This week’s episode is a very vulnerable one for me to share.
In fact, it’s taken me 12 years to share this lesson with you.
It’s been long enough after the fact that I can openly and transparently share with you why my first business failed.
Yep it’s taken me that long to recover from the crush to my confidence and enough success behind me now that I can look back with almost motherly affection for “Past Janet” who tried so hard and lost so much.
I never want you to make the same business mistakes I did, which is why I’m sharing the 6 reasons my first business failed (and my second one succeeded).
I also have a special gift for you today, so you don’t make mistakes #3 and #4.
The exact survey template I use in my exact business for you to copy and use immediately.
You can watch the video, listen to the audio, download from the podcast directory, or read the transcript below.
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- Vulnerability alert! Why it’s taken me 12 years to share these lessons with you
- I share why I started my first business, an Internet Art Gallery that became the largest online art gallery in Australia…..and lost everything 🙁
- How I tested my business concept in Business 1 and Business 2 and the lesson for you from both of these.
- The embarrassing story of the greeting cards
- What I spend tens of thousands of dollars on (and could have been replaced with a telephone)
- The very unique way I did market research for my second business
- My survey template you can have for free. You can get it here.
- The danger of being cool
- How I could easily have saved over $100K and 4 years.
- Your Call To Action: Share your ah-ha’s below. This has been a vulnerable episode so I’d love to hear from you.
- Look at your current business – how can you test small?
- Audit where you are spending your money – rate each expense against potential for ROI
- Download my gift for you – the template of the customer survey I use, plus instructions on how to customise it.
- Implement the survey template!
- Join the Romance Your Tribe Facebook Group – you don’t need to do this alone
- Congratulate yourself on taking action. Dip into the Celebration Box.
- Share below your ah-ha’s from this lesson and also any tips other viewers may find useful.
- If you loved this episode, I’ll be grateful if you can leave a review over on itunes so other people can discover this podcast too
Links and Resources Mentioned
Read The Transcript Here
Okay. So just very quickly the very first business I had was an Internet art gallery and I started that because at the time I was studying art, this is about 15, 16 years ago. I was studying art to keep me sane while my children were really little and I was living out in western New South Wales and I realised how difficult it was for artists to get an opportunity to exhibit their work. So that’s when I thought, you know what, artists need a way to get to be able to see their work everywhere because you can’t just wait for people to come out to Dubbo. Then, I was also aware about this newfangled thing called the Internet and I wasn’t, you know, I wasn’t really using it. I used e-mail. Thought that was pretty good.
And I was learning about the Internet in fact my current job at that time was actually having to help other people you know use the Internet, you know, to be able to with projects that we were doing. I didn’t know anything about it, we brought i a big specialist. So I’d heard about the Internet thought it was pretty fancy and I saw the two together and thought “I’ve got a business”. Hence, Indigo Art which ended up becoming the largest Internet art gallery in Australia at that time before I sold it. That was my first business, largest Internet art gallery in Australia. Sounds successful doesn’t it? It was a failure. So we’re going to look at why.
My second business, for this example, is Wonderful Web Women . When I started my company Niche Partners and Wonderful Web Women started off as a quest to find the most successful women in the world who had made their money on the Internet and share their stories with other women who were wanting to grow their businesses. That’s what Wonderful Web Women was and Romance Your Tribe, which is where my business has evolved to, grew out of Wonderful Web Women and it was successful right from the beginning. So we’re going to have a look now at the six reasons why the first business Indigo Art failed and really crushed my confidence and my bank account for a long long time? And then why Wonderful Web Women and ongoing Romance Your Tribe succeeded. So let’s get stuck into it. Please excuse me I can refer to my notes because I do not want to miss giving you any lessons at all. Okay.
