My Dad’s Best Advice Came Out of His Company’s Failure
Sometimes, the best lessons in life – and in business – come from the failure of someone close to you.
Growing up, my sisters and I had a great childhood filled with family vacations, Girl Scout outings, horseback-riding lessons, ballet and gymnastics classes, and more. Even though my family’s finances fluctuated, looking back, I can honestly say that we wanted for nothing.
My mom worked part-time on and off throughout my childhood, but my dad was the breadwinner. He worked installing blinds at residential and commercial properties. I loved it when he would take me along on projects in a celebrity’s home. I guess they needed the blinds to keep the paparazzi out!
Soon enough, he started his own business and named it after my sisters and me. We were excited to see our initials on his business card, but I was incredibly young at the time. Naturally, I knew very little about his business.
Years later, our happy childhood was in for a rude awakening. My parents realized that they couldn’t pay the bills, and we had to leave our home. We ended up staying in my grandmother’s attic room in Chicago for a summer.
Clearly, the business that he was so passionate about had failed. While it was a shock to our family, he quickly bounced back into profit.
During those years, I learned a few lessons that later guided me when I launched my own business at 24 years old.
1. Take It Slow
I once talked to my dad about his failed business, and he said he moved a little too fast during the beginning stages because he was so eager to start working for himself. He didn’t want to take out a loan, so he funded all the start-up costs himself. When other expenses came up, that made it easier for his finances to go downhill.
I, too, have always felt eager to become self-employed. But with financial obstacles like debt in the way, I became even more cautious about striking out on my own and having a fluctuating income.
Running a virtual business like my freelance writing job is much cheaper than running a brick-and-mortar business, in my opinion, but I still wanted to take the time to build up my experience and income.
I decided to build my business on the side as I continued in my full-time job. Once I started earning about the same amount that I was making at my full-time job, I decided to take the leap.
2. Have a Backup Plan
Having a backup plan is important when it comes to meeting a big financial or professional goal. We all experience financial failures, no matter how much we want to succeed.
Should my business ever fail, I know I have built up my skills, experience, and network enough that I could always go out and find another job, just like my dad did.
He’d never been unemployed for too long, so after his business failed, it didn’t take long before my parents had saved up enough money to move back into our home. After that, things pretty much went back to normal.
3. Don’t Let Failure Keep You Down
My dad learned from his failure, fired back up, and started another business. This time, he hired reliable people so that he wouldn’t burn out quickly, and he developed systems and processes to stabilize his profits.
One of the most important lessons that I learned from my dad’s experience is that you can’t let failure get the best of you.
You have to use your mistakes to regroup and plan your next move.
Sometimes you may choose the wrong path, or you may find out that you wasted your time or money. Or you may even realize that you potentially put someone you love in harm’s way. But there’s no sense in beating yourself up when you have the power to bounce back and regain control of your life and your finances.