We all feel uplifted by a good comeback story. Rocky 3, which follows the title character’s motivational victory against the man who stole his title—Clubber Lang (Mr. T)–is a lot of people’s favorite installment in the series. Like any other part of life, business is full of slip-ups, set-backs, and tragic falls. But if there’s anything good about these hurdles, it’s that they make your final success so much more rewarding. If you happen to be going through rough times with your business, you can take comfort knowing there are real people out there who have been where you are and made it out alive. These stories about brushing yourself off and getting back to business are ones every entrepreneur should know.
Tom Ewer (Leaving Work Behind)
If Tom’s story teaches us anything, it’s that success doesn’t necessarily come in the way we imagine it; we have to open to new possibilities as they present themselves. Tom, one of the web’s most well-known freelance writers and coaches, got his start when he decided to finally pursue his entrepreneurial tendencies, leaving behind a well-paying corporate job. Early on, Tom decided the internet was the best place to start a side business on a budget. After considering ideas like selling stuff on Ebay, he determined to create passive income streams with niche sites in the vein of Pat Flynn. Unfortunately, the niche sites didn’t take off as hoped. After his main site was hit by a Google penalty, Tom decided to apply for freelance writing jobs on the Problogger job boards to make some extra cash until his niche sites took off. However, as more and more freelance clients started hiring him, Tom changed his game plan from passive income building to blogging.
Tom has become such an authority on freelance blogging that he now offers a blog mentorship program and his own freelance blogging job board. It seems that the universe often has a better understanding of what we need than we do ourselves. When a door closes, be willing to step full-stride into the new ones that open up.
As an entrepreneur, you’re going to lose sometimes. Actually, you’ll probably lose a lot of times. But the key is to cut your losses, learn from your mistakes, and use that experience to move on to bigger success. That’s what Neil Patel’s learned throughout his incredibly eclectic career. Today, Neil is known as one of the biggest names in online marketing. His QuickSpout blog is the go-to place for content marketing and SEO strategies that work. He’s the founder of two massively successful web analytics companies: Crazy Egg and Kiss Metrics. Before he settled on the analytics software model, however, Neil went through several stages of hit-and-miss with businesses that costs him millions.
Neil’s first major venture in high school (his early smaller endeavors included selling car parts and cable black boxes) was starting a job board styled after Monster.com. He hired internet marketing companies to promote the site, but they took all his money without giving results. Once Neil took over marketing himself and became good at it, the site started to grow. However, the project ultimately failed because the site wasn’t made to receive credit card transactions.
Things picked up, however, when Neil used his newfound knowledge of SEO to give a presentation about search engines in a public speaking college class. One of his classmates offered him a consulting gig with his company, and Neil negotiated a contract of $3,500 a month. Thereafter, Neil and his future brother-in-law started an internet marketing consulting firm that made them millions.
Since they didn’t enjoy consulting, however, the pair decided to move into software. Their first creation, Crazy Egg, ultimately became a million-dollar company, although it took a few years to become profitable. Upon seeing the success of Crazy Egg, Neil tried several other software ideas, including an advertising platform for podcasts (like Google Analytics for podcasts). Meanwhile, he invested his money in different enterprises, including a million bucks in a hosting company.
Unfortunately, the podcast idea and a lot of the investments (including the million-dollar one) went nowhere. But Neil used his experience to come up with a simple, effective analytics solution for businesses—Kiss Metrics. Neil has since been growing both Crazy Egg and Kiss Metrics to amass a a huge fortune and build one of the internet’s strongest personal brands.
Remember, a loss isn’t permanent unless you let it be. Learn from setbacks to continually improve.
Chad Mureta’s story of becoming an app millionaire teaches how important it is to take risks, traveling into the unknown where success lies. Chad was doing well in the real estate business when he suffered a serious car accident that left him with expensive bills to pay. The problem was the accident also left him physically unable to do his job. After drawing inspiration from Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Workweek, Chad decided to take a huge risk by getting into app development, a field that fascinated him but in which he had no experience.
Chad sketched out a number of ideas for apps in a notebook and outsourced his first—Fingerprint Security-Pro, an app that tricks people into thinking your phone has a fingerprint reader—to a developer for $1,200. The app was a hit and ended up making more than $500,000 before Chad sold it. Chad has since made over 46 apps, sold three app companies, and currently runs App Empire, which teaches others how to make money by breaking into the app market. Chad built an empire worth millions without even knowing how to code, and without ever having used an app prior to his accident. It goes to show that you should never limit your abilities or shy away from trying out new ventures. The risk may be big, but the potential payoff is even bigger.
When it comes to Facebook Marketing, no one stands out more than Jon Loomer. A lot of us hold ourselves back from pushing the pedal on our own ventures because we’re afraid of losing the security that comes with employment. From Jon’s experience, we learn to trust in our abilities, knowledge, and capacity for being successful. Jon’s work ethic and propensity for following his passions led him to a number of enviable jobs prior to going on his own. After writing for a big fantasy sports site and starting his own, Jon received an offer to work on fantasy games at the NBA.
After an important period of learning and innovation there (Jon pioneered the use of Facebook apps and groups), Jon worked with the American Cancer Society. Unfortunately, he was hit in a round of layoffs. Rather than pursuing employment elsewhere (he could certainly have landed a good job with his background), Jon started his own Facebook consulting and tutorial business at Jon Loomer Digital. He’s become one of the most important voices on the web in the field of Facebook marketing.
As humans, we have a tendency to stick to what’s safe and secure rather than taking risks in exchange for bigger rewards. But life will often oblige us to make the hard decisions. It’s best to go with it without resisting.
Barry’s success with Dlyte.com—a gift card company that gives users redeemable points—proves that no hurdle is too big. At age 55, Barry was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a condition that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Although he’s slowly recovered use of his body, GBS doesn’t allow him to return to his previous lifestyle. But Barry didn’t give up—he just came up with a business that doesn’t require him to move around. Thus Dlyte.com was born. It’s a place where you buy gift cards for the brands of your choice. The benefit of getting them online through Dlyte is that you get points which you can put towards products and services of your choice. For instance, you can use Dlyte points to cover the costs of Netflix or Amazon Prime.
A lot of people throw in the towel when hit with hurdles that are nowhere near as big as Barry’s. If you want something bad enough, you can make it happen.