"Entrepreneurship is like an iceberg."
The quote above might sound like the usual motivational cliché, but in reality, it's probably the most appropriate analogy of the entire concept of business success. Only 10% of an iceberg can be seen above the water surface – shiny, glittery, and simply perfect. Below, the rest of the bulk floats unseen – huge, scary, and remarkably frightening.
A similar trend is seen with most successful entrepreneurs and businesspersons. On the surface, we see only the wealth, the glory, the awards, the seven-figure thriving companies, and of course, the glamour of success. No one ever looks beyond the surface to spot all the failed ventures, the losses on investment, thousands of hours of hard work poured into startups, disappointments, mental breakdowns, financial difficulties, emotional struggles, and so on.
People only see the results and not the process, and this is why aspiring entrepreneurs are often knocked off balance when the going gets too tough. They admire successful "mentors" and "role models" without absorbing every step of their journey. These are realities that you can't exactly sit in a classroom and learn in any business program. These programs may teach you to "fail-proof" your ventures in paper-practical ways, but in the real world, it's a whole other version of an unpredictable game.
Accepting failure as the first step to success
Only the strongest and most determined people can delve into a new venture and entertain the remote possibility that it could all go south at any time. Most people just prefer to wish failure away and act like it's one of these things that "happens to other people". This mental conditioning has progressively turned the topic of failure into an unnecessarily difficult conversation.
According to Nick Rogers, an American entrepreneur and social media expert, dealing with failures in entrepreneurship is depends heavily on mindset and perception. Rogers, 21, is the CEO of Pvsted Media (pronounced "posted"), a successful seven-figure Instagram growth company. Before Rogers built his first successful page in 2018, he'd been trying his hands-on building drop-shipping websites for e-commerce. After seven failed attempts at launching a site, Rogers decided to take a step back and recount his decisions.
"I believe the fundamental reason I failed was that I didn't know anything and I was trying to do too many things at once," Rogers said. "With drop-shipping, not only do you need to know how to design a store, but you need to know how to build social media accounts, sell a product, drive traffic, run paid ads, etc… I was focusing on all these different things at once, but if I had focused on one skill instead, I would have been successful almost immediately."
A common difference between successful and failed entrepreneurs is often found in what they do with upsetting disappointments. While most people would take one or two hard blows and give up on business entirely, others would take the time to retreat, regroup, rethink, and plan the next course of action. In failure, there are always remarkable lessons to be learned – lessons so valuable that the entire situation starts to look like the first step to success.
For Rogers, this realization positively changed his mindset and motivated him to try another angle.
"I only view those moments as short-term disappointments," he said. "You don't really know if something is positive or negative until further into the future. The outcome of those failed drop-shipping stores could have been incredibly negative if I had given up and stopped trying because I probably wouldn't be in business today. Instead, I have a positive spin on things, because those failures allowed me to learn, improve, and change my strategy in a way that allowed me to start winning massively!"
Rogers built his first Instagram page, Business Driven Dream, in 2018 and within four months, he amassed 100,000 organic followers. Today, as this initial page has grown to over 500,000 followers, Rogers has accumulated over 2 million followers across Instagram and a network of over 50 million connections across social media. Pvsted Media now serves as the parent company, working with brands to scale Instagram pages up to 100K followers within a year and help clients rake in $250,000 in monthly revenue.
Rogers still hopes to diversify into e-commerce in the future. However, with a renewed mindset, he's essentially achieved the goal of creating that first drop-shipping website.
"The main goal overall had been to build an online income source – it didn't matter what niche it came from," he said. "I'm not exactly doing what I started with, but the online income source has been built and it is growing so I'd say things are going very well!"
Entrepreneurship is an entire world on its own with no laid-down rules and never any solid expected outcomes. There will be great times and disappointing seasons, excellent ideas and poor investments, but essentially, you must try to take calculated risks, hoping for the best while preparing for the worst. It never hurts to be mentally prepared.