February 27

Successful Entrepreneurs Fail

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Successful entrepreneurs fail because they are not afraid to fail. Steve Blank, a retired serial entrepreneur and Silicon Valley historian who now teaches entrepreneurship to undergraduate and graduate students at Stanford; UCBerkeley, Columbia University and others says, “You can teach entrepreneurship, but only to the people who desperately want to learn it.” He goes on with, “This is a passion-driven, much like art, and it’s a miserable job a lot of the time…your co-founders quit. You’re out of money. Your best customer just went to your competitor. Your VC screams at you during a board meeting. Why would normal people do this? Why do people paint when they struggle for years to sell their art? It’s the same idea. They’re fueled by the passion”

Successful Entrepreneurs2

Adeo Ressi is one of those successful entrepreneurs-calling himself a serial entrepreneur-and is the mastermind behind the Palo Alto-based Foundation Institute. According to Ressi, you don’t have to be a prodigy to build a booming business; you just have to commit to working your ass off. He says “Some of the best NBA players are not big, tall guys–they are all different shapes and sizes. What they don’t have in term of height they make up for with real passion and conviction. There’s no test to measure that, except the test of hard knocks. When you get punched in the face 10 times and get up and keep going, that’s the ultimate test.” I find many musicians and artists are fueled by their passion. I was just speaking to a group of young artists and I always get the same comment by at least one audience member, “I want to work as a musician full-time.” This is not an easy road and it doesn’t matter if you’re an artist, an athlete, or someone who is selling face cream; you are a small business and successful small businesses and successful entrepreneurs all face failure and obstacles. Yes, you will get punched in the face at least 10 times, whether it means not getting the gig, not getting to play a sport, or not making the sale, but you have to keep going. If one door closes, there’s usually a window open somewhere.  In fact “Compound approaches increase the odds of success; Most people give up and quit too soon.” (from Stuck is Not a Four-Letter Word)

 Entrepreneur Magazine (one of my favorite magazines!) lists six entrepreneur profiles. Which one are you?

  • Hustlers: Exude confidence, enthusiastic, action-oriented and conscientious.
  • Innovators:  adventurous, forward thinking and on the lookout for unconventional business ideas.
  • Machines: get the job done and on time, “quiet, diligent doers” Strong sense of duty
  • Prodigies: Gifted with inherent business sense, run on instinct
  • Strategists: Creative tacticians and never lose their cool. Emotionally stable
  • Visionaries: perceptive to the needs of their demographic, they see the big picture. Highly enthusiastic

Some entrepreneurs fail because they don’t have a clear path to where they’re going. They don’t have clear goals.  “If you have well-defined goals in life, you’ve just spelled hope.” (see Goals in Life) If you are passionate about your goals and your art, by all means, don’t quit. You may need to find a way to still support your passion, but you can do this with a good plan and strategy. What’s the worst thing that can happen? You could fail, but as long as you’re alive and kicking, re-evaluate where you’re at, drop what’s not working, then pick yourself up and keep going. Don’t quit too soon! If you need to re-define your goals, download this goal setting worksheet!

Subscribe to Facebook Musician Page & Monthly Newsletter! ©Deborah Johnson • Twitter: @DJWorksMusicwww.DJWorksMusic.com  Check out FREE Download of 70 page Study Guide: 40 Days to Getting Un-Stuck. “Genius Lessons,” by Jason Ankeny, Entrepreneur (Feb. 2015) p.32-37

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Goal Setting, goal setting worksheet, goals in life, Perseverance, Successful entrepreneurs


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