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Early to rise

The letter was from the publisher of a magazine where I’d just placed an ad for an instructional ballroom dance video I’d produced. He informed me that he was pulling my ad. Why? After watching the video, he felt that the quality wasn’t good enough for his subscribers.

This was quite a blow to me. The Internet hadn’t yet developed into the marketplace it is today, and this magazine was the only one that catered to readers interested in ballroom dancing.

I understood why the publisher had a problem with my video. At that time, I had virtually no capital, so I’d videotaped it on my home camcorder and edited it with my VCR. Technologically speaking, it was weak. Still, I believed that people who bought it wouldn’t mind since the content itself was so good.

My video business was temporarily kaput.

Fortunately, I didn’t give up on the idea of selling dance videos. After improving my recording techniques and testing several marketing channels, I ultimately sold many thousands of dollars’ worth. I then expanded into producing other types of instructional videos that have generated hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Steve – an old friend of mine – came out of the army with a few bucks and decided to go into the vending machine business. He bought a couple of machines from a slick company that grossly overcharged him and gave him poor locations. Like me, his ignorance of the industry he was getting into led him to make a big mistake. Unlike me, Steve panicked, sold his machines at a big loss, and never tried to get another business started.

Listen, there is a good chance that you’ll stumble a few times with any new venture. But, if you keep picking yourself up, wiping yourself off, and learning from your mistakes, you will achieve success.

Michael Masterson calls this the Principle of Accelerated Failure. “To develop any complex skill,” says Michael, “you must be willing to make mistakes and endure failures. The faster you can make those mistakes and suffer those failures, the quicker you will master the skill.”

So get out there and fail. Learn from your mistakes. And don’t give up.

[Ed. Note: Paul Lawrence is a successful small-business entrepreneur who has started over 12 profitable enterprises. For more information on his personal achievement program, Dare to Live Your Dreams, click here.]

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