Everybody loves a good startup success story, but we would be remiss not to mention the countless failures– or redirections– that make the wins that much sweeter. And since failure is inevitable in life and business, the real test is how you deal with it and move on. In this session, we discussed the effects of failure on entrepreneurs, finding resilience, and coping with the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.
As an entrepreneur, you’ll have some of the fastest learning experiences and some of the fastest crashes.
Whether it’s the collapse of a business, loss of a major client, or another setback in your work, it’s especially difficult for entrepreneurs to separate themselves from their failures and remember that you didn’t fail, something in the business did; it’s just your job to handle it. It’s important to look at these mishaps in your business objectively and in terms of strategy– sometimes there will be a quick fix and other times, the solution may be taking a step back to observe what went wrong and how it can be prevented.
What matters more than anything though, is how you choose to lead your team and carry yourself through the hard times. Strength of character in the face of failure determines real winners and it’s the only way to separate your circumstances from who you are, Michael says. It’s especially important to find a balance between being honest and transparent to your investors or team, and your role as a leader to keep the team motivated.
There’s no getting around challenges in life and business, but all you can do is hope to come out better from it and be able to help others with your experience.
Listen to the full conversation about the life of an entrepreneur above!
The Complete Entrepreneur – EP41
[00:00:00] Hello, Colin. This is such an important topic and we don’t often talk about startup failures. You talk about successes. But what we really don’t talk about is the impact on the entrepreneur and how it affects us personally.
I think that startup failures and there’s a friend of mine today, I don’t know if you’ve heard Santiago had, is he shutting down his, uh, facility? Uh, not the he’s our CrossFit coach and he’s not shutting down the, a CrossFit gym, but he’s shutting down a, the, um, the work coworking space that he set up. And it’s, he, he responded by saying, you know what?
It was a really good learning experience. And I think that’s what this is all about. So I’m just going to listen and be quiet and not bother the patients in the lounge chair. All right. Well, Michael, well hand it off to you. This is your show, the complete entrepreneur. I will remind everyone that we do [00:01:00] record this show and we have replaced Turner.
And you can listen to recordings of all past episodes of the complete entrepreneur and many other great shows on startup club over at the website for startup club, which email@example.com. You see a little pattern there, uh, and we encourage you to visit that site and sign up for our mailing list to be kept informed of everything going on and start a club here on clubhouse.
And with that Michael take off. Oh, it’s great to be here once again. I’m on the complete entrepreneur. It’s a session I must admit. I love. Actually hosting. In fact, I find it’s a real privilege to host, um, the complete entrepreneur because it’s, it’s one of the few sessions I think I’ve seen anyway in clubhouse or elsewhere where we not on the explore, what that means to run a business as an entrepreneur, but we explore the life of an entrepreneur and we begin to unpack that this is a session.
We run at 5:00 PM Eastern time, [00:02:00] every single week. And, uh, I’m down here in Melbourne Australia. And it it’s a 7:00 AM if you’re looking at beautiful sky, but let me tell you, the topic we’re looking at today is when we began to explore last week. And this is probably the first time we’ve run a consecutive, uh, topic across two weeks.
And that is dealing with flood with failure. And it’s a really tough one for entrepreneurs because we’re told we have to be upbeat all the time. We were told we have to be like, rah, rah, rah, that everything’s going well here. Yeah. And, um, it’s sort of like a general mantra ourselves, nothing to be seen here.
Yeah. It’s, it’s, it’s a tough one because dealing with failure is something, every entrepreneur number one will face and we’ll have to wrestle through. And in many respects how you actually go along and, and, uh, and encompass failure [00:03:00] at times, whether it’s a collect collapse of a business, whether it’s a loss of a major client, the breakup of a partnership, whatever it is, you’re going to have to deal with failure at some point.
And it can be a real, real struggle. And I, and, uh, I, I remember, um, as I began to reflect on my own life, um, like where did the resilience come from to push through times of failure? Where did that, um, tenacity come from? And, um, I remember when I was about, I think I was about six years old. I was the third child, um, in the family.
And, uh, I was, I was the youngest, uh, at the time. And, uh, I remember playing games such as you ever played a game called Stratego or. Uh, risk is probably the more [00:04:00] famous game. Um, and whereas will domination is the goal. Um, and I really playing that game and I was there six years old and I’m playing in games, my brother and sister, and sometimes my father would join in and they’re like eight, 10, and my father, obviously a lot older.
And clearly I was at an age disadvantaged in that scenario. But what I would do, even when I reflect on my own life and at the end of a game, and inevitably I would lose, I would think about what actually happened every step of every turn, what actually occurred, where did I go wrong? And later on, as I began to play chess with my father, I did the same thing.
I remember he used to do sometimes do fools, might with me that three move, gay mended. And I think there’s no [00:05:00] way you can stop this. What a stupid game you cannot stop. It’s inevitable that I was going to fail. Then I went away and I really began to think about it. And I realized, ah, there’s solutions here.
And it’s the same as an entrepreneur. Yeah. One of the things we should look at is not necessarily look at the events in our life or the events in our business and everything as a failure, but look at them as opportunities to learn. You know, that sounds like a, like a, um, uh, some sort of buzzword or measure or buzzword.
It’s an opportunity to learn. Yeah. It’s all very well to say that, but when you’re going through it, let me tell you it’s been pretty much addict, but you know, there’s a time when you’ve gone through the emotional trauma. Quite often, there is a way of dealing with a failure of some description in need as an entrepreneur to go away and to.
Think through all those steps, even as I did as a six year old [00:06:00] thinking through the steps or the different games and so forth like that, think through the steps, where do I go wrong? What actually happened, speaking of which gaming stayed with me for all of my life. And one of the things I love about games.
And, uh, I actually said this to one of my sons in law now, uh, I I’d play a computer game or something like that with him. And he’d say, why do you like playing games? And I said, well, not only your fun and we have a good time everything, but I really get to know how you think. I really get to know how you think games can teach you a lot about yourself in a, in a, in a very, um, uh, in a, in a good.
