Okay, be honest.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever started a blog that did not pan out.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever pitched a sponsorship to a brand and they said, “Basically…no.”
Raise your hand if you’ve had a brilliant business idea and never followed through with it.
Raise your hand if you said you’d start the diet on Monday, and never did.
Raise your hand if you lost a game or missed the throw.
Raise your hand if you received a poor grade.
If your hand isn’t up by now, I’ll assume that either you didn’t take this literally (totally fine), or that you’re lying (totally not fine).
We’ve all failed. Multiple times. We fail in our relationships, our businesses, our school work. We are just big, giant failures.
And that’s an awesome thing.
Not because I take particular pleasure in our collective misery when things don’t go quite right, but because it makes success that much better when it comes. And I do mean “when.”
For instance, let’s take one of my entrepreneurial failures and examine it, shall we?
A couple of years ago, after I had been successfully running girlgonelondon.com for awhile, I decided it was time for another blog.
There were a few things I wanted to write about (wedding planning, skincare routines) that didn’t fit into my travel niche, and I had heard amazing things about the affiliate money possible with lifestyle blogs.
So in my infinite wisdom, even though basically nothing about me or my interests scream “lifestyle blogger,” I set up girlgonelifestyle.com.
That URL doesn’t link to anything because…spoiler alert, it no longer exists.
I wrote about 5 posts (mainly the topics I had already planned out) and then…nothing. Not only did I really not know what to write about, but I didn’t really care to. Setting up a second blog is a huge effort as it is, so without the passion for the topic to see it through, it flopped miserably.
Or, more accurately, I failed at doing anything useful with it.
This failure taught me two things:
1. Before embarking on a project, you need a plan of where it’s headed after the initial ‘inspiration’ or couple of posts you have already written. You need a longer roadmap for when you get stuck, a vision of where the project is a week from now, a month from now, and a year from now.
Without that, you’ll give up after the initial spark.
2. Projects make money when you’re passionate about them, not when you’re passionate about making money. When I set up the lifestyle blog, I was all about the money that I could potentially earn from it. That was my driving force.
But I knew from the beginning that I wasn’t amazingly interested in the topic, which should have been a clear sign that it wasn’t right.
And in true inspirational story form, something better came of this failure — this blog that you’re reading right now. Instead of trying to force something I wasn’t into, I ran with an idea that I was couldn’t-sleep-excited-about and – guess what – the money has come naturally and I get to spend every time excited to be running two blogs rather than miserable about it.
So, in a word – embrace your failure.
Embrace the times you tried and didn’t quite make it.
Embrace the ideas that never came true.
Embrace the heartache and the struggle and the misguided attempts at what you thought you wanted to do.
And instead of wallowing in your self pity or beating yourself up over it, create something better.
You can always be better. And sometimes having something go wrong is just what you need to show you how.