It’s time to be totally blunt and honest with you.
I’m usually honest-but not this open. Today, I’m opening up completely to you… to tell you about everything I’m ashamed of, my failures this year, the things I’ve learned, so that hopefully YOU can learn from what I have done wrong. Why is admitting your mistakes a good thing? Umair Haque explains.
How does failure serve you? Read more here.
Would you like to see my failures from each year? I started my business at the end of 2009, and well, it’s hard to keep track of them all, but here are most of them.
NOW 2017! The picture above is a messed up art piece that I threw out. It was unsalvageable.
FAILURES/MISTAKES OF 2017! Oh this year has been terrible. I had so many failures this year. Hard to know where to begin!
FAILURE NUMBER ONE!: ONLINE ADVERTISING.
FACEBOOK GOT SO MUCH OF MY MONEY (CURSING FACEBOOK)
Why? B.J. Mendelson says, “For those of you who have run Facebook ads, you’ll notice that their system punishes you the longer you run an advertising campaign with them. If you run an advertisement that’s successful, pretty soon you’ll notice the ads are less and less effective and you have to pay more money to get better results for the same ad —…
So if you’re constantly forced to change your ad because Facebook wants you to put more money into their slot machine.”
LINKEDIN AND GOOGLE GOT SO MUCH OF MY MONEY TOO. (CURSING LINKEDIN AND GOOGLE)
AND I still didn’t learn, and spent more money on Facebook ads in July, August and September.
I made a little of it back… but not enough to justify it.
Then I was poor. OK. That sucked.
2. RELATED Failure: A consultant who wasn’t serving me.
He went to Thailand and didn’t do his job. I wasn’t paying attention to my ads because I thought he was. Nope. I paid him off and let him go. I learned from this that if people are in another country, don’t expect them to do any work.
3. Failure: The Wild Social Media Business.
I’ve had this business since I lived in Austin, in 2010. I thought that I wanted to teach people how to be successful online. I thought that social media was more benign than it actually is. I thought that social media could help people make more sales. I thought that organic conversations online could create relationships. As the social media space got more mature, I realized that everything I thought was wrong. I now believe that social media is a complete waste of time for most people in business terms. I believe that any content you put on these platforms is simply building up someone else’s business. I believe that social media invades people’s privacy. So I spent a number of years doing the wrong thing. And teaching other people how to do it. UGH. What did I learn? Don’t just be involved in social media because… you are thinking it’s a good thing. Is it REALLY a good thing? Ask yourself, how did you get new donors/customers before? Was it through social media? If so, keep doing it! if not… maybe don’t spend so much time on it?
4. FAILURE: Trying to be TOO helpful, aka over-functioning, as Brene Brown says. I won’t feel, I will do. I don’t need help. I help.
Typical Hero child move. Trying to help people who don’t want to be helped. This was a huge lesson for me. I want to be helpful. But I need to wait for people to ask me to help them.
Giving unasked for help doesn’t help people.
Then they feel weird that you give to them more than they give to you. I had this smug attitude of “I’ll HELP YOU even though you DON’T WANT my help” and it lost me a friendship. WHAT a mistake that was.
If you do too much for them and they become dependent on you, what did you gain by that? You have to ask yourself, what am I trying to prove, by giving TOO MUCH? Am I trying to prove that I have value? Worth? That other people need me but I don’t need them? What a controlling move! Ugh. SO, what am I going to do differently? I’m going to wait for people to ask me to help them. AND conserve my energy.
5. Failure: An old on-again, off-again relationship.
Was it a failure because I stayed in it so long? Or was it a failure that I let it get as bad as it got? Or was it a failure that I didn’t share my wants and needs earlier, and instead simmered in resentment and silence for years? UGH. I failed. Big time on a number of fronts. What I feel bothered me most about this person was that they simply would not follow through. And then they wouldn’t take responsibility for where they were in life, financially. So, I’m glad that is over, so I have a lot more time, energy, and joy for myself and others. I also let go of a bunch of STUFF from this relationship.
