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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Paul Lawrence

Paul Lawrence is an entrepreneur who has made his living starting and running a series of profitable businesses. One day while cleaning his mother's pool for a few extra bucks, it dawned on Paul that he could perhaps start his own pool cleaning business. He carefully employed all the marketing techniques that he had learned in school and designed his first flyer. Immediately the business took off and within a week, Paul had his own little business. He quickly expanded, hired employees and then eventually sold it some relatives who made well over $250,000 in the next year before they eventually sold it for a six figure profit. After finishing college, Paul did a brief stint in a management program for a national rental company, but he quickly realized that he was much happier running his own show. Paul left the rental company and launched one of the most financially successful independent ballroom dance instruction companies in the state of Florida where he received quite a bit of media attention for his revolutionary business practices that included front page features in the Life Style section of the Sun Sentinel, features in the Miami Herald, Boca News, Center Stage Entertainment and many others. With that business running profitably, Paul started several other businesses either individually or as partnerships that included a million dollar video production company, a mortgage brokerage, a home maintenance business, several mail order companies, a business consulting service among others.With a love of movies, Paul began to work at breaking into Hollywood as a screenwriter where he's beaten the odds by becoming a produced writer. He is a credited writer for the film CRUEL WORLD, starring Jaime Presley and Eddie Furlong and has signed a development deal for a national television series with one of the world's largest producers of television and films among his half a dozen sales and options of movie scripts he wrote. Paul is the creator of the Quick & Easy Microbusiness program.