Number one, I didn’t test my concept. I had this really great idea, I could see that artists didn’t have anywhere to exhibit their art work and I thought, you know what, the Internetm this is going to work. This is pretty cool. So on the basis of that I built a very elaborate business model I spent a long time thinking about everything, mapping in or out, creating something just truly truly totally cool and really creating getting elaborate software. Everything was Mickey Mickey Mouse and took a long time to build up you know I have little babies at the same time and you know what I didn’t test the market. I went straight to big. If I had tested the market I would have realized I had my business model wrong and we’re going to go into more detail about what that business model was and why it was wrong. But I would have worked that out quite quickly as it was it took me years to realize that the business model I had invested so much of my life into was never going to work never going to work. So I did not test the concept. In the second business Wonderful Web Women I tested the concept. Now I’m going to go into detail about how I came up with the business model and look at that in the next lessons. But what I did do is I tested it first I only launched for an eight week project. It was starting off for eight weeks.
I was just going to interview eight women and I had a method that was going to make it that I would get sales straight up and then I would build a male image straight up but I was only going to do it for eight women to see how it went. I didn’t go straight into building an elaborate membership site I didn’t go straight into programs into spending a fortune on websites. I just started with eight weeks it took off. I can tell you after eight weeks I thought wow this project has now become the whole business. So that was the lesson I learned so the question to you. Do you have a concept and then you’ve gone straight into planning out the whole thing the big vision and really putting all of them into place before you even put it out to the market. If you haven’t test the market go small first. See what the response is. You might be completely off the mark or you might be just slightly off but that’s slightly off. If you’re investing a lot of time and money can be enough to make it so it’s not going to work. So you could tweak it if you do that test first. That was number one.
Number two, which leads on from that, I spent money on all the wrong things. Now what I did is high with this big concept. No this is pre WordPress. So I went and spent a fortune getting a great website made getting very elaborate software made so that no people could not choose their work and then they can go frame and they can choose the frame and it would show them what they look like and then then the flight would be calculated depending on the frame the size of the artwork where the artist was where the person was getting it shipped to. All of this stuff really really elaborate stuff.
It cost me tens and tens and tens of thousands of dollars. Years of development I went through three developers because honestly I think I was a bit of a pain in the butt to be honest but you know I went there it was a huge investment and you know what. Every time I made a sale people said can you ring me up because I just got to talk to you to see if the artwork was what’s your artwork like. They wanted to be reassured. I got everything over the phone if I’d tested I would have known that. The other thing I did is I invested thousands of dollars getting really beautiful greeting cards made that featured these beautiful artworks on the site because I thought we’ll send that one with every artwork and I know I’ll go out and I will. You know people anybody who gets a gift or I’ll get a sandwich packets are these cards. These are so beautiful that people are just going to share them everywhere. It was really just going to my artist’s side of it it was not a business decision it was an artistic decision. The same reason with business cards you know people will make these beautiful beautiful business cards and they’re not necessarily going anywhere to keep them out. So that was a big mistake I won’t spend a lot of money on things that were not going to work. So in the second business what was the lesson I learned. I did not spend money on things unless I knew it was absolutely essential and I did my research to find out it was the most cost effective way to do it.
So while the time I sort of Wonderful Web Women were oppressed was not really being used it was just been used for blogs but not for membership sites. So I found out what membership sites software I wanted to do. I was very nice to my husband who I talked to helping me learn how to put it all together so we could both do it and um and I went and sold heaps of stuff on ebay went around our house and just sold stuff on Ebay so that I got the thousand dollars that I needed to start it up and that’s what I did. There were no no business cards and get business cards for you because there were none and nothing was elaborate. So I just built up and Hill you know and every time I could see that I needed an investment that’s what I would really really look at it. Now now I’m also very strict. You know I had a book keeper before I even had any income because I wanted to know exactly where my expenses were going how my cash flow was and making sure that I wasn’t spending before I had it. So yeah that’s my my thing. My action point for you is have a limit where you’re spending your money. Are you going for example. Well Janet uses Infusionsoft all the big guns using FusionSoft. Sure it’s hundreds of dollars a month. I’m going to I’m going to use that from the beginning even before I’ve got a customer.
This is a really typical one I’m giving you as an example you know that’s one of the things I do with my clients as we work out the cheapest way for you to get started so you can test your concept then you’ll know if it’s going to be worthwhile you spending money on the top of the range you don’t need to. We just I used PayPal PayPal and a Weber was what I used for years and years and years we did hundreds of thousands of dollars through Paypal before we got proper shopping cart. So starting small. Where are you spending your money. Let’s look at the next one.
