Entrepreneurs often hear advice like “don’t be afraid of failure” or “never give up!” But it can be challenging to emotionally embrace and apply these words when you run into roadblocks and you don’t know the best next step.
When I first embarked on my entrepreneurial journey in February 2016, I was aware and felt prepared for the challenges I was continuously reminded I’d face. Months down the line, having planned the business model, crafted the offering and launched Rank & File in June 2016, I was now faced with a decision that so many entrepreneurs also face at this stage after testing and initial feedback ﹘ the decision to pivot.
We had produced two beautiful, well-recieved magazine issues featuring amazing business advice from CEOs and knowledgeable individuals like Simon Sinek and Kohl Crecelius. But like all startups, the original market strategy needed to be tweaked after testing. And, even though I had been advised that this was a vital part of the process and completely essential to a startup’s success, a feeling of failure started to creep up inside of me.
I remember taking some time during all of this to share some inspiration with our community that also resonated with my personal entrepreneurial journey. I came across these words by Colin R. Davis:
“The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.”
I was immediately struck by this statement. Could this be true? Are the paths to success and failure really that similar?
As a test, I began to think back on why I started Rank & File and all the lessons I have learned during the path to this current feeling of “failure.” I jotted down a few rough thoughts on paper that looked like this:
Reason for starting Rank & File:
To start a community of entrepreneurs, who serve people first and foremost, in order to create a positive impact on our world — Bringing them expert advice to empower and equip them in that journey.
- People are reacting positively to the vision of Rank & File
- People are excited about Rank & File as a collaborative community
- The content has been well-received
- The current delivery of the content has its challenges
As I looked down at my notes, I started to understand the profound meaning in that quote. A small part of me was tempted to feel like I had failed because of number four on my list. Yet because of this, I had validated the overall pulse and desire of the people I wanted to serve. Success and failure were side by side. They were not found on two separate paths. One was absolutely essential for the other. I thought back to my insightful interview with Luni Libes from the Inaugural Issue of Rank & File.
Then, I thought to myself:
“Success is not final, and failure is not fatal. I will always be constantly learning and shifting on this journey — This is what true success means.”
Challenges are vital because they allow us to listen to the needs of the market. Yet, oftentimes emotions surrounding these hurdles can stop entrepreneurs from taking action. I have learned that the key to turning this human feeling of failure into a powerful force that will propel business forward is to compartmentalize the emotions instead of letting them overtake the entire business. Then, analyze the challenge to open up the lessons learned to be applied.
So where does this leave Rank & File now? Well, where we always have been. Committed to our vision and armed with the lessons we are learning along the way.
We are now working on what comes next, and I can’t wait to start unveiling it piece by piece for you in the coming months.
In the meantime, we have opened up the entire library of publications inside of the current Rank & File Magazine App for free! So head over to the app store on your Apple or Android phone or tablet to take advantage of all the amazing interviews and advice we have curated for you so far.
And because of my continued commitment to collaboration and community, each month I will be personally sharing my journey as a startup founder in an online series I call “Full Disclosures.” This is a personal invitation for you to join me as I share all of the business advice that I am gaining from my interviews and advisors, and then how we are specifically applying these lessons learned to analyze and build our new strategy! It’s a behind-the-scenes look at building a purpose-driven company — with me as the guinea pig and you as the observer! I hope you find this series authentic, vulnerable and incredibly helpful for your own entrepreneurial journey.
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I will be back with exciting news soon! In the meantime, let’s all continue our journeys of both successes and challenges joyfully.
Full Disclosures is an ongoing series with our founder and editor Kari, where she openly shares all of the business advice that she is gaining from interviews, advisory and first-hand experience. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at building a purpose-driven company — with Kari as the guinea pig and you as the observer! We hope you find this series authentic, vulnerable and incredibly helpful for your own entrepreneurial journey. Catch more Full Disclosures in Kari’s expanded editor’s note in each issue of Rank & File.