And as Daymond John, one of the Sharks from the TV show “Shark Tank” said
“Life is a cruel teacher. She loves to give you the test first and the lesson later.”
The lesson here is to fail forward.
And believe me, I’ve learned plenty of lessons. I want to share some of those lessons with you right now, because I think they’re super valuable… and my hope is that you can learn from my mistakes and get where you want to go much faster.
At the time, I thought my biggest failure was when I had my first handbag company that I built out of my garage and took it to 7 figures… only to watch the whole thing fall apart.
And during the five years that I loved and cherished my handbag company, I had more failures than I can count – failed product lines, failed marketing campaigns, failed sales pitches… the list goes on.
Luckily one day when I was reminiscing about all my failures and what …..one member of my team one upped me and told me how he lost over $35,000 in just under an hour!
I have to admit…….. I lost way more than that over time, but never in one hour! Eek.
But the grand finale was after September 11th, when my investors bailed and I had to fire my entire staff (including my sister, which was totally NOT fun… fortunately, we’re still talking!). And then I had to figure out how to pay back the $100,000 I owed to the bank and vendors.
Talk about failing fast…but I failed forward in the end and started another accessory business taking it to over $500,000 in just 2 years using everything I learned with my “Street MBA” leading me all the way to the bank.
But probably my biggest failure was when I started out online.
So when I first started Entreprenette, I knew how to coach other entrepreneurs (I was really good at that), but I didn’t know how to build my own business online… I didn’t know how to get customers to come to my website, how to convert them and make sales and how to get people to come back for more.
Online business was just totally new to me. Sure I’d sold my products online before, but I never looked at it as a business since I did most of my sales to boutiques.
So I found myself really lost.
So I did what you probably have done too – I took a bunch of (online) courses about online marketing.
Have you done that? Have you taken other courses?
And when I say a bunch, I mean pretty much all of them. I spent over $40,000 on all sorts of online marketing programs, many of them from people you’ve probably heard of. And while I got a lot of good sales secrets and fancy little tricks, none of them really worked for me.
I was still as lost as I was when I started.
And after a while, I finally figured out what it was… I finally figured out why none of that stuff was working for me. And the best way I can explain it is to use an analogy.
We’ve all played with puzzles, right?
Well business can seem like a puzzle sometimes, can’t it? I mean… sometimes it can seem like a puzzle with 10,000 pieces!
Have you ever felt like that?
But it was more than that. The way all these programs were taught, it was worse than trying to put together a puzzle. Because when you get a puzzle, it’s got the picture of what it should look like right on the outside of the box… so that you at least know what it’s supposed to be when you’re done putting it together.
But the way most of these courses are taught, it’s like getting a puzzle box with no picture on the outside. So not only do you have figure out how all the pieces go together… but at the same time, you also have to figure out what it’s even supposed to look like at the end.
And that’s totally what I felt like. I was just spending a ton of time really guessing… trying to fit together different pieces of a puzzle… hoping that if I just put enough of them together, I’d have some idea of what my business was supposed to look like in the end.
And so now I was just completely confused, and chasing every new thing, hoping that would be the magic bullet that would finally show me the whole puzzle… I just wanted to see the box cover!
Have you ever felt like that???
And what I finally realized, was that hardly anyone teaching about online business and online marketing had ever actually run a business before.
I’m not here to cast stones, but I do want to give you the truth… because I’m all about the truth.
And what I found out was that most of the people selling online training programs – not all of them, just most of them – had only ever sold their own programs before. So all they really knew how to do was to teach me how to sell exactly what they were doing and most of them have never sold physical products…ugh.
No wonder they couldn’t show me what this puzzle looked like… they didn’t know themselves!
And so what I did, is I threw out the rule book… I just got away from most of what was being taught online.
And instead, I went back to what I know best – and that’s street-smart business. Remember how I said I took my second accessory business to $500,000 in two years with my “Street Smart MBA” leading me all the way to the bank?
So I took everything I’d learned from years starting, growing and running my own businesses offline and applied it to my business online.
Because there’s this myth that online business is somehow different than offline business. And it’s not. They’re almost identical. The same principles, the same strategies, the same things apply.
You’re doing the same things… it’s just that online you’re doing them a little bit differently.
Basically I took the online methods of attracting customers and getting sales and applied them to everything else I knew about how to run a business in general. And that’s when Entreprenette really took off and changed forever.
We went from really struggling to just make enough money for me to pay my monthly bills, to now… where we not only coach other women how to grow their businesses, but we have numerous training programs teaching women how to grow their product-based companies into the business of their dreams.
And so that’s really what motivated me to grow Entreprenette…
I’ve been on so many business journeys and had so many ups and downs, that I really want to give women like you…. entrepreneurs with a dream and the passion to achieve it… the advice and the tools that I wish I had when I was starting out so that you don’t have to spend all of the time and, frankly, experience all of the anguish that I did.
I wish I’d had someone to help me piece together the puzzle so I didn’t have to figure it all out.
I just find business to be the most fascinating, amazing things in the world.
I really do. I live it, eat, breathe it and sleep it.
And just seeing an idea come to life, to see it actually become a business that’s making money and just working smoothly… it’s really like a piece of art. It truly is a beautiful thing. It’s like a symphony.
So what I’m going to do is help you cut through all the noise and confusion and all the gimmicks and tricks and the 80 million different ideas out there… and show you how we create businesses – in a really simple way.
I’m going to take that puzzle, and show you exactly what it’s supposed to look at the end… so you know exactly where you’re going and what your business should look like so it’s successful the way you want it to be.
So to make that happen, I’ve created a brand new membership area called The VAULT.
And I’m sharing all this with you because it’s the difference between businesses that struggle and businesses that kick butt! And when you do this, not only will your business thrive, but you’ll have time for all the other stuff you want to do in your life.
Believe me, I’m a single mom with twin girls… and work-life balance is really important to me.
So come hang out with me and learn from my mistakes so you can do it right the first time!
Want to express your opinion?
Leave a reply!
I wanted to say thank you again to you for helping me connect with the Notanonymous showroom in NYC.…
With Sarah’s help and guidance I was able to get my product into the hands of 5 hot TV set dressers …
Working with Sarah has been an amazing experience. Her knowledge about everything is mind-blowing a…
I’ve been getting Sarah’s Instantly Famous notes for years. I’ve been listening to her, reading her …
When I first started working with Sarah I had a garage full of my Bathroom Bagonia’s and didn’t know…
“I came to Sarah with just the seed of an idea, a pile of sketches, and a bundle of nerves. I left w…
“In just one hour on the phone, Sarah gave me clarity in my pricing and bottom line… Our new product…
Sarah Shaw is like Google, the entire How To section of Barnes and Nobles, Consumer Report and Yoda …
“With just one little tweak of Sarah’s expertise, I amplified the results of this new launch by 60…
“If you have dreamed of hitting it big, and your product has any kind of ‘it’ factor, as Sarah often…