Fear of Failure: Is it Holding You Back?

UPDATE Feb 2013: I wrote this article after I was a guest speaker for Become a Mumpreneur, a training programme which has since closed.

I had a great time being the guest speaker on Become  a Mumpreneur’s Expert Webinar this week. I’m a trainer by profession and after eighteen months of basically being a writer I only need half an excuse to get talking again!

During the webinar Erica Douglas (co-owner of Become a Mumpreneur) and I were talking about getting started in business. I first started out as a freelancer back in 2000, so I’ve had a lot of ups and downs as a self employed person. One of things Erica and I discussed was failure and how it’s really nothing to be ashamed of if you’re in business. In fact it’s pretty much inevitable that you’re going to fail at some stage.

If you’re being held back by the thought of failing, or if you’re trying to come to terms with failure in the past, here are five tips that might just help.

  • Don’t be so British!

The USA has a higher proportion of entrepreneurs than the UK, partly because the American attitude to failure is much more positive there than in the UK.  For us Brits, failing in business  is something to be embarrassed about whereas in the US it isn’t. If you want to be an entrepreneur, it could really pay to lose your stiff upper lip!

  • Failure is an essential part of the learning process

If you’ve watched your children learn to walk, you’ll see them stand up, fall over, then stand up again. Over and over again. Sometimes the only way to learn is to try, get it wrong, then try again until you get it right. We don’t expect babies to get it right first time and we shouldn’t expect ourselves to get it right every time either. The best lessons I’ve ever had in self employment have been as a result of screwing something up!

  • Fail fast,  then move on

Now it makes sense to avoid failure if you can, but when it does happen just accept it and move on. Don’t linger on your failings, learn the lessons that need to be learned and get on with what comes next.

  • You should be failing sometimes

I would even argue that if you never fail, you need to get out of your comfort zone. If you never take a risk you’ll never give yourself the opportunity to try new things, to learn and to develop.

Of course you need to be sensible in the level of risk you accept (don’t risk money unless you can afford to lose it, for example) but a little risk could open up opportunities you simply won’t see otherwise.

  • Each failure brings you closer to your end result

This is Erica’s attitude to failure and it’s just brilliant. Each time something goes wrong it shows you’re one step closer to where you want to be.


Creative Commons License photo credit: Jekkone

How to get more people to like your Facebook page

I’m a member of the British Mummy Bloggers’ Mums in Business forum, and a few weeks ago Jenny of Laughing Lamb Creations how she could promote her online business for free.  I suggested blogging, building a mailing list by giving away a free e-book, getting a Facebook Page, using Twitter and maybe even YouTube.

She said she already had a Facebook page, but how could she get more people the like it? That’s what gave me the idea for this post.

First though I’ll explain what a Facebook page actually is. Facebook profiles are for people – these have things like photos, personal information and friends that are linked to the profile. Facebook pages are for organisations or projects, rather than people. And pages have ‘likers’ rather than friends. If you take a look at Business Plus Baby’s Facebook page, you’ll see the people who like it on the left and a ‘Like’ button at the top that you can click to like the page yourself (you’ll need to have a Facebook profile to do this).

The challenge for Facebook page owners is to get people to click the ‘like’ button. Here are some ways you could do this… Continue reading “How to get more people to like your Facebook page”

Why You Need To Think About Growing NOW…

Every small business owner is short on time, but if you’re a mum running a business part-time, your time is even tighter. If you add up the hours you have to work, then subtract the time you spend on admin and marketing you may be surprised how few you have left. Worse still, if your normal working day is squeezed into evenings and pre-school hours, you don’t have any spare time to do extra work. You’ve got no contingency at all. Having too much work seems like a dream when you’re just starting out, but that day could arrive faster than you think.

If a big order or project landed in your lap tomorrow, would you be able to handle it?

That’s why you need to think about growing your business now.

Here’s what you could do… Continue reading “Why You Need To Think About Growing NOW…”

How To Make More Money From Your Website: Advertising or Sponsorship

This is the third post in my series on making money from your website. The previous ones are  The Easiest Way To Earn Money From Your Blog and How To Make More Money From Your Website: Be an Affiliate

First, do you actually want to advertise on your website?

If you’ve done the hard work to get visitors to your website, do you want to send them somewhere else?

If you have a blog or information-based website and aren’t selling a product of your own, then selling advertising space may be a great idea. If you have your own products (or services) then you might prefer to concentrate on these instead. Continue reading “How To Make More Money From Your Website: Advertising or Sponsorship”

How To Be Successful in Business

I’ve had a few days away from Business Plus Baby and that’s given my brain a little space to wander over the last year. What has worked well? What wasn’t so great? How can I build on the successes in the coming year? What can I learn from the things that weren’t so successful?

One of the questions that often comes up for me is this: what can I learn from people who are already successful in small business?

What separates people whose businesses are growing from those that are struggling? And how can I build those keys to success into my projects?

This is my list of what those successful business owners have…

They have focus

They can focus on what they want to achieve and eliminate most distractions. You won’t find too many successful business people wasting time on Facebook – they’ll be using it just enough to build relationships and no more. Time management is essential, especially in online businesses where the distraction factor is huge.

They work hard

People who have built successful businesses have almost always worked really hard over a period of years. If you look closely at those people who look like they are overnight successes, you’ll see years of preparation. Even if that’s just building a network of contacts or learning the right skills.

They connect with other people

The more I learn about business, the more I see it’s about relationships. You need to connect with other people so you can refer clients to each other, bounce ideas off each other, find business services like web design and accountancy and to work on joint ventures.

They do something different

It’s so tempting to be inspired what others are are doing and follow in their footsteps, but to stand out you have to be different. You don’t have to be totally original, just bring something new to your area, or do something better than everyone else. Successful people have the confidence to stand out from the crowd.

They think big

Once successful business people have got a business that’s working nicely locally, they’ll be planning how to go national. Then global! These days, when I come up with a new plan I always ask myself “Am I thinking big enough?”

Thinking big doesn’t have to mean growing a huge traditional bricks-and-mortar business, it might mean having the courage to approach the national press instead of your local paper. Or having the courage to network with more senior or influential people in your field.

They aren’t afraid to fail

If you’re running a business you’re going to fail at some point. When you’re employed you have an organisation around you to give you direction and cushion you from some of the knocks. When it’s you’re business you’re on your own. The secret isn’t to avoid failure – if you never fail, you’re not trying new things or being different. The secret is to fail fast, get over it quickly and apply what you’ve learnt in your next project.

They have one eye on the money

When starting a new project, always pay attention to how it’s going to make you money. It’s so easy to get carried away with an exciting project where you’ll work with inspiring people. But if you don’t keep one eye on how you’re going to make money from it they you won’t be in business for long. Successful people know that many opportunities will come along, but only a few will be profitable enough to be worth their time.

They are persistent

Most people give up to soon. Sometimes the key to success is to  stick at it longer than everyone else!

Do you have any more for my list? Please leave me a comment and let me know…

Creative Commons License photo credit: egor.gribanov