In business, failure is inevitable. Very few businesspeople ever succeed in making it large without first suffering some catastrophic failures. Many extremely successful entrepreneurs have experienced enormous setbacks before ever realizing their aspirations, whether it was by ruining a firm, being dismissed from a job, or even getting arrested.
Therefore, if you ever feel discouraged or intimidated by the idea of failing, just think of these entrepreneurs who failed big before succeeding.
Entrepreneurs who Failed big before Succeeding
1. Evan Williams
Williams developed a podcasting software called Odeo before helping to found Twitter. But the platform failed to catch on, in part because Apple introduced the iTunes store’s podcast section soon after the business was founded. It quickly collapsed after that.
2. Reid Hoffman
Hoffman founded SocialNet, an online dating and social networking site that ultimately failed, before co-founding LinkedIn and making significant investments in household names like PayPal and Airbnb.
3. J. K. Rowling
She continued to write stories on the computer while working for “Amnesty International,” which led to her termination. She ended up being childless, divorced, and jobless. Before she finally struck a contract with Bloomsbury, the publishing house, she sent her Harry Potter manuscript to twelve different publishers and was rejected by each one.
4. Sir James Dyson
Dyson wasn’t always a household name connected to vacuums. In actuality, Sir James Dyson spent all of his savings and 15 years to create a functional bagless prototype. He made 5,126 prototypes, all of which were unsuccessful.
5. Momofuku Ando
Ando had a tiny merchandising company in Japan before ever coming up with the idea for instant noodles, which it took him many trials to create successfully. He did, however, serve two years in prison after being found guilty of tax evasion in 1948. He then lost that business as a result of a domino effect of bankruptcies.
6. Akio Morita
Morita’s products weren’t quite as well-known or well-liked in the early years of Sony as they are now. The first item was actually a rice cooker that caused rice to burn.
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7. Vera Wang
The well-known fashion designer wasn’t always recognized for her pricey bridal gowns. Wang actually used to compete in figure skating. However, she was not selected for the American figure skating squad. After leaving to become a designer, she continued working for Vogue after being passed over for the editor-in-chief role.
8. Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank
Marcus and Blank worked for Handy Dan, a chain of home improvement stores with headquarters in California, before they founded The Home Depot. In 1978, they were both let go for allegedly facilitating the creation of an improperly used fund.
9. Milton Hershey
One of the most recognizable brands in chocolate is Hershey’s. Milton Hershey was terminated from his apprenticeship with a printer prior to starting the business, nevertheless. He subsequently launched three unsuccessful attempts to launch other candy firms before founding the Lancaster Caramel Company and the Hershey Company, which helped popularize his decadent treat.
10. Kathryn Minshew
Minshew lost access to the website and all the savings she had placed into her website, PYP Media, as a result of a disagreement amongst the co-founders. But she and numerous other members of her former team took that failure and converted it into a new endeavor, The Muse.
11. George Steinbrenner
Before taking control of the New York Yankees organization in the early 1960s, George Steinbrenner owned a tiny basketball team named the Cleveland Pipers. However, there is a reason you are unaware of that team. Just a few years after he assumed ownership, Steinbrenner’s management caused the whole Pipers business to go bankrupt.
12. Arianna Huffington
Arianna Huffington had a little more difficulty getting people to read her work prior to starting The Huffington Post. 36 publishers rejected her second novel. (Yes, 36; you read that right.)
13. Jeff Bezos
One of the largest success stories of the internet era is Amazon. However, the CEO of Amazon tried a number of unsuccessful concepts before the business became well-known. One of the most notable was an online auction site that later became the unsuccessful brand zShops. Even yet, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos would adapt the concept to create what would ultimately become the Amazon Marketplace.
14. Henry Blodget
When then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer filed a civil securities fraud complaint against Henry Blodget due to conflicts of interest between research and banking, he was employed on Wall Street. But in the years that followed, he made contributions to a number of important news organizations before founding Business Insider, a reputable brand in the business world.
15. Benny Luo
Although Luo has a number of successful businesses under his belt, such as NextShark and NewMediaRockstars, he also has a number of unsuccessful ones. He experimented with affiliate marketing, network marketing, and even online poker. All of those endeavors, meanwhile, eventually failed. But it’s clear that the experience set him up for success in the future.