Right compared to say, if you’re playing games called business, then it can be quite, quite stressful, but games are really interesting microcosm. And you can learn a lot about the people around with you who are playing a game, or you can learn a lot [00:07:00] about yourself as well. How you do deal with the fact that you’ve tried to go along and, and defeat this evil overlord or something like that in this game for like the last, like, um, uh, five days, you’ve never managed to do it and you’ve got to work.
You’ve got to work this out. It becomes now a strategy discussion in your mind versus versus a arm, a failure discussion, likewise, in your business. I sometimes think that that’s the way we need to approach our businesses is that these times of quotation max failures, then look at them in terms of strategy and tactics.
How do we get around them? I’ll bring this, bring this back now to a real business problem I’m working on right now. I work in an industry where, um, any clients of substance, they do whatever they possibly can to not be found for a variety of [00:08:00] reasons, which I won’t go into. And it’s actually really difficult to find, find substantial clients and to engage with them.
And then convince them, say, say you use our services and so forth like that to work out how we can help them out. The biggest challenge is how do you find these people who go out of their way? And, uh, it’s been a problem, um, that really we’ve had sit down and, and not at a strategy for, because for the last few years, we’ve hit that wall and we bounced every now and then we get a success.
But generally speaking, if we hit the wall, So each time we begin trying to come up with a new strategy, how do we crack that one? Um, or do we just acknowledge that we’re going to be failures? And those sorts of people, um, will never be found and we may as well pack our bags up and go, but [00:09:00] that’s not the case.
Business is dealing with failure. How do we deal with those failures one after the other, but how do we deal with them? Yes. From a business perspective, but how do we deal with those failures from a personal perspective? And that’s the challenge you see, it’s one thing to deal with the failure or encounter a potential failure, um, in a business, like I said, whether it’s a partnership or issue or whether it’s loss of a major client or you close your business down and things like this, one thing to deal with that is quite another thing.
To deal with it personally and emotionally. And what goes on inside your head? You put a smile on everything’s wonderful. Thank you for asking. Yeah. Uh, if someone says, are you okay? Everything’s wonderful. Thanks for asking, because we’ve got to put this facade on or how do we [00:10:00] actually wrestle through the issues of life?
And that is one of the challenges I find, um, as an entrepreneur and how to actually restless through, out of all the things you could possibly do. I think in life being an entrepreneur is one of the ones where you’ll have the fastest learning experiences with the fastest crashes you’ve ever seen.
Because entrepreneurship, you’re living in entrepreneurship, you’re living at the cutting edge of really what it means to be a grand Explorer of days gone by where they used to sail the open seas, trying to find new lands and everything like that. Now the new lands, if you asked me or in your pocket in terms of phone or in your business or, oh, whatever it is, they’re the new lands to be explored.
And as entrepreneurs we’re sitting right out there on the edge of the limb of a tree and we begin [00:11:00] sewing it off and hoping that we won’t quite get through that branch before, before we actually can succeed in what we’re in our particular adventure. Yeah. So here’s a question, uh, I’d like to ask. Um, so yourself, Michelle, we tackle this topic a bit last week, dealing with.
And we’ve heard from a variety of different people and all that sort of stuff. And speaking of which, if you’re in the audience right now, we’d love to hear from you. We’d love to hear your experiences. Like how did you deal with failure? What are the things that you do to deal with failure, to deal with their setbacks, then put your hand up, love to have you on the stage.
That’d be great. Great to hear from you. So can we yourself, Michelle, what’s some of the things that you do do internally within yourself, not just maybe not so much the external in terms of yourself, what do you do when you encounter something? Um, [00:12:00] which could be viewed from the, from that side as a failure?
You know, my that’s a great question. I don’t think it’s easy for anyone. And, um, you know, for me, you know, starting from a very young age, grown up in a very, very rough environment, I really had to condition myself to this predisposition that I just have to move forward. Like for me personally, I cannot like take too much time to like, for sake of a better word, I’ll say, just wallow.
If, if you know what, I’m not defeat for me, I just have to always be like, okay, you know, so that didn’t work. How do I, how do I fix it? How do I move forward? You know, moving forward is, is [00:13:00] always an every day, actually a big thing for me personally, and every facet of my business and personal life. Um, I really, you know, have found that, you know, for my own personal.
Mental fortitude. I can’t dwell on it. I have to just move forward. So it’s like, yes, that happened. Okay. Just like, how do I, how do I try to recover? How do I, you know, what to, you know, of course I think, okay, what did I do wrong that I should have done differently? You know, what is the learning lesson? But I’m very much of like how to just move forward, you know?
And I know there’s people in the audience that have had terribly devastating experiences and I don’t mean to undermine that at all, but, you know, I just find if I go there too much, that it’s not good. Maybe, maybe that’s bad. Maybe psychologically, that’s not bad. Maybe I’m in denial, Michael, [00:14:00] but I’m just saying, that’s how it’s worked for me personally.
And I’m, you know, I’m very interested to hear. You know, what other people think. So, you know, there’s people in the audience, because I think all of us has had, you know, disappointments failures, whether it be relationships or business or, you know, whatever it is just life in general. Like I, you know, I’m very curious, as you said, how people deal with it for me, I can’t go there too much.
I have to be able to very quickly pop up and say, okay, here’s what the next move is. Thank you. Yeah, Michelle, is, is it a case of you’re able to compartmentalize, like, one of the things I find for instance is if I’m dealing with an issue and I’ve got all the other things I’ve got to wrestle through as well, the same time, then I sort of say to myself, can I impact that [00:15:00] now?
That failure right now. And, or should I just compartmentalize and say, I’ll deal with that at this point in time, um, when I’ve got the mind space to deal with it, or I’ve got new informations that are going to help him deal with it. And the meantime I’m focusing on the rest of my business and I’m just not going to let that affect me.
