Today we’re having an honest conversation about what it means to be a business owner. As a mom, as a woman, as a human being, there are pre-conceived characteristics we all think a business owner should have. One of them is expert knowledge and success. News flash: Failure Happens. At some point, every expert has failed.
Spoiler: I’ve had some momentous failures
Yep, I am extraordinarily passionate about moms creating health and wealth by taking their professional development and careers out of the job market and going into business. I’m not a business expert. In fact, full disclosure, I’m a bit of a failure.
In 2011, I wasn’t quite 30 and I was single living in Washington, DC. I worked as a contract proposal manager, and my salary had me about $8,000 shy of $100,000/year. I owned a beautiful 5-bedroom home in DC, and I made a significant income renting out rooms in my house. Annually, I easily cleared the 6-figure mark.
That same year, I met a man. Oh, what a man. He was the loving, kind, intelligent, spiritual—I want to get to know him better—kind of man.
Long story short, we got married within a year of meeting each other (crazy, I know). We were both accomplished in our own rights, and we both knew a good thing when we saw it. Plus, his job was moving him to another country in less than a year’s time. So, time was of the essence.
Eleven months after we met, we were married and I was giving my job 30-days’ notice that I would be quitting. I rented out my house, and I moved to the Dominican Republic with my husband, no job, no Spanish language skills, and a dream of starting a location – independent business.
Failure after failure after miserable failure
Failure #1. Coaching Business
I have a coaching certification. I’m a good coach, but I had a horrible time finding clients in a new country with no local network and only basic Spanish language skills. So, I started my first blog. I had no idea what I was doing, and I had no clue what blogging was supposed to do for my business. I just knew I needed more clients to make more money. After spending 2 years struggling to be a location-independent life coach, and not landing more than 3 clients in any given month, I quit and just got a job.
The job paid less than half of what I made when I was gainfully employed, and I felt like a miserable failure.
Failure #2. Writing Business
After the birth of our first little munchkin, I decided I’d try to run a location-independent business again. This time, in Taiwan, I decided I’d use my network to get writing jobs, and I just disregarded the blogging aspect. I had a small little toddler in tow who wanted my undivided attention, no childcare, and no working knowledge of Mandarin Chinese (the local language in Taiwan).
This time I had a few different jobs, and I got my back office set up more efficiently to handle the contracts, invoicing, and payments. My big problem this time was that I didn’t understand how to juggle my mom duties (baby, house, food, shopping, etc..) with my work duties. Then, I got pregnant and started spending every waking moment bent over with morning (all day) sickness. So, I stopped working again. That was miserable failure #2.
Failure #3. Writing Business (Again)
After the birth of our second little munchkin, I decided to try the writing business again. So, I lined up contracts with clients; bought project management software; purchased VPNs; and set up childcare for both kids. I thought I was ready. When we arrived in our current home, I realized I didn’t have the internet setup that I thought I’d have and there was no way to fix it. So, I had to bow out of my contracts, and I moped. This was miserable failure #3.
You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
Every failure teaches a lesson
Failure #1 Lesson: Online Audiences Matter
This failure taught me the value of an online audience. We move around so frequently that there’s no way for me to have clients or an audience in one geographical location. It takes time to cultivate relationships, and I don’t spend enough time in any one place to do that. I can cultivate amazing relationships on line.
I learned that the relationships I build with people through my blog can follow me anywhere and for me (or anyone) to run a business that sells services or a product, it doesn’t matter how good your product or service is if no one knows about it. In fact, it’s a bit of a disservice to people not to share your knowledge because what you know may help someone else reach their potential. You owe it to the world to share your gift.
Failure #2 Lesson: Get Oversupported
This one was rough. The primary lesson here was the significance of support. As a mom in business (or a mompreneur) you need all the extra support you can get. You need to be OVER supported because surprises, emergencies, and chaos will ensue without any warning.
I also learned about the importance of back office support. Having limited time and even fewer funds, I needed to find software services to simplify the logistics, everything from onboarding and new client communication to automating accounts payable and receivable. The automation allowed me to focus on the heart of my business.
Failure #3 Lesson: Preparation ≠ Success
All failures are hard, but this one stung a lot. I thought all of my preparation would make me a success, but that was not to happen. This failure taught me that no matter how much I prepare, it may still not be enough. And that’s ok. Regroup and keep working.
Why MY failures matter to you
I hope my failures help you to see that you can continue to learn from your failures. Just because one, two, three, or more ideas don’t pan out doesn’t mean you should give up.
Some people find the winning combination the first time. Others (like me), take 4 or more attempts until they find their entrepreneur sweet spot.
I’m finally hitting my stride as an entrepreneur. For the first time ever, my subscriber numbers are over 1000 and rising steadily. And I finally feel like I’m helping people.
So if you ever find yourself struggling, embrace the struggle. You’ll learn something and you won’t regret it. I want to know. What’s your biggest business struggle right now? Leave a comment for me below (use a fake name if you must).