Now lesson number three, why my first business failed and my second one succeeded. This was the death knoll I got my target market all wrong. I thought that my target market was the artists now the model was the artist paid me 50 bucks and that would get all of their artworks up on the site and then when I made a sale I would get 40 percent commission. Now that’s the standard commission. It was then for art galleries to take off. When they sold out for artists like retail retail other art galleries are shops they retail shops so that was their markup. So I used exactly the same model but you know what the artists were not my target markets my target market were the people who were going to buy the artwork. Like do you know I had this whole thing I would build it they will come. Now that was a huge mistake. I confused my suppliers with my customers. This was the death knell of that business.
You know I made a huge mistake I made that mistake and I didn’t really realize it until I was broke and it wasn’t until then that I started listening to what my clients wanted and it was too late by then know I had already lost the money and you know I’d already lost the energy and the enthusiasm for the business. So this was a big one. Now with the second one I did not make this mistake again. In fact I was probably cautious for a long time because I was not making this mistake again. So the very first thing that I spent a lot of time to competitor research with my first business I was too soon. They weren’t any help. Every time I got anybody that started up online as a competitor I would ring them up and thank them because nobody ever thought about buying out on the Internet there were too many hurdles to it. So you know I started too early but I was being really really careful when I started wonderful Web and I spent a lot of time doing competitor research. I also and this is a classic is this is pre Facebook so I didn’t really have anywhere to be able to find my target market. So my target market was also at these events that I was going to learn how to market online. I was going to those events where there’s lots of speakers talking about how they built their business on the Internet. And my target market was they’re getting frustrated because there weren’t any checks on stage and wanted to know you know what the win was with this concept how did they do this how did they do it differently.
And so that’s where my target market was and where do you think my target market was when they were at these events. Well I can tell you at lunchtime they were all lined up in the big long line trying to get into the women’s toilets and of course along that line they would be stopping and they’d be talking to each other. So I was not making that mistake again and I had no pride. So I went along that a line of women who were queued up for ages a captive audience with my MP 3 recorder because I didn’t even have a phone back then and I went along and recorded them saying tell me what’s your biggest frustration when it comes to building your business on the internet. If I could find the most successful women in the world what would you like me to ask them. So I did that for months after months after months all of these events I knew my market exceptionally well I knew who my target market was. I knew that there was a demand. So that’s why when the first business went Wonderful Web Women took off. Man did it go well. Okay. So my question to you have you got the right target markets. Have you really got the right target market or if you’ve got the people who you think need you but are they going to spend the money. Are they hungry enough or what you can help help them with.
Now this is one of the things that I do with my programs in fact I’ve developed a really unique system called profitable Avatar Cortright that gets you super clear on your four Avatar types and will help and you will know exactly which ones are the most profitable and what to offer them. Now every time I take people through this particular system they have huge ahas and can restructure their business and their marketing is so much more spot on. Ain’t nobody gonna make that mistake again. Okay so that’s my question to you. Have you got the right time. Michael I make the third mistake that was the third my fourth mistake that I made is I assumed that I knew what my real customers wanted and what they didn’t want. You know I really did not do any research on the people who were buying. I thought I had you know I did you know a bit of you know looking at you know reports that had been done on the state of art in Australia blah blah blah but it was really superficial stuff and I was really just looking for information that reinforce that I had a good idea. I was very very biased. If I had taken the time to really get to know them I would have had a lot of great insights. I didn’t start doing that until about the third year in when I started going out to the people who buy art. I started going out to companies that buy art you know that would by buying art so for hotels and things wasn’t till then that I started talking to them and realise you know this what I’ve set up is not going to make life easy.
You know one of the things I did discover at the end was people were really interested in renting out especially if they were doing up their homes and renting their art in order to be able to their homes to sell and they either moved or they didn’t end up selling. They would buy their work because they’ve got to live with it. They wanted it so it was that was right near the end when I found that that was that actually started to work. So there you go that’s an idea for you if you’re in that market that actually back then worked really really well by that stage though I had discovered that there were much easy ways to make money online and so I sold the business and with that idea to be able to give to the next person who promptly ran it into the ground. Okay so with me I know I told you what I’d already done that research there in the toilets and what I also do is I continually see these people join my mailing list. I had a quick survey that asked them what their biggest frustrations were. I continue to survey my email list at least once per year. Really good idea on what it is that are their issues and responded to that. That’s how I knew that after about eight weeks my clients want to know not just from all of these women who I’d been interviewing they want to know how I did it how did I manage to do that in eight weeks.
