3 Important Lessons About Product Creation...that I learned by failing!
We love a good meteoric-rise-to-success story. It’s so inspirational to hear about how everything went right. That’s the story we want for our business too!
Now, let’s be a little more honest with ourselves… that story probably came after at least one failure. And that’s probably an incredible underestimate!
If this is your first introduction to me, you’ll quickly learn that I’m here to give you the truth, even if it’s hard or a little messy. And if you’re reading this, you’re ready for a little truth about failure and what it means in your business.
First things first… you probably will fail. Talk to anyone who’s been in business for a few years, and they’ve got at least one of these stories. We just don’t talk about them very often! We should talk about them more, so I’m going to let you in on one of my failures. It’s one that taught me a lot!
A couple years ago, I had an incredible idea for a membership that would help TpT sellers. I thought I saw a need, and it was something I was so incredibly passionate about. So, for a few months I ran a Resource Templates Membership. I did everything I could to get it right and make it full of value for the members. But in the end… it wasn’t the right thing for me, my business or even the people who initially enrolled. So, I closed it down.
That makes it a failure, right?
Well… as an ongoing membership, yes it was a failure. It did serve those who signed up, but it wasn’t as eagerly and widely received as I expected.
But a failure as a part of my business journey? I wouldn’t go that far.
As we already said, every business should and will have some things that fail. Failure can be the best way to learn in your business!
When I closed my membership down, I took some time to really reflect on it, and now I can say just having the experience to try it and learn from it was super beneficial from a business standpoint.
Here’s what I learned:
Start by testing your idea!
It doesn’t guarantee success, but it will help you develop ideas and learn things that might be even better ideas. This goes for completely new lines of resources, courses, and even other revenue streams.
Since our ideas always sound good in our head, having a way to get real-life feedback is so important. Your audience or a good group of biz friends are both great resources for testing your ideas.
Speaking directly to your audience will help you learn what will work well for them, and what might not. If you want a few people to run a test of any part of an idea, you should do that as well. People love to be beta testers for courses and resources! Sometimes people even get excited about helping to develop something.
I tested my membership idea by surveying my audience on Instagram and in my Facebook group to see what they thought they needed in their business. I put out general feelers to see if people would be interested in regularly receiving templates, and there was real interest. The idea was definitely sound.
When you are as confident as you can be, and that can be a whole lot less than 100%... I can almost guarantee it will be! But, when you’ve put in enough research to have found a couple adjustments to match your audience, it’s time to put that idea to the real test… develop and launch it!
It was only after launching my membership that it became obvious that there was actually a little more that people wanted besides just templates. Having a taste of some great templates, most people ALSO wanted instruction and support. And that’s exactly what my course- Thriving Teacher Academy- offers. And ultimately, all the people who joined the templates membership ended up joining the course. So, my membership actually served as an excellent test for my course!
Remember the value of being honest, graceful and authentic.
Especially when you have to make a change, including closing down a program, you can help retain or increase trust between you and your audience by communicating with honesty, grace and authenticity. Being too abrupt, or hiding things out of embarrassment or fear can drive people away.
People generally like to be included in what is going on, rather than blindsided. So, letting people know that a change or end is coming, and enough of the details, lets your audience, customers and members know their needs are considered and valued. Even if the announcement itself is a disappointment, knowing they have been considered and are valued can help increase the trust you’ve already built.
One thing that my audience knew once I was closing the membership was that they were going to gain so much from being part of Thriving Teacher Academy. In addition to the templates that they already knew were valuable, they would also have access to support, guidance, and so much more. Closing the membership actually meant I could serve them better, and they knew that I was being true with my intentions.
Letting my audience know that the membership was closing, and what their options were going forward showed that I was looking out for them just as much as for my business.
Sometimes things really do change for the better. While having to change a part of your business may be hard, doing it with honesty, grace and authenticity is a chance to not only keep but even build that trust with your audience. And sometimes that’s even more valuable than an immediate sale.
Don’t be AFRAID of failure!
This is the biggest lesson! It’s so easy to say, and often so hard to do. So, if you struggle with this, then you are completely normal and on the right track.
You’ve probably heard the Einstein quote-
“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that something won't work.”
I certainly hope that you don’t have to try 10,000 ideas, or even 1,000, but you get the idea! You have to try and find some of the things that don’t work as you build your store.
Often teacherpreneurs really struggle when they have ideas they think will absolutely work, but then the sales don’t reflect that. I’m so glad when I see my students TRY their ideas, regardless of the outcomes. You can’t let a fear of failure stop you from pursuing those dreams.
Failures don’t make you an imposter! This is one of the things some of us struggle with as well. We’re afraid to be “found out” as not knowing enough, or not having enough experience. This can make it harder try again when you finally get up the courage to do something, and it doesn’t work out. Let me just say… you actually deserve a “Congratulations!” You worked through that imposter syndrome to try something. That is amazing.
And you can do it again!
When you try an idea, and it doesn’t work the way you expected it to, just know that it can take some time to gain that motivation and momentum back. And that’s ok. One thing that helped me so much in that area, and I know will help you, is having people by your side through the ups and downs, and who you know will support your ideas through the whole process. Those people are so incredibly valuable!
Having failures in your business can help you know what to move on to next. You know that there is more you can provide, and it makes things that much more worth it when they do actually work!
What ideas have you been mulling over? With a little encouragement and maybe some tweaking, it just might be the best thing you can try next.
Come share those ideas and dreams in the Teacher Instagram Boss Facebook group. I love how supportive that group is, and it could be the first place to start validating your idea.