RELATED: When I got back on a dating website, 4 people from years ago messaged me, almost immediately, wanting to have a date. And I thought- if we went on one date years ago, and it didn’t work out, WHY would I give you any of my time now? But… I did go on a date with one person from long ago. MISTAKE! Nope. STILL not interested. And I blocked the other ones. Because… I have no time for that!
6. Failure: Doing business with the government.
I did a lot of presentations and workshops and webinars for government over the last 7 years with this business. I presented for the Washington State SBDC, the Oregon SBDC, the National SBA, the IRS, Multnomah County, Metro, the City of Portland and the City of Austin. What I got increasingly, was people asking me to do presentations for free because “exposure!” Don’t make me laugh. People die of exposure. I’m finally ready to shut it down, because it never really made me money, despite the time and effort I poured into it. The government partnerships were so hard to get for so little money that it just was not worth it for me. Someone told me- I can’t believe you held onto this business for so long! Well, it was out of fear, right? Because I was afraid to let go of a way of making money. But when you do that, it’s called STRADDLING and that is BAD. You don’t want to be in too many income streams at once, trying to copy what you’ve seen work for other people. You’ll be bad at all of them. So dialing it back on this income stream was a good thing.
7. FAILURE: Perfectionism around doing 750 words every day.
I did this for one month, so that I could get the 50,000 words NANOWRIMO badge, and then I stopped being so perfectionist about it. I failed to do this consistently. On the other hand I did write 50,000 words in March, and 50,000 words in November, so… I’m pretty proud of that. I wrote more than I thought I could, even if I didn’t write every day! And I got back into poetry in a big way.
8. FAILURE: Trying to get people excited about every new thing that I’m interested in.
I always have these new things- like counterstrain myofascial release, or working with a health coach, or a new way of eating, or a new concept to share. Asking questions is a way better method to do this. I’ve been reading about what the right questions to ask are-and sharing them with others.
9. FAILURE: Giving for years to a person who wasn’t giving back.
There were actually 2 people-a nonprofit consultant and a nonprofit publisher. Who I gave a lot to, whether it was paying them to speak for me, or inviting them to have a platform on my blog in interviews. Who I also gave a lot of ideas to. But who… didn’t want to share some resources with me. Who didn’t get it about racism, feminism, and how to be an ally. I tried to explain it to them but they didn’t get it. So, we had to part ways.
10. FAILURE: DATING! Oops! I went too fast with a person I was dating, trying to please them, because they wanted a serious relationship with me right away- and I thought maybe I could try that… but then we were incompatible. Sigh! It was a bummer to tell them I couldn’t see them anymore. But then I felt light. Like, you don’t have to stay with something that doesn’t fit for years. I learned that this year! A person said to me, simply, dating is like this. Is it like a shirt or pants that fit or don’t fit? If pants don’t fit around the hips, don’t wear those pants! That’s all it has to be. It is so non-dramatic, I really like that analogy. Now I’m enjoying other dates.
11. FAILURE: ASSUMING CRAP ABOUT MY BROTHER THAT WAS WRONG.
Oh man. You ever realize that something you thought for YEARS was wrong? YEAH. I had that just a few days ago. I apologized to my brother. He was confused. I tried to tell him I had judged him harshly for years, and made assumptions about him and had expectations for his life that were stupid and no wonder he treated me roughly! He didn’t get it. I tried to tell him again how I was sorry for judging him and how I had no right to do that. He was still like-what? And I finally said look I just love you, okay? You are perfect as you are, and life is good exactly as it is. He said, ok uh I love you too. And my heart melted and broke into a few large pieces. I even fucked up my apologizing. But he prefers texting to phonecalls because I screwed up so badly. This has been my secret sorrow for so long. But I feel better now, at least. I have no idea if this makes a difference for him but I apologized so at least I feel a little better.
What about you? How have you failed this year?
What did you learn?
If this was depressing, I ALSO have my annual report, so you can see some things that went RIGHT in previous years…