped shape his founding principles for Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett believes all of his setbacks ended up making his life better and turned obstacles into opportunities.
Berkshire Hathaway itself was also an early failure that later developed into the multi-billion dollar company it is today. Investing is a risky game, and not for the faint of heart. But entrepreneurs can take Buffett's lead and keep pursuing their real estate goals, no matter how unattainable they may seem. For example, aspiring commercial real estate investors can get their feet wet with Realty Mogul by crowdfunding their investments with as little as $1,000.
3. Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs poured his time and money into the poorly-received Apple I computer. Selling only 175 units, he continued with his stubborn pursuit of building and selling personal computers. Jobs eventually got ousted from his own company by John Sculley, the CEO he hired to help revolutionize the company.
Jobs found success by letting his endeavours take unexpected directions. Although he bought Pixar with the intention of developing it into a computer hardware company, it ended up evolving into an award-winning and profitable animation studio. He later sold it to Disney for $7.4 billion. Jobs also failed in areas that he already had achieved success in. For example, his company NeXT computers was a total flop and failed to scratch the surface of Apple's success.
Entrepreneurs can take Jobs' lead by focusing on taking risks and pivoting when things aren't working. For example, someone trying to found their own technology company can start by crowdfunding a gadget idea on Kickstarter to help validate their ideas within the marketplace while raising capital.
4. Sir James Dyson
You may know Sir James Dyson as the straight-talking vacuum cleaner entrepreneur from commercials. Far from an overnight success, Dyson worked on a staggering 5,126 prototypes that all flopped and failed before finding the right one for his Dyson vacuum cleaner. Dyson had to rely on his wife's income to stay afloat after his invention failed to gain traction in the British marketplace.
Dyson eventually took his model to Japan, where it was a hit. Royalties helped fund a research facility and factory in England, and his unique bagless vacuum cleaners eventually gained worldwide success.
Follow in Dyson's footsteps by continuing to test and modify your products and services. Dyson also had a target market problem. While British consumers weren't interested in the vacuums, the Japanese marketplace was. Walk through your intended customer's pain points and buying behavior to help shape and identify where you should be advertising.
5. Christina Wallace
Christina Wallace dealt with epic failure before becoming the founding director of the BridgeUp: STEM program at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The program received a $7.5 million grant from former Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Helen Gurley Brown with a focus on teaching girls and minorities computer science.
Wallace has been vocal about embracing her failure as a more important point in her career than her success. After being a star student in college with little to no experience with failure, she grew the popular Quincy Apparel to revolutionize women's workwear.
The company was a consumer success, but ultimately failed because of an ongoing struggle with production and operational processes that put a strain on its already-thin margins. Wallace told Elle magazine, "It's incredibly powerful and liberating to live through your worst-case scenario." She pushed herself to get back on her feet and landed a role with Startup Institute in New York. She later lead the development of BridgeUp: STEM.
Wallace is an example of how a popular consumer success can still lead to failure without the right operational processes in place. Instead of stopping there, she used the lessons she learned from that failure to help the startup community and guide others to achieve their goals and dreams. Entrepreneurs on a similar path can use their own lessons from failure as a framework for starting their own nonprofit, or consulting other companies to help them grow while avoiding the same mistakes.
What are some of your own failures that ultimately led to success? Let me know by leaving a comment below: