What the “f” word taught these 5 entrepreneurs

Here’s a list of my favorite failures – Bill Gates, Walt Disney, Oprah Winfrey!

Who’d a thunk Gates’ did absolutely no market research for his first company Traf O Data, couldn’t come up with a viable business model and ended up with losses netting $3,494. Ouch! After being fired for a job where he was told he wasn’t “creative enough”, Disney started a studio called Laugh-o-gram that went bankrupt. That’s a double whammy! And our queen Oprah once made a big budget film Beloved based on a Pulitzer-winning novel that bombed so hard at the box office, it drove her into a mac-and-cheese eating depression that added 30 pounds to her weight.

But all three used their failures to fuel a fire that led them to become global icons. If you are in the business of making new things, failure is an unavoidable lesson that can help you pivot towards success.

Our entrepreneurs on Lama are no stranger to the “F” word – they’ve fallen, they’ve failed and they’ve effed up. Here’s what they learned from their experiences:

  1. “There is no failure, there is only feedback”

London-based coach, success catalyst, and best-selling author Colin Symington-Bailey says you have to destigmatize the word “failure” for yourself. Successes like Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama and Edison never considered their mistakes as failures. Most would call Edison’s 10,000 tries at building the incandescent lightbulb as 10,000 failures. For Edison, though, each wrong move or mistake was a way to eliminate another possibility and brought him one step closer to his invention. The real failure in Bailey’s perspective is someone who makes a mistake but doesn’t take the time to truly learn from it.

Colin Symington-Bailey - Lama User
Colin Symington-Bailey – Lama User

2. “If you want to avoid failure, do your homework well!”

Ross WehnerFounder and Career Performance Coach at WehnerEd, shares that he made the mistake of trying to sell to customers without fully understanding who the customers really were. When he realized that he wasn’t connecting with his clients, he quickly went back to the drawing board, researched and reworked his back to a clearly defined target audience. This helped him reach and market to the right audience who needed his services. 

Ross Wehner - Lama User
Ross Wehner – Lama User

3.  “Don’t take away someone’s opportunity to fail”

You know those parents who make videos of their kids falling flat on their butts and send it to America’s Funniest Videos? Well, our Lama user and expert programmer Mathias Egekvist suggests the absolute same. Failure provides us with the greatest opportunity to learn and we have to make our own mistakes sometimes to learn from them. Instead, we should provide people with the ability to navigate out of a failure instead of helping them avoid a failure.

Mathias Egekvist - Lama User
Mathias Egekvist – Lama User

4. “Not taking a risk is your biggest failure”

Paul Salvatore, a developer, and an avid Lama user says that when he started learning how to program, he was too afraid to apply for internships. He thought he wasn’t good enough and decided not to pursue them, and ended up missing out on some great job experience. When one steps out of their comfort zone, it can be scary and may lead to failure. But staying in the circle of comfort is a surefire way to fail forever.

Paul Salvatore - Lama User
Paul Salvatore – Lama User

5.  “You fail when you forget to take care of yourself as a person”

Valentina D’avino, Founder at VD Italy, says she got so busy trying to be successful at her business, she eliminated her personal life. With the stress of a big order in Italy, and an inability to ask for help, she found herself completely overworked. She shares that during this period, she lost some key team members. She advises that take the time to search for someone who can help you out temporarily, instead of trying to be a lone warrior or hero.

Valentina D'avino - Lama User
Valentina D’avino – Lama User
Photo by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash

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