“No matter what, as long as you continue running your business, problems will always come up – because that’s the game of being an entrepreneur. The moment you recognize this is the moment you start finding peace,” said Vanessa Lau, a multiple seven-figure business owner, who in 2018 decided to leave her job as a marketing manager to start her own brand.
According to her, failure is an inevitable part of every entrepreneur’s journey and shouldn’t discourage us, as only through losses can we scale up our businesses. At the beginning of 2022, Lau experienced one of the most challenging quarters of her career: “It felt like we were running through thick mud. Everything felt hard”. According to her, even though at the time she often felt confused, frustrated, and demoralized, it ended up being an extremely beneficial period. It was in fact thanks to this challenging quarter that Lau understood how to optimize her brand through losses. These are her three main takeaways from this experience.
Experience and wisdom are not built on wins. It’s built on losses
Even though failure is always difficult and painful, it is a fundamental step to growing as an entrepreneur. We would all love to own a business in which everything works perfectly the whole time, but the truth is that this is just a utopia and will never happen in real life.
This is because learning implies failure and vice versa. If you are now experiencing a big loss in your business, remember that this is an inevitable part of the process. At the end of it, you will surely have gathered useful knowledge and will be more experienced. “I learned way more in the last quarter and a half than I ever did during my most successful 7-figure BGA launch back in 2020,” said Lau. Failures give us the opportunity to see what needs to change in our brand and allow us to improve our marketing strategies for the future.
Don’t be impulsive: you don’t need to burn everything down
Our mind often tends to exaggerate our problems, making them appear insurmountable. When we experience huge failures, we often feel the impulse to burn everything down and start all over again, but this is not only unnecessary but also harmful to our business. “I was under the mindset of wanting to redo everything because I couldn’t pinpoint the problem. Have you ever felt that way before? Where do you feel so fed up that you want to rip everything to shreds and start over? Yeah… that’s called self-sabotage,” said Lau.
Instead of following her impulse, Lau decided to take some time to reflect and came to the valuable conclusion that instead of burning everything down, aiming for a small 1% improvement would have been way more productive. By setting this easily achievable goal she managed to reverse her situation, and getting back on track.
Learning how to take time to reflect instead of being impulsive is a fundamental skill every entrepreneur should master. This will help you in all sorts of situations, for instance when receiving criticism from clients or employees.
Trust the process: the value of perspective
You may be going through one of the worst launches of your life and may now believe that your business is bound to fail. As we said earlier, our minds naturally tend to exaggerate problems and trick us to believe that there is no way back. The truth is that this is hardly the case. Having a tough quarter is a normal part of your business journey and doesn’t mean your brand is dead.
Make sure to always maintain perspective and focus on the long term instead. “We have to remember that building a business takes time; and inevitably there will always be hard seasons. However, how you react to those hard seasons ultimately dictates the longevity of your business.” As an entrepreneur, you should learn how to always consider the big picture and never take a short period of time or a single product as representative of your entire business.