…When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit.
I was first hit by the failure bus a few years back–thus I made the decision to close the doors on my first big entrepreneurial venture: Ragtube.com, an Indie music video site I created at my kitchen table.
In the end, the decision to cut my losses and close shop was made in a heartbeat. The light bulb finally went off in my head: It had to be done. Although the final decision to pull the plug came quickly, it was precipitated by months of struggling, massive server interruption, and analyzing the many factors that were just plain out of my control.
When the light bulb finally triggered, I cryed. I made up this huge lie, which I told to anyone that would ask about Ragtube, but in the end, I did not have the capital, nor technical chops to keep her running. I shut my computer, turned off the lamp, and freakin cried.
While there are many factors that contributed to Ragtube’s ultimate demise, I want to focus on the factors that truly helped me understand that it was time to walk away.
Missing the mark on volume projections. After almost 3 years in business, I wasn’t close to hitting my initial projections for daily traffic. It was easy at the beginning to blame the miscalculations on the lack of awareness on the net. I believed that even if my marketing was off, if I just adjusted my variable costs to match, I could get the exposure and be a household name.
Then finally, it was time to admit my business model/plan/ideal were so far off, it was nearly impossible to over look them anymore. I really don’t want to get into everything that went wrong because that’s not why I wrote this. I wrote this as a friend… a distant friend that wants to be honest with you.
When your expenses begin to exceed revenue, [While its normal for a newly launched business to have expenses outpace sales, a business can’t surive forever if there is no profit.] you must be honest with yourself, and ask the question: Am I throwing money away?
Another reality I discovered was after months and months of cutting costs and brainstorming marketing ideas to bring in more traffic, it was hard to feel motivated. Walking into work knowing the money is almost gone became painful–like I was starting to realize soon and very soon I may not have a place of employment. Partner meetings became stressful, as I racked my brains for ideas that might save a business I had grown to love so much. Hope was a wave we could ride only for so long.
That said, saying goodbye to the business, the people and physical location was very difficult. But like the sting that remains after a messy breakup, eventually the pain dissipates. Each time you tell the story, share what you’ve done and discover and rediscover how much you’ve learned, it becomes more clear that failure really isn’t the right word at all. Closure, maybe.
The doors are closed, but the lessons learned and experiences gained are forever ingrained. That is entrepreneurship and that can never be seen as failure.
Ok like I always write… hope you enjoyed the read, and if you feel I plagiarized some of the material, I probably did.
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