Is it more, that’s a great question. Actually. That’s very pointed. Yeah. Cause some people would say, oh, you’re just not dealing. And you’re just like putting it down. Yeah. I am compartmentalizing it and I’ll be the first to admit it. And yeah, I am putting it down, but you know what, for me, and I, like I said, since the time I was a young age, I will tell you that’s worked for me.
You know? Is, is that healthy in the long-term? Yeah, that’s a great question. So far it’s worked, you know, maybe it will catch up with me, but so far it has. Thank you. Yeah, I I’m right there with you, Michelle, because it [00:16:00] it’s it’s sometimes it’s like, I don’t not have the mind space to deal with that issue right now, but what you’re actually saying yourself, but I will at this point in time and it could be the mindspace because you’re just in a bad place at that, uh, at that, that moment, cause you deal with the emotional impact of what’s just happened and now there’s all the, the actual ramifications of what’s occurred and you say I’m going to deal with it in my terms, in my way.
So I’m going to pack that issue so I can focus on some positive things to drive my business or my life forward in the meantime. Yeah. And for me it’s like, okay, like just stop a downward spiral. Like it’s like cut your losses. In a certain way, like, like I can’t like manage going in a downward spiral.
It’s just like jump up. That’s that’s how I am. Yeah. So the interesting point, your race and just there at the end, I [00:17:00] think that, uh, one of the challenges that entrepreneurs have is that that raise or age of being tenacious or a dog with a bone to the point of, I’m never going to let this thing go. I’m going to go to the right very end.
And you hear the stories of people who’ve come right to the brink of financial ruin or something like that. But, you know, they took that one last step and suddenly everything was successful. There’s on that, that age, on the other side of the edge of the razor blade is. And it’s, it’s almost like the entrepreneurs on the razor plate of those two things.
So they just keep on going or should they cut their losses and just move on with life. Yeah. And sometimes to make that decision is a, is a really difficult one because what should you do? Do you cut those losses, Michelle, what do you do in those circumstances? And I know it’s going to be circumstantial and all that sort of stuff, but I can’t [00:18:00] come to a decision that circumstance.
Yeah. You know, I’m an analytical person, not to the nth degree, like QR Michael or like Collin is, but for me, I, you know, I I’m a person like, yeah, just show me the facts and the data I’ll sleep on it overnight. And I just kind of wake up and I just go with that feeling and you know, I’m not trying to bury so to speak the issues, but.
I think how you approach your team or your investors or your partners is, is extremely key at that point. I think transparency is kind of an overworked word, you know? And, um, I I’m sure Jeff can weigh on that too, but it’s just like, just being honest and you know, what honestly can we do to move this forward?
And if it’s just a horrible disaster, just admitting it [00:19:00] rather than sinking everybody’s time and money into it for another six months. And just having a, you know, disappointing, just bringing down the morale, like, you know, you, you garner, you know, respect, if you don’t let the whole ship sink, you know, so to speak.
Like, I think there’s always, always, I say, but you know, there’s, there’s alternative. You know, if there’s a product you’re launching and oh my God, it’s just not going to do it. Like just kind of admitting to this team, you know, that slaving and spending all this money before you spend ads. Like, that’s, that’s a good thing, right?
You, you salvage yourself. And I think, you know, we have those checkpoints, you know, call and refers to a stage gates. That’s kind of a project management thing, you know, just check in with yourself and your team and just like being extremely honest about it, um, that people [00:20:00] contend to be negative. So you, you have to.
You have to have your own instinct about it. And I think that’s the quintessential, you know, essence of an entrepreneur. They do have that like feeling, you know, look at ALA must for God’s sake liquid. He spent too, obviously he is like, he knows it’s going to work and he pushed it through thick and thin, like, you know, way.
So, you know, it just think we need to have that filling ourself as entrepreneurs and just be really, really candid with our team. First, I would say with our senior management team next with the team was we’re all in alignment. I know that’s kind of a long winded answer to what you’re saying, but, you know, I hope that helps.
Yeah. There’s one thing I think about this topic of dealing with failure is there’s no magic. There’s no [00:21:00] like, okay, if you just follow these 1, 2, 3 steps, then it’s going to be solved for you. It’s not the case, but there’s one thing I, I think that here for you, then Michelle really struck me was you said you get all the facts, you then sleep on it.
And then you, you, you, you make a decision the next day, but you have to set an interesting thing there, which is if I were to paraphrase, you was you let your emotions get involved. You actually let your emotions get involved. You say, I go with my gut then. And it’s interesting when I reflect on my own sort of entrepreneurial journey, um, I’ll be in team meetings at times, and I will just ask the different team members.
Just, just talk, talk at me to just tell me the facts what’s going on and let’s restart. And, and I had this sort of mentality of just leaving those facts, water. And it could be, we’re [00:22:00] trying to solve some very highly technical problem with some of that. I was that this facts wash over me and then I trust my gut.
And it’s quite an interesting when I, when I really reflect on some of the things I’ve ended up doing over my entrepreneurial life, trusting your gut is something which entrepreneurs as they go on the journey of life, learn to recognize more and more and more. There’s something about that. That essence of, yep.
This is right. We need to push through or, Hey, this is wrong. We need to cut our losses or, or whatever, but I’m going to jump down to Christine in a second, second, Christine, to hear your thoughts on this topic, but just before we do. Um, what’s your thoughts on what Michelle just said? It said then when she was trying to explain her process for dealing with, with value and so forth.
Yeah. And I thought [00:23:00] Michelle made some great points and, and it’s, this whole topic is so interesting because there’s so many different levels of failure. And you know, one of the challenges, you know, for an entrepreneur and I, I lived through this with a previous company is when you feel that you’re failing, you know, and when you see things going wrong, like Michelle talked about a product that didn’t plant pan out when you’re faced with, with the, with the challenges of a potentially failing business.
As the entrepreneur, as the CEO, as the founder, you have to find this balance between the transparency Michelle talked about. And at the same time, maintaining your leadership role and keeping the morale up because there’s always that gap between when you think your businesses is failing to, when you really decide to pull the plug and in that interim period, you want to salvage the company you want to see, can we turn this around?
