Your business idea didn’t turn out like you planned. Welcome to the club. Every successful entrepreneur has been where you are now.
It’s common to fail when starting a business of any sort, many times even. That’s not to say that failure needs to be the end. A lot of the time, failure usually means everything didn’t go as planned.
You eventually tire of the constant hustle that starting a business is, until you eventually burn out. "You “failed”.
So what now. Should you give up? Maybe, but I think you should consider pivoting before you throw in the towel. Here’s how I did.
Realize that failure is not the end
You have another option than giving up, and that is to pivot. Turn that failure into a learning experience and change your idea into something that works. Usually not every part of your idea fails. It might be a crucial success factor, it might not.
In any case there are usually parts worth saving. So, buckle up, I’m gonna tell you how I last week failed and kept moving. I hope that’ll convince you to reach down and save whatever husk of an idea you have left, and pivot.
As you may know I started my blog about ‘technology trends and business insight’ a month ago and made great strides (in my ‘humble’ opinion). I learned a whole lot about writing, scheduling, brand building, and off course blogging.
But before I started my blog journey, I had spent roughly two months planning the blog, and what my ‘personal brand’ was going to be. Most of this planning phase I used to figure out what blog topic or niche I was going to write about.
It’s safe to say I have a ‘jack of all trades’ background with engineering and business, so I struggled a bit in choosing a niche. The tech and business world was certainly a good option. I also think of myself as a creative person (millennial snowflake) which has made me pick up a few hobbies over the years, like playing the guitar and drawing.
I enjoy them, but if I’m honest, I’m not nearly good enough at it to make them my livelihood, which I hope to do with this blog. I considered my hobbies as writing niches anyway.
The last two years, besides my studies I also started and ran a company called Streets of Oslo, so I was very much into the entrepreneurial spirit. There I had another potential niche.
Coincidentally me and Bastian, our marketing and sales guy had jokingly talked about starting a podcast on entrepreneurship. Which we eventually ended up starting. Check out The Founders Cabin, I don’t want to toot my own horn here, but since you’re already reading my blog on entrepreneurship I think you’ll like it. Entrepreneurship as a possible blog niche, check.
On top of that I’m one of those annoying people who like to work out (It’s kind of my meditation). I briefly considered fitness as my niche. Ugh, that would not have been pretty. No offence to any fitness guru out there, I actually follow a couple. It’s just very easy to get lost in the ‘douche-zone’ of shirtless selfies and empty motivational quotes going that route. I wanted something else for my blog and personal brand.
Choosing my niche was in short, a very tough decision for me. I had too many options, and the one resounding tip given by bloggers was to choose a passion. Damn, I thought all these topics were my passion.
I ended up picking technology and business. My thought process was 1; I would have legitimacy in the field, something I remembered lacking when starting Streets of Oslo, 2; Because of my education, 3; I’m genuinely interested in it, and 4; I was already applying for jobs in the same field, so the niche could have a good ‘rub off’ effect when applying for positions. No pun intended.
The technology and business niche ended up being the wrong choice, however.
After a month of writing and publishing I realized I loved the blogging, and I loved the go-get-it mentality I was working with daily. But I also realized I was not actually enjoying the process of writing about technology trends. I had created a job for myself. This blog was supposed to be fun, and it turned out to be a chore.
So, what now. Well, you can read in detailed what led to my pivot in my previous post, but in short, I learned I had not chosen my passion as a blog niche.
I knew what passion was supposed to feel like, because I had felt it doing every other aspect of the blogging; like planning the topics, managing my website and social media, and posting and engaging with the few readers I had. I had a passion for every part of my blog, except for the actual blogging. Some people might think this is a complete failure, ‘If you don’t like blogging, then why would you keep doing it?’.
Realize which part failed
I kept doing it because I realized that not every part failed, just my tech-and-biz niche. I still had a working blog, I just had to alter the content of it.
So I stepped back a bit, mustered up the courage to make a change instead of giving up. Giving up by the way felt a whole lot easier at the time. I did’t know what I would pivot into, but I knew I would pivot.
Sure enough when I had gotten that mentality it took me about 2 minutes to realize that the common denominator, or niche if you will, was that I loved entrepreneurship. It was starting and running a blog I loved, and it was doing the podcast I loved.
I had found my true passion.
Doing these things did not feel like a chore, it felt fun. Now I was rolling on an entrepreneurial high as I’ve come to know them. Everything seemed so clear, crystal. As I thought about it my day-to-day would not really change significantly.
Yes, I would write about something completely different, to a completely different audience. But I was early enough in my blog journey to make the change without major setbacks.
Pivot the failed part
I rewrote my blog description and all my bios across my channels. I was now ‘Exploring Entrepreneurship on a personal level’. Yeah, this is a work in progress, excuse how ‘up my own ass’ I was. I made a short blog-post about the change and posted it. I had officially pivoted.
Now sure, you could argue that most ideas and businesses can’t be pivoted with a few lines on a web page, and I’d be inclined to agree. However, the action of the pivot is the same regardless. Figure out which part, or parts, are not working and fix or replace them. Most likely your idea is feasible with some change. If you’re able to zoom out of your own panicked state you will see the parts that should be pivoted and start working on a new direction.
After the post I had to rewrite my business plan, and the pivot set me back schedule wise. But with passion, anything is possible.
If at first you don’t succeed, try again
So my pivot was trying again, wiser and more experienced. As should yours be.
You’ve got a failure under your belt. Congratulations! I would lie if I said this would be the last. There will be many more, but they will become easier to handle.
For my pivot, I picked a new niche to write about, entrepreneurship. Yes, I do see the humor in me writing about being an entrepreneur, where my ‘entrepreneurial job’ is writing about entrepreneurship. So meta. And I’m loving it.
I’ve also decided to alter other aspects of my initial business plan, like posting once a week, instead of twice. This frees me up to create my weekly content better, and I’m able to spend more time marketing myself, something I think is fun, but I seriously lacked the time to do with two weekly posts.
So, for you dear reader, this means, quality over quantity.
Remember your goal
As a last step in pivoting, I think it’s important to remember you own personal goal.
Mine was creating and eventually living of my personal brand. That was the goal before, and still is now, regardless of my pivot.
If you’re pivoting in a direction that brings you closer to your goal you’re doing something right. Don’t pivot into something that’s not needed, by anyone, especially yourself.
I realized it wasn’t the end. Maybe you initially did’t choose your passion like me, or you’re faced with some technical problems. In any case, work your way past your failure and take a step back, breathe, it’s not that bad.
I examined which parts failed and which could be continued. The only part of my personal brand that was failing was the blog niche I had no passion for. Everything else worked.
I pivoted the failed part. I chose a new niche.
I'm trying again. Wiser and more experienced this time. That's writing this post.
I remember my personal goal and keep failing, learning and pivoting my way closer to it.
That’s all for my pivoting adventure this time, see you again next Monday when I show you my 3 steps for a functional business plan. Until next time fellow entrepreneur!
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