An open letter to my fellow entrepreneurs:

In life failure is inevitable. Sure it hurts, it’s made fun of, and it’s pushed to the side because no one really wants to hear about failures only the success stories.

But it’s unavoidable…especially for the entrepreneur.  It’s no secret that half of all new businesses have failed before they reach their fifth year. And though the numbers do vary, the truth of the matter is, many entrepreneurs do not realize their dream.

But whether you believe it or not, failure is actually a good thing when used correctly. When I feel a little down about one of my ventures, I like to recall this famous quote by Helen Keller:

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

If you look at the definition of the word entrepreneur it’s clear that risk and new ideas are at the core of its meaning. The word “entrepreneur” is derived from an old French word “entreprendre” which means “undertake.” So an entrepreneur is someone who undertakes some venture, enterprise, or idea and assumes responsibility for the outcome.  So in reality, a true entrepreneur is NOT solely in the business field.

An entrepreneur can be…

  • An author wanting to change the world
  • A speaker wanting to make a difference
  • A musician working to be famous
  • An artist striving to be known
  • A leader wanting to take an organization from good to great
  • An athlete yearning for greatness
  • Or a college dropout wanting to become a business mogul

The main criteria is this: taking the path of MOST resistance and assuming responsibility for the outcome

But no matter how great the entrepreneur…they’ve had failures. In fact, what makes them “great” is that they’ve failed MORE times than everyone else!

So here’s a list of some of the great “failures” the world has ever seen:

  • R. H. Macy failed seven times before his NY store caught on
  • Michael Jordan failed more than he succeeded, lost over 3000 games, missed over 9000 shots at goal, and 26 times he missed the winning shot
  • Henry Ford filed for bankruptcy with his first company – Detroit Automobile Company
  • Lady GaGa had doors slammed in her face, DJ’s who didn’t want to play her records, music execs who thought she was nuts, and she was signed to Def Jam Records but then was dropped after 3 months…before she sold more than 15 million albums, 51 million singles worldwide and became one of Forbes most powerful celebrities.

In closing, I question the role education has in creating entrepreneurs… but I can never question the role the “school of hard knocks” has made in my life.  I believe with all my heart that an entrepreneur is someone who has an innate ability to dream and do!  I urge you to keep dreaming and keep doing!