Failure? What to do when it doesn’t work out

Posted on February 28th, 2017.
Posted in these categories: Business Matters, Getting Results. 2 Comments

Last week I had a huge failure

I’d been working for weeks on using Facebook Ads; I’d grappled with the tech, I’d done my Audience research, I’d written and rewritten and tweaked the Ad copy, I’d set everything up so I could track the effectiveness of each element in a spreadsheet, I’d followed a training course to the letter to set it up to work for me…..

and then it didn’t.

Facebook has very strict rules on the wording and tone that can be used in your adverts, and something I wrote caused the ad to be rejected.

Gah!!

I’d worked SO hard, and done everything ‘right’ and still it didn’t work for me.

Has that ever happened to you?

Maybe you spent a long time learning a new piece of software to make your life easier, or you worked out a detailed plan for doing something and spent weeks implementing it and

… It . Just . Doesn’t . Work .

How do you deal with that failure?

There’ll be times as a solopreneur when you just want to quit – it all feels too much, you want to just give it all up because it’s too hard and complicated, and have an easy predictable life instead.

After working so hard and so long to get something set up, sometimes, through no fault of your own, stuff just doesn’t work out.

How do you salvage something useful out of the ruins?

How do you turn failure around so you can get back on track and begin again? 

Here are my steps for picking up the pieces and starting again (without tearing your hair out or quitting):

Firstly, allow yourself time to grieve,

… to rant and rave about how unfair things are and to get that hurt out of your system.

Yes, you put a lot of time and energy into this…..

Yes, you did everything you knew how to do at the time….

Yes it really SHOULD have worked….damn it!

Maybe there’ll be tears …

Whatever you feel, let it all come out – allow yourself that space to process what you’re actually feeling.

Secondly, take a break … (a proper break). 

Sometimes when you’re feeling deflated and completely down in the dumps, it’s important to take a break, not just an hour – but give yourself a whole day off (or maybe two days off).

It’s no use trying to figure anything out when your brain is reeling from disappointment and also fatigue.

It’s easy to forget in all this intense work you’ve been doing, that you’re actually tired… mentally tired and probably physically tired too.

Allow your body and your mind to switch off and do something light and fun and restful.

(I took my daughter out to the cinema – we saw a musical comedy – and that definitely had me foot tapping in the aisle, and brightened my day!)

You can come back to this with fresh eyes and renewed enthusiasm when you’ve had a decent break.

Thirdly, talk it through with people who’ve successfully done what you want to do

Once your mind and body are refreshed, take ideas and inspiration from others who’ve succeeded in this task.  Figure out what might have gone wrong, and change the things that need to be changed.

Learn from your mistakes, regroup and start again.

Here are a couple of quotes I love on failure:

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”  (Thomas Edison)

“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” (Dale Carnegie)

There’ll be many times in your solopreneur journey that things just don’t work out.

I’ve found it really helps to take a good break, refresh your mind and body and come back to the task with fresh eyes.

Remember you’re doing this work for a good reason, and you can learn from your failure, and make it work eventually!

(Oh and in case you’re wondering, I did finally get my Facebook Ads to work!)

Over to you:

Do you have any tips to share on how you deal with setbacks and failure?

Please share by leaving a comment in the box below. Remember you might just help someone else!

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cc image courtesy of NY (nyphotographic.com)


People are saying...

  1. March 11, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    Some really good advice here Ann. For me I think that taking a break and doing something completely different is a good way to let some of the emotions wash away and allow the things that weren’t obvious at the time to show themselves up.

    1. March 13, 2017 at 11:32 am

      Hi Gill, thanks for stopping by to comment! Yes it’s amazing how new insights will emerge once you’ve taken a break (note to self: that’s yet another good reason to take regular breaks!) 🙂
      Ann Brown recently posted…Time Management: Why ‘NOT doing’ is vital for your mental well being as an introvert in business.My Profile

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