Failures, Flops, and When $%^& Doesn't Go Your Way

Are we the only ones that love a good failure story?

Admittedly, there’s something weirdly gratifying about reading about the flop stories of other people. Even the most successful entrepreneurs have failed, often miserably—just look to podcasts like How I Built This or The Failure Factor for plenty of examples of extraordinary people who have struggled and hit epic roadblocks, only to survive and tell the tale.

Why are we all drawn to watching others flop? Evil satisfaction? Nah! More likely—we all learn something!

It’s from the most miserable failures that we tend to learn the most lasting lessons. So, in hopes of saving you some of the hardship of facing these failures yourself (or feeling like you’re alone if you already have), here are some awesome flops that women in Hatch Tribe have shared over the past year:

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“Oh, I’ve had plenty of yoga classes that no one showed up to. I’ve done Live trainings that only Trolls decided to comment on. I’ve rearranged my class schedule to try and fit people’s needs and negate my own. What’s beautiful about all of these is that I no longer teach classes that no one shows up to. I’m simply not available for it anymore. The next Live training I do I’m going to do more awareness and marketing beforehand so people actually know it’s going to happen. And now the class schedule is built around the best times that work for me, and the right people make it work for them. All failures disguised as blessings.”

- Macy Graham, Hungryoga


“This year I lost one of my biggest clients which was previously responsible for a third of my income. When something like that happens, it's hard to not freak out and think everything else is going to crumble as well. For one of the first times in my life, I put my big girl pants on and didn't let that significant setback send me into a spiral of negative thinking. I decided to view the loss in work as an opportunity with more available hours in my schedule. I used it as a chance to really hone in on work that's more inline with my vision of what I love and want to pursue. It has already been way better for my soul, and eventually I think it will be better for my bank account too.”

- Tami Boyce, Tami Boyce Design


“Just after I first filed the paperwork for Front & Center, I signed on for a gargantuan project with a client that never fit our model from day one. I was nervous about striking out and felt the need to say yes to any opportunity that came my way. Although everyone made it out alive, that one endeavor demanded significant time and resources that didn’t align with our business and, I suspect, set us back by a month or two from building a client-base with those who were right for Front & Center’s portfolio. Lesson learned here was to stick to my guns about who we are and what we do. Stay the course, and if a prospect comes along who isn’t a fit then graciously direct them to the right place.”

- Mary Beth Henderson, Front & Center Marketing


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“Mine was having a business partner. We had different ideas about how to manage things like clients and money and services to offer. At first we thought the differences complimented each other and helped the company be stronger. After a while it caused arguments and disagreements that could not be settled, and the business was suffering and so was I. When I finally cut ties and focused on freelancing was when I finally saw success.”

- Sarah Bendorf, Design Debonaire


“The biggest "flop" for me so far was a holiday promotion I ran last year where I encouraged my most satisfied customers to buy gift certificates for friends or family members who they thought could benefit from my program. While this effort DID bring in some additional income at the end of the year, and it DID introduce my business to a wider audience... it also reminded me that equine-assisted learning requires a significant level of emotional buy-in from the participant...It was a good reminder that simply increasing sales is not the goal. Finding ways to authentically shine the unique light of my business is what will allow those who are looking for what I offer at Unbridled to find us!”

- Kim Hallin, Owner of Unbridled Equine Learning


“One of our most epic fails was a packaging misstep. In our early days, when we finally opted to move beyond craft packaging (that we stickered ourselves), we turned to digitally printed bags. The design looked amazing on the computer screen, and felt sure we nailed the rebrand. However, when the packaging landed on shelves, the white lettering didn’t pop like we had anticipated. It was a bit of a disaster, but luckily our consumers stuck with us! Today, we still tweak our packaging from time to time, but now we always get mockups before we go to print.”

- Melissa Miller, The New Primal


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“Hiring someone was a bad idea for me at the time. I hired someone and realized very quickly that I wasn't prepared to manage them. I should have known, since I worked in management before and did NOT enjoy that.  What I realized after this experience was that, instead of hiring someone, I needed to streamline/reinvent my systems and processes, as well as flip the script in my mind that had this super negative roadblock against the thing I was hiring for. One day I may need or want to hire again, but I know I'll be more prepared when I make that decision. I'm going to stay solo or outsource as much as I can before stepping into that realm again.”

- Schanen Smith, Live High Vibe


“One of the things I didn't do right the first time was taking time for myself.  I sometimes still feel like I'm in this space where I think, "why am I watching TV, or walking my dog, or actually paying attention to my significant other; I could be making money right now!?”  It's really important for yourself and your loved ones to set boundaries. I know a few Hatch Tribers have mentioned not taking your phone to bed, or turning it off after a certain time. It's hard sometimes, but it's really important.”

- Chris Majernik, Green Bag Designs


“Designing my current website was a massive undertaking that I didn't expect. I am SO happy with the end result, but it took months for me to finish it myself. I wish I had outsourced the design from the beginning! I realized that asking for help is so important. Sometimes it's worth paying someone to help save you time!”

- Abby Murphy, Abby Murphy Photo


“In the first four months of Lingle Fitness, I pushed hard to create an outdoor fitness class that had a consistent following. So much time and effort went into marketing those classes that it began to take away from the main focus of  training clients individually. I did learn that I’m the first trainer that pops up if you search “outdoor” trainer on Google (#winning), so I guess that benefited me in some way.”

- Erin Lingle, Lingle Fitness


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“I recently took a contract recruiting assignment with a company who is outside my "ideal client" profile. It's been a miserable experience that I'm working on fixing right now. I know through the work I've done with the Tribe that I have to stick to what I'm passionate about or things go badly. Lesson learned!”

- Stephanie McDonald, Hire Performance


“I tried agreeing to do people's social media for them. Oh man, I'm 36 so my idea of a good social media feed is completely different than a cool 20 something. I'm much better suited at strategy than being someone's day to day voice online.”

- Stefani Zimmerman Drake, Drake Strategies


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“Last year I invested in a media database I hoped would streamline some of our processes and allow us to be more effective for our PR clients. It wasn’t cheap and, unfortunately, turned out to be a flop. I was annoyed, but decided it was a lesson learned and I would simply forget I spent that money!”

- Holly Fisher, Fisher Creative LLC


“Sometimes I find myself REALLY inspired by a fellow teacher or mentor and try to parrot their words and teachings into my classes. It ends up feeling inauthentic and wrong coming out of my mouth. This is teaching me to honor and respect the unique qualities of others and what they have to offer, while also allowing myself to embrace my own strengths.”

- Christine Lentz, Christine Lentz Yoga


“I really flopped the year I was lured out of state by the carrot on a stick of a "free farm.”  For many reasons the farm was anything but free! I quickly learned the lesson that Charleston has an amazing, supportive community for the organic produce business, and within the year I returned to find my place in it once again.  Rita's Roots Backyard Harvest was founded shortly thereafter, so I look at that experience as a necessary (although rocky!) part of the path.”

- Rita Bachmann, Rita's Roots Backyard Harvest


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