Your First Business will Probably Fail (And That's A Good Thing)

I say this, and it hurts.  But also realize how freeing it is.

Your first business idea?  Yeah, it probably won't work.

Truthfully, your second or third may not be "it" either.  This is entirely ok. During the first couple years your business plan may go through so many evolutions that you, and everyone around you, start doubting yourself.

"I started a shoe store!"  "Weren't you a health coach?"  

You know you've reached a new level when you've tried so many things that even your mom starts to lose faith in you.

You sometimes wonder if you're destined to be a wantrepreneur instead of an entrepreneur.

 

Courage. You're almost there.

Keep trying, keep testing, keep doing. The only way you'll find what's right is through action, not theory.  Action brings clarity.

If it doesn't feel right, try something else.  Don't stay the course for the benefit of others. 

So they can't summarize what you do in a nice tidy box with a bow on top?  Oh well. Sure, it's easy for your family to say, "Sarah's an accountant" or "Dan's a landscaper" because they understand it. Their friends understand it. They feel good when they tell people about what you do because it's self-explanatory.

But maybe you aren't so easily explained. This is extraordinary. Embrace the multi-passionate, curious being you are.

 

Embrace the mess...

The thing about being outside the box is - well. It's messy. Like a child's toy box where all of the toys are scattered all over the floor.  Mom wants the toys inside the box, but you want them all out so you can easily see and play with them all. 

That's part of the beauty of business - you can play with all your toys. You need to be creative, analytical, empathetic, flexible, brave... and about a million other things.

The trick is to choose which toy you want to play with the most, and who you want to play with.

 

...and explore.

Finding your niche takes time and trial.  Allow yourself this opportunity; you need space to explore. 

The magical trifecta of what you're good at, what you enjoy, and what people need can be elusive. 

The key is to not get hung up on things that don’t work out.  Try, evaluate, adjust course as required. You’ll find a better fit.

It's ok to honor your frustrations. Have I spent a week loafing in bed mourning my decision to suspend my first business?  Yep.

But after that week I was ready to try again. I wrote a long, detailed list of everything I'd learned. That's the beautiful thing - action brings knowledge. I'd never be where I am today without that first flop. Plus, it was cheaper (and infinitely more practical) than a business degree.

 

You also get better at "failing."  

It's like dating. The first broken heart is shocking and it feels like you’ll never recover.  We all do, though. We become more resilient. We have more knowledge about what we want in a partner (and a business).  We recognize that breaking up with someone can be the best thing for us, while still appreciating what you’ve gained from your time together.

You probably didn't marry the first person you dated. Your business is similar - you're in it for a long term relationship. So go ahead, take some business ideas out for a few dates.  Live out the business equivalent of Tinder and “fail fast.”  See if you love it past the honeymoon phase.  Through trial and time, the Cupid of business will reveal your best match.

Katie Momo is the founder of Brilliant Media Marketing where she helps small businesses grow online through social media marketing.  

She's currently pursuing the 100 Brilliant Businesses Project, where she's interviewing 100 small businesses and providing them with actionable marketing tips - for free. Click here to apply and participate in the Project!

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