My 3 Biggest Business Failures!
Over the years of entrepreneurship, I’ve had some massive failures. And today I’m going to be talking about my three biggest failures, what they were, what I learned from them, and how you can avoid these failures. When you’re getting started with entrepreneurship, building your own businesses, and getting started from scratch. The other day, I was playing basketball, and I had this moment of Self Realization. So over the years, from a very young age, I started playing competitive basketball. Every day, I was practicing for hours, whether it was in the gym, or in my backyard, I was practicing my shots. And just the other day, I realized that I’ve been playing basketball for almost 20 years now, more or less competitively. And over that time span, I’ve probably taken millions and millions of shots. And of those millions of shots, I’ve had a lot of misses and a lot of corrections. And that got me thinking there are a lot of parallels between sports and businesses. So imagine you’re building a business, you have your first failure, and you just give up, that’s almost the equivalent of going to shoot basketball hoops, and giving up after just a few shots. So I do think there are a lot of parallels.
And that’s why I want to talk to you about how you can look at your failures and internalize them as learning experiences and ways to correct them and how you can improve upon your form, and essentially get in more repetitions to build a successful online business. Now, let’s go ahead and dig into my three biggest business failures. What were the businesses I actually was running, and I’ll go ahead and share everything from the domain, that type of business, what actually was the failure point? And essentially what I learned from these business failures, so let’s go ahead and dig in right now. So one of my first businesses and my foray into online businesses was a travel website called swig meets world.com, it’s still around, you can still check out some of my blog posts. But essentially, this was created because a lot of people started reaching out to me on Facebook. And they were asking me, What should I do when I go to Prague? What should I do when I go to Italy, I was sending these huge replies of text messages back to these people. And eventually, I started getting asked for the same destinations. So instead of just sending the same messages, I decided to write a more extensive blog post that has photos, links, pictures, and all these other better ways to review a city and to give advice to people visiting those cities. So essentially, I started creating this travel blog and writing blog posts for this. So then, whenever somebody asked me what to do in Prague, I had a really nicely formatted blog post to send them exactly what to do when they go and visit the best restaurants where to go out everything in between. So there are a lot of different ways to define failures. And for example, with an online business, a lot of these businesses were just breaking even where essentially, they created about as much profit as I was investing in the business.
For the travel blog, it was only $50 a month in expenses. And I was making a little bit more than that. But I would say it wasn’t a home run success, where it was making three $4,000 a month in profit. So that’s kind of the baseline for what I consider a failure. And the great thing about sweetmeats world.com Was it kind of was that building block that opened a lot of doors for me, it got me started in how to build websites, how to actually monetize, and how to make money. So let’s go ahead and see like, what were the actual failing points. And I would say the biggest failure point was, there wasn’t a clear niche, it was too broad. I was talking about all different types of travel, luxury travel, discount travel, and everything in between. And it was all around the world. So if I had to go back again, I would pick one specific city or country, let’s say it’s Korea, food travel, something very specific. Or maybe it’s the top of luxury resorts in Seoul or in Seoul, Korea, or something a little bit more specific, instead of just general travel, because it’s very competitive. Because it’s so competitive, you really need to find some sort of niche that a lot of people are going to be reading about. And then also thinking about how can I actually monetize this. Most travel blogs are monetized through advertisements and affiliate networks or even by creating their own products. So I think almost reverse engineering, seeing what some of the highest-paid affiliate networks are out there, which other websites are doing really well in the travel space, and then trying to replicate that with your own sort of niche. So kind of reverse engineering, those websites that are already successful, would have been a lot better. And I go back and I was like, I just wanted to create my own thing. And then I decided to try to monetize later, which I think isn’t normally the best approach. It can work. But a lot of times you’re gonna have more success if you focus on the way to monetize it first. And then you create content and a strategy to build up traffic to build up an audience and then start monetizing it in a more clearly defined manner.
So that was the number one biggest failure for me was I didn’t have the monetization clear to find, and I didn’t have the right niches to pick out, it was too broad instead of very specific. So I internalized every failure as a learning experience. And I think that’s something that’s very important to be a successful long-term entrepreneur, you need to look at your failures, and you need to learn from them. And they’re really only failures if you actually don’t learn from them. So what I learned from suitemates world.com, and some of the wins that came out of it is it helped to open a lot of doors for me, I got some free stays at hotels and resorts, it helped me learn how to build websites, which helped me get a job at a tech company making a lot more money. And essentially, it opened a lot of other doors. And it kind of got me to that next step of building online businesses, because I was very familiar with building websites how hosting works with how to buy domains. And then just learning about how to make money online. All of these were kind of essential steps that led to the next door opening.