Can we pivot somehow? Can we change [00:24:00] something about our business? Do we have to reorganize, um, change the way we’re staffing? You know, whatever it is, you have that period of time when you’re trying to fix it before you give up or pull the plug on it. And during that time, it’s so critical to not, you know, you can’t walk out to the staff and be the depressed entrepreneur who sees their business failing.
You’ve got to keep your head up and keep the morale up to see if there’s a way to turn, turn the ship around, so to speak. But at the same time, you do want to be transparent. I agree with Michelle a hundred percent, you don’t want to be. Too, rosy a picture when you know, the ship is sinking, you know, you know, you don’t want to go out on the deck of the Titanic and start playing the violin, I guess.
Uh, you know, so you have to find that balance between being transparent, letting people know that things aren’t working out the way that we planned, um, that there were some real big challenges ahead, but at the same time, keep the morale up and be positive until such time, as, as you really know that this is not going to [00:25:00] work and we are going to pull the plug.
And then again, transparency comes into play. You want to be as open as you can, as early as you can with your employees so that you give them, uh, the best opportunity to move on and make a transition smoothly. So it’s complicated, you know, life has complicated. And so as being an entrepreneur and so is failure.
Yeah, it’s an interesting one there, Jeff. Um, I’m just dealing with those failures and so forth like that and how we deal with it internally within ourselves of, um, and we don’t go to, as Michelle said, that sort of spiral that spiral down, but I sort of jump across now to Christine, Christine. You’ve been very patient.
Thank you for doing that. Um, love to hear your thoughts on dealing with failure. Well, thank you for letting me speak actually it’s the first time I happened into this room and now I’m beginning to think it was serendipitous for my own, uh, my own thought process. But in [00:26:00] 1996, I started a.com company. Um, best selections.com, which was the first conglomerate of luxury goods selling online.
And after a year and a half, two years, Um, the wall street journal valued us somewhere around 300 million. I owned at that point 27% of the company, but I had brought in two people, um, Bob Harris and Jody Owen, who had taken companies like WorldCom public, and I lost control of the board. And I lost control basically the company.
And I constantly overrode my own point of view with the fact that they had been so much more successful than me and everything they’d ever done. And in the end, I saw that we were not making our numbers and we kept raising another round. And I finally said, we can’t do this anymore because if we do, we’re going to run out of money.
And I, we, we had a board argument I lost and a year [00:27:00] later I then left the company and a year later, um, which I started and a year later, it crashed for the rest of the.com company with all the rest of the other companies. And it’s funny because a number of the board members who had put in substantial dollars, we’re talking five, 10, $15 million in the late night.
Is this a lot of money? A number of them contacted me and said in the board presentation, we went with them because of their incredible record. And you were just somebody who had a marketing company who started on the side and okay. I’ve told pieces of this story, never quite this way, because until I came into this room, I never considered it a failure.
And the way I’ve told the story over the years is the incredible powerful lessons I learned. Never give up control of your company. Never take somebody’s history and make it override your point of view for that reason [00:28:00] only, I mean, I have so many great gifts that came out of it and I don’t want to sound like Oprah Pollyanna or anything, but I think it’s, the focus is on.
We failed, we failed, we failed, or it just sounds like everybody’s talking in a way that comes from a place of fear almost. And I just never thought I failed until I came in here. So I don’t know if it’s helpful to anybody, but. The point is that it’s a long journey. And if you were good enough to be that brilliant in that moment, then you’ve got another piece of brilliance in you.
And the thing that I gained that helped me do very, very well in the ensuing years was I had an incredible team together. And they came with me because we were never afraid of what might not work. Um, I got that team at best selections. I learned the lessons of, you know, control and leadership and the, you know, somebody has to lead and why not make it me.
And so I don’t, I don’t think of these things [00:29:00] as failures. And I think the more we focus on, well, what could I have done differently? Or what should I have done differently or whatever. I think that makes it a little more challenging. So thank you for giving me this time to sort of put some thoughts together that I’d never really thought about until now.
So thank you. Wow, Michael. Oh, I know. I mean, very quiet. Can you hear me? You can hear me, right? Yes. We can hear you call him. Yeah, that was a very powerful as Michael was about book to say. And, um, I did, I had a very similar situation where in 2000, um, I had sold my company, but my stock was locked up. It was a publicly traded company and the company went to over a billion dollars in valuation and, uh, fast forward through the.com crash and a bankruptcy.
And I ended up the $16 share on the selling for 6 cents a share. So it was very, it was very, um, uh, it was a very challenging and emotionally straining time. And I’m just curious, [00:30:00] you went through this process, like you went through this, you went through this challenge, is this failure, whatever you call it.
I mean, how did you feel about that emotionally? I know I just sort of curled up in a ball and like, you know, climbed in my. You know, I guess it was horrible. It was horrible. And then, and then just sort of dust itself off, pick yourself up and you go and fight another day. And like you said, I think the learning, you know, for me, the learnings, I really believe these startup failures are the scars of our past.
That guide guide us through the future, our future endeavors and. You know, you were an example of that, but I’m just very curious how you dealt with this emotionally. You know, I don’t know. Maybe I’m a cold hearted, whatever I didn’t have. I wasn’t, I wasn’t felled in any way by what happened. In fact, I wanted it to succeed without me because, eh, it would’ve, I would’ve done okay.
They offered to buy me out because I had a lot of family and friends [00:31:00] who put money in, I didn’t want to do that. Um, and so, and I still had a sort of air, you know, a, a seat on the board where at least I had access to the board. So I stated lost my entire, I, I put in 90% of my net worth. I never once felt, you know, Crawling under the covers and pulling them up of my head.
I thought I was brilliant. So I don’t know. I, you know, that’s why I’m in here going, I think really the word failure words really matter. And they really have a tremendous amount of power and maybe it’s different for me because I tried to fight on a course that would have been right in the end. And people said that afterward, they wrote about it, but I don’t know, maybe that was why, but I never described it in the years afterward.
