Next time you earnestly pursue a project, yet still “fail” to get the hoped-for results, remember this: There is no failure, only redirection.
Even the lack of feedback is feedback. You’re getting the instruction from Life to try something else.
You are being redirected to another idea, another method, another experiment.
A higher purpose than “getting results” is your own learning, your inner growth in patience, lightheartedness, and courage.
Someone who “failed” many times was Thomas Edison:
“I speak without exaggeration when I say that I have constructed 3,000 different theories in connection with the electric light, each one of them reasonable and apparently to be true. Yet only in two cases did my experiments prove the truth of my theory.”
While working diligently on a storage battery (which ultimately created more wealth for him than his famous light bulb) his colleague recounted this:
“I learned that Edison had thus made over 9,000 experiments in trying to devise this new type of storage battery, but had not produced a single thing that promised to solve the question. In view of this immense amount of thought and labor, my sympathy got the better of my judgment, and I said: ‘Isn’t it a shame that with the tremendous amount of work you have done you haven’t been able to get any results?’ Edison turned on me like a flash, and with a smile replied: ‘Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results! I know several thousand things that won’t work.’”
May we all emulate that type of curiosity and persistence, in the pursuit of our dreams. Work diligently and see no failure at all… only redirection.
In my teenage years I memorized this quote and it became embedded deeply into my way of being:
“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Let’s apply this to entrepreneurship.
One of the painful aspects of marketing is when you receive absolutely no feedback from your audience. You put something out there and… silence. You don’t receive praise about what went well, nor suggestions about how to improve. (This is why I call it the rare gift of constructive feedback.)
Here’s the truth: Lack of feedback *is* feedback. You are subtly being asked by the market to try something different… to make another experiment.
How many experiments are you willing to make? The more, the better.
The market will certainly respond, when you finally offer something they actually want!
Some marketing factors to experiment with:
I’ve learned again and again that the topic will save the day. If what you’re offering isn’t getting a response, try offering the same format but on a different topic. You don’t have to be a brilliant marketer, writer, or video maker. You don’t have to be extra charismatic. What you need to do is to practice expressing yourself authentically. If you chance upon a topic that people care about, you’ll get their response! Experiment with more topics within your areas of interest.
What format is your offering -- individual coaching, group program, online course, book, etc.? Your audience may be used to buying certain formats. Talk with your fans about what they have recently bought, what they considered buying but didn’t (and why not), and use those insights to modify your offerings.
Try different ways of growing your audience of true fans. Perhaps FB Ads? IG Ads? Youtube Ads? Collaborations? SEO? Over time, grow your ability to do authentic content marketing (being yourself, being relevant, being consistent) and the quality of your audience’s relationship with you will grow. It will become easier to ask them for feedback, and to experiment with different offerings. And when something works, you’ll have more ambassadors who are eager to spread the word!
Commit to a rhythm of experiments for whatever you want to improve in.
For example, in my content creation, I make a post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, which means I get to “experiment” four times a week. I make content about 40 weeks a year, so that’s 160 experiments per year.
Look at your own content creation rhythm and see how many experiments you get to make in a year. The more, the better your learning for what’s going to work.
Every Wednesday, I “experiment” with gently selling something -- usually my online course of the month. Since I launch an online course every month, this means I get 12 launch experiments a year. I try to improve each one just a little bit. 12 experiments also means that if some of those don’t work out, I still have a few successful launches per year.
Again, the more launches you do, the better you’ll get at doing it.
Edison had to try thousands of times to find solutions that really worked — and he has, of course, changed all of our lives.
Look at all of your content, launches, and marketing as little experiments.
Learn a bit from each experiment, to make the next one better... or at least different.
Ultimately what is more important than the “results” in your business is your own learning, experience, and personal growth.
Persist in experimentation -- keep a playful heart :)
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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