16. Lawrence Ellison
Oracle, owned by Ellison, has experienced its share of ups and downs. After dropping out of college and spending eight years working as a programmer, Ellison co-founded the business with his former boss. However, Oracle battled for years before becoming successful. Ellison even had to mortgage his home to get a line of credit at that point to keep the company going.
17. Tim Ferris
Before finding a publisher who really consented to publish his work, the author of “The 4-Hour Workweek” was rejected by roughly 25 different ones. The book went on to become a best-selling one.
18. Peter Thiel
Thiel suffered a significant loss before founding PayPal and funding household names like Facebook. His first hedge fund, Clarium Capital, had its $7 billion in assets decline by 90% due to changes in the stock market, foreign exchange rates, and oil prices. There was yet more victory to come.
19. Christina Wallace
The former Quincy Apparel co-founder is now Startup Institute’s vice president of branding and marketing. Wallace remained in bed following the company’s closure in 2013 for three weeks before being forced to get herself out of bed and back into society.
20. Henry Kaiser
The father of contemporary American shipbuilding is frequently referred to as the creator of Kaiser Shipyards. However, Kaiser’s Liberty ships began adopting welded hulls during World War II, which led to some of the hulls cracking, occasionally totally in two. It was hardly a stellar beginning to a business career.
21. Morten Lund
Lund has made some profitable investments in the past in firms like Skype and eBay. Currently, Lund invests in emerging businesses including pitchXO and CapitalAid Ltd. However, the Danish businessman actually declared bankruptcy in 2009 as a result of some subpar investment choices.
22. Fred Smith
Although FedEx is a successful business strategy now that we all know it, Smith’s college professor didn’t agree. The assignment in which the future venture capitalist pitched the company’s proposal resulted in a bad grade.
23. Walt Disney
Disney’s newspaper editor allegedly sacked him for “not having good ideas or any imagination?” They dismissed him for lacking imagination since the person who gave us one of the most fantastical places on earth (Disney World) evidently didn’t have enough for this particular newspaper. His first animation business failed, and it is well known that Walt was repeatedly turned down for funding for Disney World.
Lessons from Entrepreneurs who Failed before Succeeding
1. Turning Adversity into Growth
The first step is to acknowledge that failures are a necessary component of a growth attitude. A key skill in building long-term resilience for your company is remaining adaptable in the face of constant uncertainty, particularly during COVID-19 and its aftermath. Failure should serve as a turning point to address priorities, create fresh strategies for overcoming challenges, and encourage continual learning.
2. Concentrate on the Trip
Being lean, performing trials, and accepting mistakes are all important aspects of conducting business. Simply put, until you practice something, you won’t get better at it. A failing business venture typically makes people realize that focusing on the methods rather than the destination is the greatest way to live. There will be plenty of opportunity for growth in failure as long as you approach everything with joy.
3. Increase At-Bats
Even if failure is unavoidable, taking advantage of at-bats is a crucial component that is rarely discussed. The top hitters in baseball only get a base hit three to four times out of every ten at-bats. The same is true in business, where one great idea has the potential to make you millions.
4. Identify the Weak Link
Consider your failures. Find the weak spot, fix it, then try again. A never-ending cycle of optimization and fine-tuning is the foundation of business. Failures can help you with optimization.
5. Continue in Humility
The key is modesty. Failure is essential, and iterations are required to perfect it, but what is rarely discussed is the advantage of experiencing personal failure. Some people have distorted ideas about their own worth, skills, or capabilities that don’t necessarily correspond to reality. Failure is useful, unbiased feedback from the market about you as a person. It’s humbling, and those who develop humility ultimately succeed.
In conclusion, only experiments can lead to success. You get better the more times you try and fail. The likelihood of success in the subsequent trial increases as you improve. You must be prepared to fail if you want to succeed.
Failure may be a teaching moment if you know how to handle it. There could be a number of reasons why a business owner fails. The best method to learn from failures is to identify those variables and discover how to prevent them in the future.
There is no surefire way to launch a profitable business. Only when motivation and strategy meet an opportunity can real achievement be achieved. An entrepreneur can build on previous failures throughout the planning stages. Failure is just a bump in the road on the way to success, not the end of the line.
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