And I do a lot of public speaking. I’ve never once described it as a fake. And so until this moment, but, and I’m all live with the failure, [00:32:00] but I don’t want to dwell in that. And I think if you dwell on that, look, when you, when you take a hit, you take a hit, but if you were good enough to, to be an entrepreneur to begin with, to be, to believe that you had, you had a vision to a pathway to somewhere, then that doesn’t change, just because you have to, you know, you have to have a diversionary explosion that takes you off the road.
And again, maybe it’s because I’m just, you know, odd or whatever. But I, I never felt that way. No, Christine, I think what you’re saying is great. You made it to the NFL. You may have not gotten the super bowl. But shoot, not a lot of people make it to the NFL. Right? You, you launched a company, you raise the money, you did all those things.
So they are accomplishments. Even if it didn’t end out, end up the way you went. No abs you know, and I, I will tell you too, that as I run across people and they, some people have heard of the company or they read about it at the time, or, you know, I was in, you know, it was written about quite a bit. I, um, I just speak about it with pride, [00:33:00] with pride.
I don’t talk about that. Everything crashed, you know, um, I have a couple of times thought, God, imagine what the company would be today. You know, if we had, if we had slowed down the spend rather than trying, you know, what they did back then, as you raised as much money as you could, and you spent it as quickly as you could, so you could do another round and you could be reevaluate it at a higher level.
And that’s, you know, that’s where I thought we made our mistakes. So, and I used the word way. It was a great group of people. I had a great time. Yeah, I think you raised a really interesting point there, Christine and love hearing your story. Um, I’ll just the, the, the, the mental fortitude of how you dealt, dealt with it, but there’s a thing you knew is underlying what you’re saying, and it is your circumstances.
Don’t change who you are. And to me, that’s a really powerful thing that many entrepreneurs need to grasp hold off is you may be [00:34:00] in really trying circumstances, but it doesn’t change who you are on the inside and, and how you actually manage that, that, that separation of your circumstances versus who you are, will depend upon one thing I think.
And that’s your. And how your character has developed over the years of your life. And is, is that the essence of what it was for you that if I encapsulated it in one sentence of how you went through that whole sort of, uh, that journey with that company at that time? Cause it definitely sounds, but it’s definitely not a failure, as you said was the first time ever you thought, Hey, maybe it was a failure, really wasn’t a failure or is that you rose as a person above the circumstances?
No, you know, I have to say, um, my character was imperfect during that time for sure. And that I didn’t deal with Bob and [00:35:00] Jody directly. I went behind their back to the board initially. I mean, I’m not proud of everything that I did in it. I just don’t dwell in a word like failure because I don’t, I it’s just not my nature maybe to do that.
And I think though that I have seen people, although I never thought about it again until this conversation today that where their failure almost like an albatross around their neck. And I think you all need to be very beware, beware of that because I don’t think that serves you or anyone else. Well, and, um, you know, Christine and I don’t see that in my own personal circumstances, but I have extreme amount of guilt for all of the employees who worked for 10 years, who worked for me, some of them millionaires who lost everything on that failure.
There is still that it still exists. It’s still there. It’s still very hard to talk about. And, uh, it’s, it’s obviously very emotional, right? So, you know, the good news is I’ve failed enough times to learn enough [00:36:00] lessons to succeed and do multiple public companies. And, and, and, and, you know, a lot of people have done very well.
And a lot of my employees have been through. But the fact of the matter is I still have that pain. It still exists even 20 years later. You know, I can understand that and I’ll say one more thing and then I’ll be quiet. And that is that just as if the, if the company had made it, it wouldn’t have been your success alone.
The failure wasn’t yours. Yeah, there were a lot of people in there who believed in it and they could have stood up and they could, you know, there’s a lot, I don’t, I don’t really take the failure of best selections on my shoulders alone because I surrounded myself with the wrong people or gave up control of the board or things that I then now I would know I’m smart enough not to do a, you know, I don’t.
And by the way, a lot of people lost a lot of money who I care about. Um, but I, but also they invested because they wanted to, I mean, we’re all grownups and I don’t really take the entire thing on my shoulders nor do I hope you will [00:37:00] forever. No, no, I do in this case because I was only made a decision to sell a company to this company that locked our shares off, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
And, uh, you know, we had the.com crash too. So, you know, the fact of the matter is, you know, everyone at that time, every tech company was facing a lot of challenges at that time as well. But I mean, oh man. And, uh, you know, one thing you said. I brought it down to two words or three liquidity or control liquidity or control.
So from now on, because I was not in a position of control in that situation and, uh, from then on, I, I have been in and people have been well with that. So the fact of the matter is what is your control? That’s the new mantra. Yeah. What great words of advice from both yourself calling also Christine. Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s an interesting situation.
Like when I look at, um, I had, uh, [00:38:00] around the same time as you guys buy a business value in the.com space, uh, and all that sort of stuff. And when I reflect upon that, those, that period of time in my life, um, it really had really changed me, um, as a person of Princeton where I see another entrepreneur struggling, I feel.
I actually, I actually feel it on the inside because I remember that experience right now. I’ve got a great successful company and everything is good companies and everything is good. It is going well. But when I hear someone else, I just want to help them out. And people have asked, like, why do you host this room?
And it’s because that time, my life, where I went through a really difficult, um, circumstances where I thought I was gonna lose my house, all those sorts of things. And it really [00:39:00] comes down to that because I, I, I feel entrepreneurs as they go on their journey because of that. If I didn’t go through those circumstances, go through the deep waters of my life.
I probably would have been an arrogance. I hope I’m not an arrogant sod, that’s for sure. But yeah, it’s, it’s going through that deep water. Sometimes it can, it can, um, change you for the positive or for the negative. And one of the things I found that gave me was a deep and lasting empathy for others who are going through their challenging circumstances and to do whatever I can to help them.
