My First Online Project Failed Hard: Here’s What I Learned

failure

Between leaving University and starting up as a freelance blogger, I tried my hand at eCommerce. And I failed. Hard.

Let me cast you back to 2011.

I was making my transition from University to full-time work, but I had already decided that the Internet was where I wanted to earn my living in the long run. I knew that I wanted to employ the Internet, I just didn’t know how.

Before I ever considered blogging, it was selling which caught my eye.

I had heard that the eCommerce industry was booming, and I wanted a slice of the digital pie. So I set up “KI Electronics” — a name so painfully unimaginative that it’s hard to believe I spent any time coming up with it (although I shamefully did).

3 Valuable Lessons From a Massive Fail

My products included Android Tablet PCs, Solar-powered gadgets and computer accessories. I wasn’t offering anything interesting, and my branding only added to the mediocrity.

To cut a long story short, I spent a lot of time and a lot of money on KI Electronics, which is now long gone. It was a completely failed venture, for sure, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t learn some truly valuable lessons from it. ~

Here they all are.

1. Know When To Quit

Quitting isn’t always a bad thing. Good decision makers quit at the right time, bad decision makers delay quitting out of pride.

Ironically, I quit University quickly, intentionally getting myself out of a messy situation before it was too late (or too costly). Yet despite KI Electronics’ slow start and shaky foundations, I allowed myself to blindly persist.

I invested far too much time and far too much money, all because I was too stubborn to quit. I should have ended it sooner and moved on to my next venture. Contrary to popular belief, there’s no shame in that.

2. Research, Research, Research, THEN Execute

All it took was some positive vibes from the world of eCommerce for me to dive right in like a fool.

Also, I only decided to sell electronics because I liked gadgets and I knew I could source the products. Did I do any market research? Did I assess the need for yet another consumer electronics website? You’re damn right I didn’t. And that’s why I failed.

I acted first, and researched last. As I built my website and my brand, I had to subconsciously make my research fit my business, instead of the other way round. A fatal mistake.

3. Don’t Belittle a Failure

Perhaps writing this very post taught me this lesson more so than KI Electronics. Nonetheless, it’s an important one.

There comes a point where you need to stop beating yourself up. Failure happens. If you haven’t failed at something yet, don’t sweat it. It’s coming.

The vital thing is to learn from failures as they inevitably happen. It’s important to recognise the blessings from within the loss. Think that’s a load of crap? Read on.

KI Electronics’ third lesson for me is evident. The silver lining doesn’t even need to be searched for.

With KI Electronics, I got my first taste of building my own website with a content management system. Now, I write articles and cover conferences for CMS Critic, and I have also gone on to co-found Website Builders Critic as a result.

Building KI Electronics was one of the main reasons I felt confident enough to even apply for the role at CMS Critic in the first place. Without it, I may well have scrolled past the job listing. It’s crazy to think about, really.

So to conclude; don’t just jump on a booming bandwagon with a bad idea, know when to give up, and never, ever, ever choose a project name as bad as KI Electronics.

Comments

  1. Inspiring story Kaya :). The true beauty of failure is the valuable experience that is gained.

  2. Nice 🙂 short and valuable. Interesting thing is that you rarely can help others avoid these mistakes. They don’t listen until they do these mistakes themselves.

  3. Interesting article. Thanks for sharing your experience, especially a negative one 🙂

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