In this episode, Colleen Kochannek and I had an amazing conversation about empowering ways to learn how to embrace failure and use it as a tool instead of a barrier to your success…
“Think about marketing like math. You just need to take the emotion out of it, and collect the data”
00:02:24 All learning comes from failure
00:04:22 A big transition
00:08:18 Jumping in and gathering data
00:11:40 Keep pushing forward
00:13:17 The iceberg illusion
00:14:37 The true measure of success
Read The Full Episode:
Welcome to another instalment of the Digital Breakthrough Podcast, Fail Forward to Success series.
This series is all about changing our relationship to failures. Failure can be a really hard word for many people to face, but I think the worst thing we can do is not talk about it. I named the series Fail Forward because that’s actually what failures help you do. They help you move forward and create opportunities to learn. I like to say we don’t Fail, we have a Fun Attempt In Learning!
I am so excited to share with you this next conversation. I spoke with this guest about empowering ways to learn how to embrace failure and use it as a tool instead of a barrier to your success.
Colleen Kochannek is an inspiring woman, who started her first online business after getting laid off from nearly a three decade long corporate career when she was almost 50. She is the founder of Scrappy Frontier, where she helps women from the typewriter generation become successful laptop entrepreneurs. She is on a mission, my friends, to help other women change their lives through starting their own business. And let me tell you, I am inspired.
Colleen and I shared our love for failures, and throughout this conversation, agreed that there is so much more we can learn from failure than we can from success. So, let’s dig a little deeper, and really understand how our failures are actually a tool to help us find more success in business.
5 Reasons to Fail Faster
1. You will Discover Your Weak Spots
Colleen reflects that the one vital part of her first online business that was not developed was her understanding of how to actually make money. She created an online magazine for her little town in Florida, and figured she would sell ad revenue, but realized soon that in order to achieve a sustainable amount of revenue, it would take a lot more labor and time than she was prepared for.
She ran with her idea and focused on creating a pretty website and the “fun” parts, while completely forgetting about the actual business side of her business. This lesson is an important pillar in her current business, Scrappy Frontier. Because of her initial shortsightedness, she is now able to help other women set themselves up for success, remember to do their due diligence when creating their business, and establish an idea of how they will best monetize their expertise.
“If you are passionate about your business but put off launching because you’re scared you will have zero sales”
2. You will Create Targeted Massaging
There is a moment when Colleen is working with her clients where they ask her, “What if I fail?” Her response is, “You probably will.”
If you are passionate about your business but put off launching because you’re scared you will have zero sales, or fail in every way imaginable, you are actually hurting yourself more than putting yourself out there. Colleen works with people who are experts in their field, trying to break into the online world.
The most important thing that they need to do is put themselves out there in any way, so they can learn what works and what doesn’t. It might be scary at first, but it is the only way to learn that plans A and B don’t work, so when you try C and D, and find out C is the one you had success with, then you can put all your effort into developing plan C.
The only way to really fine tune your marketing is to be present online and talk to potential clients.
Sometimes you might find that the people you thought were your ideal customers are lightyears away from the clients you actually resonated with. But, the only way to find out any of that information is to just get online, and embrace that fast, immediate failure.
“The only way to really fine tune your marketing is to be present online and talk to potential clients”
3. You have Very Little to Lose
When you are trying to break into the online space, it is important to realize the extreme, beneficial differences in starting a business online versus in the physical world.
Colleen spoke about how liberating failure can be in an online space. In a brick and mortar, physical business, you put a lot of money upfront before you even open the doors. In the online space, failure is not nearly as terminal. You can launch at any point, and it is actually more beneficial for your long term growth if you do it sooner, rather than later.
4. You will Learn to Keep Going, No Matter What
If you are truly passionate about your business, one of the biggest lessons you learn in the beginning is how to keep pushing forward even when all you hear is crickets. It can be so tempting to quit after a couple attempts, and just say that you’re not good enough to succeed.
But what we often forget is all the work everyone had to put in to get to the point they’re at, and not one of us is any different. The work you have to put in to reach a place where you feel successful is hard. A lot of times it doesn’t feel fun. But like Colleen mentioned, 99% of success is from when you just keep going. The measure of success is how long you can stick with something until you start getting that engagement.
And the more you put yourself out there to potentially fail, the more you will learn to just keep going, trying, and learning from all of your past attempts.
“The measure of success is how long you can stick with something”
5. You will Destroy the Illusion of Perfection
I love to say that perfection is an illusion, and Colleen spoke to how much trying to achieve perfection can actually hold you back. When thinking about the benefit of getting out there in any way at the beginning of your business, it is important to throw away that idea of getting things just right.
Because you are teaching yourself to keep evolving and learning from your past efforts, there is no reason to get frozen by this idea of putting something out there that feels “perfect.” Instead, teach yourself that good is good enough. “Good” gets your product or your voice out there, so people can start learning who you are. “Good” gets you to start learning about how you want to shape your business because you are getting real time feedback.
Think about marketing like math. You just need to take the emotion out of it, and collect the data. The more data you get to study by putting yourself and your business out there will help you better calculate for your success. And then you will never want to be perfect again, because really, what can we learn from perfect?
Thank you, Colleen!
I learned so much talking with Colleen about everything she has been able to learn from her failures. I especially love how much she embraces the idea that failure is necessary for success. Without it, we would never have a chance to learn what we need to work on, how to dial in our messaging, how dedicated we really are, or how we don’t really need perfection after all!
I hope you keep putting yourself out there and failing as much as you can. Like I love to say, when we FAIL, it’s actually just a Fun Attempt In Learning. Is there a lesson you learned from a recent failure? Do you struggle with a fear of failure? Let me know in the comments, and let’s start getting rid of that fear, and embracing the failure today!