Sometimes you can’t do it. Sometimes all you can do is just be an ear to listen and that’s all you can do. And other times it could be that you’re able to do something else, but, um, it’s, it really does quite often form. It helps you [00:40:00] form who you are or have a recognition of who you are, uh, as you go on through those, those tough times.
Um, but it’s, it’s a really interesting story. Oh, I was just about to jump down Arnaz and he, he dropped out. Sorry about that is look, you’re listening to the complete entrepreneur and we’re discussing something, obviously it’s, it’s really hot felt like we’re hearing Christina and her journey and every thought that it’s been phenomenal, um, hearing about that her life’s experience as an entrepreneur, if you’re in the audience right now, You know, what, where am I going to store to tell you guys we’d love to hear from you.
So please raise your hand and we’d love to invite you to the stage, but Christine, can I just come back to now? So if that’s okay with you, when you you’ve go to this difficult time, you lost control of the board. Uh, you’re still hanging in there as a shareholder because you feel that there’s a, an emotional obligation, even though medically you say, you know what, [00:41:00] I should have just sell my shares and an Electra stock, but you felt there was an emotional obligation to still hang in there.
And now you’ve gone on this journey since then. W did that experience really help you out as you went on that sort of continuing your entrepreneurial journey? Well, I never filtered my, um, opinion again, you know, for the first year of best selections, I deferred every single time. Um, and so I didn’t filter my opinion after that.
And we’ve had great success. I mean, we did Barack Obama’s social media, um, planned for his first campaign. We, you know, we’ve had some incredible opportunities that might company, so maybe that’s part of it too, is that, you know, I had a successful marketing company before I closed it to start best selections, but somebody asked in the comments, you know, well, did I leave financially?
Okay. No, I lost 90% of my net worth. And I had [00:42:00] been recently divorced from an investment banker. So I did have cash, but not anymore. And I had to start all over again. So, no, I don’t know why. I just, I just didn’t think about it that way. So, um, but no, I don’t think so.
Yeah. It’s interesting. Like, um, quite often events like that in entrepreneurial life helped shape them moving forward. And one of the things you said there. You actually express your opinion and, and, you know, I’ve actually been guilty of exactly what you’ve said that you think that the other people have so much more experienced.
They obviously know so much more than me, therefore, um, I’m going to defer to them because I want to go along and be successful. Um, like they have become or something like that. And there’s, there’s a great law in the movie. I think it was, it was called, um, [00:43:00] was it the 13 days? It’s about the Cuban missile crisis.
And one of the characters with, um, in Kennedy’s office said, you know, there’s something tomorrow when men or women of good character don’t speak up. And I, I, I, I actually took that as a challenge to myself that, um, I said to myself, I’m going to speak up. You know what, when I think the business is going in the wrong direction, I’m going to say something I’m going to speak up and be forthright about it.
Is that something that really you’ve grasped hold off, Christine, in your, that your own journey now is you’re saying, yeah, that’s it. I’m not going to be rude about it or anything like that, but I’m not going to keep my mouth shot. I’m going to speak up and say what we needed to do. Well, I think, I, I think I spend a lot more time evaluating somebody else’s comments instead of sort [00:44:00] of accepting them based on the armor that they wear of the success that they’ve had.
And so, and I think that’s helped me to sort of look at everybody as the emperor with no clothes, if you will. So I don’t, I don’t really know. And I didn’t know until I came into this room today, that best selections was a failure. I did. I never thought about it that way. And so. And now that I am I’m, I’m sure I’ll be journaling about this for the next couple of days.
And I’m really grateful that I popped in here, but, um, I don’t know. And I don’t know. I can imagine that if you, if you have a company and you feel you let a lot of people down or something along those lines, but I do think that that’s, um, you know, one, before I left, before I started the board fight, I called in a bunch of people who I’d brought in and said, this is what I think this is where my head is.
You know, I just want to let you know, let me know what you need. I tried to get as many people out as I could [00:45:00] after I resigned from, from my chairman of board position. And so I did everything I could to get everybody where, you know, to lead as best I could from whatever position I was in. But I guess maybe on some level that was there in me before I started best selections, it wasn’t necessarily a result.
Yeah, Christine, I think part of why you, don’t never thought of it as a failure before. Cause I think clearly you’re someone who is, is living in the present, right. Living in the moment. And I think a failure when you look at it is really just a moment in time. Um, and, and just like in all of life, it’s really best not to dwell on the past and dwell on something that happened in the past and, and that failure for all of us, who’ve experienced it.
That moment has passed. If you dwell on it and continue to live in the past, it’s going to be hard to get past it and hard to find your. [00:46:00] Adventure and your next potential success. So I think it’s important to recognize that yes, we may experience failure, but that’s a moment in time. And that moment in time is behind us.
And while we want to think about it, to learn from it, we don’t want to dwell on it because there’s much more to come after. And for every person who’s successful and that’s in all aspects of life, whether it’s business, whether it’s relationships, uh, anyone who is successful at something, um, most likely has had failures in that same thing previously that they learned from.
So it’s just a moment in time that we learned from, and then move past and, and, and focus on the. You know, it’s funny you say that Jeffrey, because my favorite line is that the rear view mirror is smaller than the windshield for a really good reason. And it’s worth glancing in it, but it’s never worth spending too much time in it.
Yeah. I love that too. You know, it, it is what it is, right. It’s all a bit about [00:47:00] attitude. And just, if we know we’re treating people well, listening to their opinions and weighing things, you know what that’s all we can do. And I think people that live in regret, they know they didn’t do that. They know what they weren’t respectful.
They didn’t listen. They didn’t try their best. That’s my personal opinion.
What a great conversation. This is just hearing about this and that analogy of the, the, the rear vision mirror is full of the screen for a reason. How true you, you got to push through, you got to push onwards. I think Michelle, you said that before all I’m looking, I’m looking forward, uh, and I’m taking that next step.