So I developed my first two thousand dollar program because I listened to what my clients wanted the Romance Your Tribe program and my Romance Your Tribe’s system has come specifically from listening to my clients who were saying I want to know step by step how to do what you do generally in the way that you do it. It’s only come from listening to clients and that’s why my business has changed quite a bit over the years. It’s always been in response to what my clients want. So my question to you is are you continuing to survey your clients are you listening to them. Are you analyzing then what they’re asking for and to see if this fits in with what you can be doing. Is your market changing. Are you on top of it. How connected are you to your customers and your potential customers. So this is one of the things that I do with my clients in my Attracta tried coaching programs is you know we’re going to get super clear and really getting to know your target market so that you know that you will hear saying things like it’s like you’re in my mind you know exactly what I’m thinking. It’s good you sure. So yeah that’s that has been core to the success of Wonderful Web Women and then Romance Your Tribe absolutely core because that I’m not making that mistake again. Now let’s look at what else have I got here in my notes. Two more things that I did wrong. Okay. Now you might do this. This is this didn’t make the business fail but it made me not have the resilience to continue which ultimately leads to failing is I tied my personal identity to my business identity. Now I’m not talking about personal branding here I’m talking about self worth.
So I stuck with a business that my if I had been stepping back and not seeing my identity as being related to how successful business was I would have recognized that the business was not working and I would have approached it in a much more detached logical way to see why but at the time I was cool you know I was this Jannat that was really arty and had this really really awesome online business to do with it. I mean that’s very very affirming and it was a core part of my ego. Hey I told you I was going to be transparent and vulnerable here. But when the business didn’t work if I was going to be tying my identity and my super coolness with that business when the business didn’t work who was I. My confidence took such a serious serious blow. And I’m a very very persistent resilient person so I kept on going but if I didn’t have so much ego and identity attached to that I would have been able to be detached and make wise decisions. So what lessons did I learn from that. Now with my business. Sure it’s a it’s a personal brand so I am still very associated with it. But I nailed it my system my models are the star. That’s why this is Romance Your Tribe not Janet Beckers because it is my Romance Your Tribe model that is get success for people. I stand back and treat it like an experiment. I mean truly it is still very much a core part of who I am. But the business success or failure is not my success or failure not my self worth. If something doesn’t work well it means that I can look at it dispassionately and see why and change it.
You know you may not realise that for example my cool cats video Academy which has been responsible for helping hundreds of people to be able to create weight you know great videos get confident you know it’s a successful program. When I first launched it zero sales but because I could look up as an experiment and dispassionately I was then able to see what went wrong with the marketing tweak it and then it took off. So you can’t do that if you’ve got so much of your ego that you’re just going to go hide underneath the doona because it’s all about you. So my question to you is how much are you tying your self-worth to your business how much of your ego is associated with saying what it is that you do in your business. Because this is going to make it very very difficult for you to make the tough decisions in your business and you know what if that’s happening and you put your confidence has been crushed. It’s okay it’s okay. That’s a core part that I do in my programs is all that mindset stuff because I know at what point in the progress in your business certain things are going to come up and there’s ways around that there’s ways around that. So you know be kind to yourself and step back and the last one.
Number six is, you know, that I did it all on my own. What a crazy slow way to do it. You know I did a one day workshop that was run from the local Business Enterprise Center on how do business plan. That’s the training that I had for starting up and then I just try to work out everything else myself you know about branding about going online about marketing and all of that sort of stuff no wonder I made so many mistakes. No wonder I lost hundreds of thousands of dollars of poor or poorly invested money and at least 6 years of really hard work that could have been spent on something that was making me money if I had got a mentor. If I had invested in coaching programmes or in products that were going to help me specifically learn the thing that I needed to do I would have saved myself a lot of money and a lot of time I would be a lot further ahead now. Then I would have been a lot less wise of course. But you know now. So what did I do in the second business. Right from the very beginning I identified where were the gaps in my knowledge and my skills and then I sought out who was the best person who knew how to do that and I paid them. I paid for programs to get coaching. I paid for people who could help me on very specific technical things. I paid or I did contra’s for things that I knew that I needed to help with and so you know that made the big difference because I knew that if I had to try to work it all out myself it was going to be a really really slow path and it was going to cost me more in the long run.