So I consider this an essential stepping stone. If you’re listening to this, now you gotta get started, because you’re going to need some of these stepping stones. And if you’re going to follow this advice, you’ll most likely need fewer stepping stones than me because I didn’t really have anybody helping me out in a clearly structured path. So my second biggest business failure was with dropshipping and E-commerce combined. And looking back, I did so many things wrong, but it was a fun learning experience. And again, I had a business partner for this project, which can also be a very interesting learning process, I suggest if you’re just starting off, try to do the business on your own unless there’s a very clear sort of differential between you and your business partner where you can create a lot of synergy in different areas or directions of your business. So anyways, this business was called endangered apparel. And essentially, we’re creating unique sorts of polos with endangered animals on them. And the concept for this business was for each piece of apparel that we sold, we would donate a percentage of the profit to these endangered animal sanctuaries. So if you bought a shirt for a koala donation would directly go to a Koala Sanctuary and so forth. So it was a pretty cool concept. But we really failed because one, we had no fashion background, and we had no real idea about how the trends worked in fashion. The other thing is the margins are shallow for fashion. And we were creating a men’s fashion brand. And there’s some crazy statistic that women are around 80 to 85% of fashion buyers, a lot of times they’re even buying fashion for men. So it’s one of those things where it’s you’re really having to be very unique, be in the trends, and find a way to have better margins for these types of clothes. So I think we didn’t go luxury enough on the brand, we didn’t have a really super unique sort of differential for the fashion industry, it was kind of a generic t-shirt that you could get printed anywhere. And so these were the main things. And then we started getting some new designs for print-on-demand T-shirts.
So we had two e-commerce polos that were that we were essentially importing from China. And then we decided to also do print on demand. Where this means you upload the designs and you only pay when the person is actually going in ordering that T-shirt. And this was essentially breaking even this business was, you know, essentially not losing money each month, we were about coming in flat. And the biggest problem we had was we weren’t able to drive traffic to the business. Most eCommerce businesses and most dropshipping businesses are driving traffic through Facebook advertisements, or Google ads. That’s the number one way most people are converting traffic to their web stores. And my business partner and I, just didn’t have a lot of capital to invest in this. And that was the main reason we just let this business kind of diminish. It wasn’t losing money. So we just kind of kept it at a break, even business investment. We learned a lot along the way. And essentially, we just never had the capital to really invest in running ads. This business was you know, basically back in 2015 and 2016. I was a college student I was studying for my MBA, I didn’t have a huge amount of money to invest in advertisements at that time. So what did I learn from this, I learned that the fashion industry is extremely hard. If I had to go back, I wouldn’t be dropshipping or doing e-commerce for fashion. There are different sizes, and a lot of times you’re gonna have huge amounts of returns. For example, a large shirt is going to fit a lot differently. That’s why if you go to Zara or if you go to h&m, they’re larger, they’re kind of different sizes. And then they have different lineups in their store where you can get two different larges and they fit completely differently. So there’s gonna be a lot of returns on an online business and apparel store. So that was one thing I would not do apparel, I would do something that can fit anybody. And I would also go a lot larger scale higher ticket so drop shipping or doing e-commerce for something that’s like two or $3,000, because you’re gonna have a lot higher margins on those bigger ticket items, people are going to be having a little bit more buyer intent when they’re actually finding and buying these products, you know, a 10 or $15 t-shirt, you have to really sell a lot of those two $3,000 products, you don’t have to sell as many.
And you can have a lot bigger margin to spend on advertisements for that. So that’s kind of what I learned from the E-commerce dropshipping space. But it was a very fascinating thing to learn about. And looking back, I would just stay away from apparel, it’s just so complicated, the trends are changing every quarter, and you really have to be ahead of the curve. And again, it just becomes a really hard business because there are a lot of people competing in this space. So overall dropshipping eCommerce is a great way to make money. But I would shy clear of it, but I would personally stay away from the apparel industry. So my third and final business failure was again with a group of partners, and we started a DJ magazine in South Korea. And this was a really interesting sort of business, we started, it opened up a ton of cool doors, we were meeting famous DJs and going to the best festivals, and all in all, it was worth it just because of that. But we really couldn’t find a way to monetize this, we were getting these really cool interviews, and they were getting some traffic in Korea. But the problem was that because this business was based in South Korea, we just couldn’t find an easy way to find an affiliate network, some sort of way to run ads, a lot of times the articles that were ranking weren’t relevant to DJs.
So that was one of these business models that it was cool just to kind of be in the scene doing all this stuff. But we were more or less just breaking even for business expenses. And we couldn’t find a really great way to monetize it. So that’s kind of the recurring trend is like how are you going to have that direct monetization method, spending three to six months before you start a business to kind of test out if it’s going to work, or if you’re finding somebody else that’s already very successful, you can save a lot of that r&d time and just try to replicate what they’re doing, but in your own style and your own fashion and making adjustments to it. So you’re not just stealing their idea, you’re sort of replicating their business structure, but you’re adding your own sort of flair on top of that.
So all in all, I think all these business failures have some really good opportunities that I learned. And that’s one of the biggest things I’ve learned. It sounds very cliche, but you have to have some of these business failures to get this success because you’re learning what not to do. You’re learning what skills you’re best at. And again, you’re gonna have a lot of trial and error before you find success. And this goes back to that previous example of playing basketball. If I would have given up on the first day of shooting hoops because I was missing all the time, I wouldn’t have been able to say going for a long term to continue having more success in the future with entrepreneurship. So if you made it this far, go ahead and let me know in the comments below. What was one of your biggest business failures and what did you learn from it? Also, make sure you go ahead and subscribe and then hit the bell notification icon to get alerted about the new videos I’m releasing every day. And again, there’s gonna be a video up here on your right and on your left. That’s going to be very relevant to this video. So make sure you go ahead and keep watching and check out some of the other videos I’m creating.
I appreciate you staying this far if you haven’t subscribed yet make sure to click here to subscribe and also consider liking this video.
You can apply for the remote life program here to start making money online.
Want to learn more about remote work? Check out my audiobook for FREE right here.
Want to learn how to travel for FREE? Consider joining our travel hacking masterclass here!