Um, it’s just so true. I sort of come down to Aetna, Aetna, Christine’s raised a whole lot of things. It’s been a fabulous conversation, uh, dealing with failure. [00:48:00] So, um, what have you got to share on this topic there? Edna failure is your best friend embrace it. You know, I have learned far more from failure than I have from success.
And don’t get me wrong. Success feels really good, but it wouldn’t have, I wouldn’t have had the successes that I’ve had had it not been for the failures that I experienced. And even if, you know, you don’t have to fail catastrophic right. Where you’ve got a business that goes under. Although I have had one of those, um, you know, there’s partnerships that I’ve had, that didn’t succeed, they failed there’s, I’ve had a failed marriage.
Um, but you learn from those things. And, and, and a lot of times, you know, when people, when people repeat the same habits and patterns, that’s when you know, you really haven’t learned your lesson. And so, as long as you’re taking those lessons and you’re putting them into place, and then you figure out, I think the important thing is, you know, to look back and figure [00:49:00] out where did I go wrong and, and have a come to Jesus, meeting with yourself, right?
Where you take full accountability for your actions, because you cannot lay blame on someone else. You had some. And, or you had something to do with things not turning out the way they were supposed to. Maybe it was a misstep, maybe it was a misspeak. Maybe you missed a subtle clue. Maybe you missed a really big glue, but at the end of the day, accountability taking full accountability for your participation in that will allow you to grow and move forward onto the next venture that you’re working on and have far more success.
And you won’t repeat the same mistake, like most smart people who won’t won’t repeat the same mistake sometimes, you know, there are folks that do, but for the most part, I think, you know, we won’t do that. I mean, it’s evident with our children as well, Michael, so I mean, failure for me has been my greatest teacher.
I’m very fond of her. So. [00:50:00] Yeah, what a great statement and failure is my greatest teacher. How true, how true know you remember two things in life, more than anything? I think one is you remember failure and the learning from them. And you remember what I call stolen information stolen information is when you’re, when you’re at some event and you hear someone on the other side of the room, just talking quietly about you, that’s stolen information.
And it’s amazing what the brain will do is suddenly your ears will listen to it, but that’s a whole separate conversation. I want to jump across to Sharon here, Sharon. Thank you very much for coming onto the complete entrepreneur. It’s wonderful to have you on the stage. So welcome to the stage. Hi, Michael, thank you so much for, um, giving me this spotlight.
Um, Christine, I have a question for you because I heard you say you never considered your business a failure and, and, you know, there’s this idea in life that our failures define us. [00:51:00] And curious if you thought, if you had Sr the business, uh, closing as a failure, if that would have changed your trajectory or your, or your direction, because, um, you would have allowed that to define you in a different way than you did just the closure and saw as not a failure.
If I, if that’s, if I’m making myself clear, I’m just kind of curious about that. Interesting. I don’t know, but, but when you asked the question, what came to my mind is there are a lot of. Things I’ve started since then much smaller. I mean, best selections is the biggest thing that, uh, you know, that I’ve ever I ever did in this kind of situation.
And then I’ve dropped them because they weren’t what I wanted them to be, or I couldn’t make them happen or the moment passed or someone else did it better quicker, or what have you. I just don’t think of those as failures either. I just think of it as [00:52:00] part of the trajectory of where I’m headed. So I don’t know.
Maybe that’s just my, maybe I’m just stupid. I don’t know. It’s possible that, um, you know, I’m so narcissistic that I can’t even see a failure for what it is, but let’s put it this way. I don’t care if it was a failure or not, because that’s not, what’s going to. You know, that doesn’t make my day, you know, I, I, I, language really matters to me in a world where it’s like, failure is not one that serves me.
Well, you know, so maybe that’s why I don’t go there, but yeah. You know, if somebody said, well, the best selections fail, I’d say yes, but I don’t consider it in that same vein. I don’t, I don’t spend a lot of time in it. I love it. And I totally, I’m sorry that, I’m sorry, Sharon. Um, it’s okay. I love that. You said it doesn’t serve you well, and it doesn’t serve anyone.
Well, I absolutely love that. That’s that’s a really [00:53:00] way. Good way to frame it. Thank you. Yeah, I was just going to follow up with that Christine and say that, you know, I do believe very much so that our stories matter, the stories we tell ourselves sometimes, um, that we allow to divine us. Um, and you didn’t allow this situation to define you, um, in any way, shape or form.
And so, you know, I congratulate you on that because sometimes, um, that’s a much harder ask than, uh, than we sometimes are up for. So I barely remember what I will say. One other thing though, other people considered it. My failure. I remember one journalist who interviewed me after best selections closed and said, you know, you started it.
Why did you not? You know, you, uh, you know, there was a board fight. Now we know what it was about. You know, why didn’t you try harder? Why didn’t you go public? Why didn’t you put, you know, basically they said, I didn’t try hard enough to take it down. The roadway that I thought was the right one. But [00:54:00] even when I was in the board fight, I wasn’t sure I was.
Right. So I didn’t really feel, I don’t know if I would have tried harder if I did. So I can’t really go to all those different aspects, but in any quote failure, there are a million decisions that were made by others and yourself. And so it’s never one person’s failure in anything in business. Maybe it is personally, you know, but it’s never, it’s never just one thing.
So, and I think it’s really important to remember that. Yeah. You raised an interesting point there. Um, uh, Christine, where, but to me it’s really easy to make decisions when they’re black and white. Why’d you go left, you go. Right. I know exactly what to do. It’s more challenging when they’re. And you’re not a hundred percent certain of the right outcome.
And that’s when it’s, it’s a, it’s a wrestling. Uh, it’s originally within yourself, say if you’re on the board and everything like [00:55:00] that, there’s also wrestling with the board. What is the best direction for the company to go on? And, uh, it’s one of those things where I think every entrepreneur will actually go through, they’ll go through those times when there’s no obvious right answer, and you go alone, choose a direction.
And let’s imagine it turns out to be not the right, right direction after all, that’s not necessarily a failure. You just know that that’s not the right direction and you’re going to go in the other one. Um, and I think that’s one of the things that as entrepreneurs we need to embrace a lot more of is that there’ll be times when you don’t know the right.