So now you know I spend thousands of dollars every year sometimes some years tens of thousands of dollars on mentoring on coaching in purchasing programs for me to master a specific technique on programs that I’ve got to do or mentors and I’ve got to do with my mindset and keeping me strong and with my self development I don’t see those as you know as luxuries these are absolute necessities for me to be able to move faster so but they’re all wisely chosen. It’s not just on anything. There always are things that I need but I continue to invest in that because I know the fastest way for me to get from A to B is to find somebody who’s already gone there and make the mistakes already and can show me the shortcuts. So that’s my question to you. You know are you just just see if I’ve made my notes here yet. Are you doing that are you going to workshops are you finding the people who can help you or are you trying to do it all on your own telling yourself that you know this is the cheaper way to do it. Because up until now it doesn’t it is not cheap in the long run it truly does not. Yes so they were the six made mistakes that I made that made that my first business failed and my second business took off straight away. Like within eight weeks of launching Wonderful Web Women I had already replaced my previous 12 months income. I had already had a list of thousands of people I had already sold this program that people were asking for. I had already sold memberships to something when people sign into the membership area. There was nothing there yet because I was still just testing to see if it worked right out.
You know I had won an award for best membership site in the first eight weeks I had been in I had people contacting me from around the world asking me to coach them. I didnt even know what coaching was all within eight weeks because I took those lessons from that first felde business and these six lessons and I did those changes just share with you. So it makes a huge difference. So now let’s just do a recap on what were those lessons and what can we do. So no one is test your concept starts small. Don’t waste your time using a lot of energy and a lot of money building up to big business unless you’ve actually tested that you’ve got the right business model and you’ve got the right marketing. Number to be super careful with your money don’t spend it on frivolous things that aren’t going to result in you getting sales. So when you’re starting out make sure that everything that you spend is actually going to result in you making money faster or at least testing your concept faster so you fail faster and move on. So be very very careful with your money and keep track of that market research. Absolutely do not scrimp on doing your market research and you compare it to research. You need to know that you know your market not before. Keep on asking your customers keep on not just doing the market research once continue to do that. Keep on listening. Keep adapting. Otherwise you will be left behind. If you’re not changing and adapting with your clients and just staying stagnant you’re actually falling behind.
Number five Trichet this is not an experiment or experiment that you care about but treat it as an experiment so that your ego is not so wrapped up in what your business is. You can and you are in your business if you treat it like a fun experiment and Number Six is short cut short cut the heartache and loss of money by getting mentoring and finding a community now that’s where I can help you. You can check out the free training that I’ve got you can come and join our romantical tribe free Facebook group. You can come and join me as as I’m as a paid mentor as part of my programs in the writing styles in our attract your tribe and any other programs that I have developed probably by the time you’re watching this so you know make sure that you’re going to be making the most of resources that are available to you. Whether that is short cutting through paid coaching and mentoring or whether you’re at least going to be taking part in what kind of community has been around so you can tap into other people to help you as well. And so I’ve got great resources to help you to do that. So do it just make the most of all of the opportunities that you’ve got to short cut your your success because you know what you do not have to be on your own. You don’t have to be making mistakes on your own and there are people here that are going to help you. So that’s my six reasons why my first business failed and why my second business succeeded.
And I do hope that this has helped you to be able to make sure that your business is not going to have to go through that heartache and you are going to be able to keep those goals and create that business that’s going to make a difference in your life and the lives of the people who you help create. As always please I’d love to hear from you. This has been a particularly vulnerable episode for medical to create what I would truly appreciate if you would take some time to give me some feedback and tell me a ahas that you’ve had from what I’ve shared with you today. Okay. Bye!