And the question is how do you become get the right answer as fast as possible? And for the least amount of costs, there’s all those sort of discussions that need to be had. Um, so you can choose the right path for the business and also for yourself, but it’s, it’s a big [00:56:00] challenge. It’s a big challenge as a, in, um, in running a business.
It’s a big challenge, encompassing that as a person as well. Like I’m going to jump down to, to Brian, Brian. I think it was the last person that joined the stage here. Brian, it’s great to have you on the complete entrepreneur. We’d love to get your thoughts on this topic because there’s been some great input from the people on the stage here with me and being so appreciative.
So Brian, welcome to the stage. Hey, I appreciate it, Michael. Um, yeah. I just want to tap in a little bit about failure, especially when you start your own business. Um, if you’re going to fail, hurry up and fail, hurry up and get it out the way. Pick yourself back up and get better from it. That’s what I like to say.
Um, if it’s going to happen, let it happen. Just let it happen as soon as possible. So you can learn from it and you go again, you just don’t quit.
What a great saying. So I hit that wall full on and full-speed [00:57:00] yeah, there’s definitely an aspect of that. That’s for sure. Oh boy. So been listening to the complete entrepreneur and we’re dealing with this topic again, of dealing with failure, but really isn’t failure. Isn’t really failure or is an opportunity to know that that’s not the direction to go go in the other way, like, or is it, and how does it define you as an entrepreneur?
Should we let our failures, should we let our circumstances that we’re thrusting to, should we let them define. Or is there something stronger inside? Is there some steel inside where and where rather than actually, um, deferring to the so-called experts, is it that steel inside that we need to speak out?
Um, in those quite difficult circumstances, you know, there’s all different things we can learn from this topic. That’s for sure. And it’s one that I must’ve been, I found it’s been thoroughly [00:58:00] enjoyable and I’ve learnt so much from, uh, and can I just say, I just appreciate everyone on stage, just so much and openness and which you’ve shared and, and, um, and forthrightness as well.
But I just want to jump to say to, to Jeff right now, um, love to hear what’s happening. It’s not up, so what’s going on, Jeff. Oh, Michelle, I don’t mind either of you I’ll let Michelle, uh, take it. And, um, but I will say there’s lots of great content, just like this discussion. And it’s really, um, great that for two weeks now in a row, um, this topic has led to some really insightful, um, conversations, discussions, and, um, it just shows how important failure is to entrepreneurship that it’s filled so much of our time discussing it, Michelle, what’s up with stored up.[00:59:00]
Well, I’ll tell you, Michelle, might’ve been, uh, uh, I’ll tell I’ll fill in for Michelle. So as you could see, this is just one example of the great weekly shows we have running it. Start-up club. Um, this show, the complete entrepreneur has done every Thursday. 5:00 PM Eastern time. Uh, we’ve got other shows like tomorrow at 2:00 PM is the, is a serial entrepreneur club hour, which we do every Friday afternoon.
Great topics where we really try to, to unlock the code behind serial entrepreneurs. What are the things that serial entrepreneurs do again and again, and again, to achieve success. Um, Sharon, who’s on the stage now, Sharon and I host and co-host two rooms during the week. On Monday nights, we have lead with your story at 6:00 PM Eastern and also at 6:00 PM Eastern on Wednesday, Wednesday nights with page, how we have the name game.
And the best thing you can do is go over to startup.club. The website for startup club, check out the schedule event events there, sign up [01:00:00] for our mailing list to be kept informed. And we really do appreciate you being a part of this community and listening with us tonight. Yeah, thanks a lot for that, Jeff.
Uh, I noticed that about clubs cope with something like over 800,000 members and it’s continuing to grow and why, I think there’s a real hunger from entrepreneurs out there who want to learn from other entrepreneurs. Can I just say thank you very much to every single person who has been on the stage?
Uh, um, with me, it’s been an absolute privilege, um, hosting this session today in particular and also to my fellow moderators, Jeff, Michelle, and column who’s at the, obviously catch his flight. Uh, it’s always great having you here with me. Um, as we begin to unpack what it means to be an entrepreneur, if you’re in the audience right now, um, and you’re saying, gee, I just want to hear a bit more from that person, what they be sharing.
Don’t forget, you can click on their photo and you can follow, uh, follow them. And if you’re there and you’re saying, you [01:01:00] know what, I really enjoy. Then I’d love to see you at 5:00 PM next week, next Thursday. And we’re going to be unpacking a really interesting topic and that is. Understanding your employees.
We’re going to be looking at understand your employees and what that actually actually means. And, um, oh, sorry. My apologies. It’s not that next week. It’s actually become an irresistible force. We’re looking at becoming an irresistible force. How can you as an entrepreneur become that irresistible force, which can push against those immovable objects.
How can you push on through? And what’s the things that need to change inside of yourself. So you can be that. Um, and it’s, it’s going to be a, I think a really interesting conversation. So lastly, I want to say thank you very much. All those people in the audience you’re being. And you’re the reason why we do what we do, and to be able to [01:02:00] have you there and listening away and feel free to message us.
And, um, and we’d love to hear from you anyway. God bless may you have a wonderful week this week and as an entrepreneur, uh, in all your different entrepreneurship activities. See you later. Bye. Hey Michael, real quick, before we take off, just want to make sure that if the peak bull in the audience and the listeners now are not following the club, click on the little green monopoly house up at the top and follow the clubs start-up club.
You can also go to the firstname.lastname@example.org and sign up for our, um, our newsletters that go out and be in the know about all the stuff that’s going on here on clubhouse and with startup club and entrepreneurship. So the leak is up at the top. Follow the club, follow moderators, and thanks for.
Thanks, Michael. Thanks a lot for that Edna. Appreciate those last words there and very good and wise words. They are. Thanks a lot for that. And I’ll see you all next week. Take care. Bye.[01:03:00]