Learn From My Mistakes, and How to Overcome Your Biz Failures
As a young entrepreneur, I entered the business realm knowing that I would fail along the way. I knew that I would drop the ball somewhere. Everyone always tries to give you advice on how to recover, but you never know until the situation arises. Everyone tells you “oh, everyone goes through this, it is how you succeed one day!” What they don’t tell you… how much it actually breaks you down.
Friends, I am never one to shy away from the truth. I have had my mess ups, some small, and some big. It happens. But, the hard part? I am SUCH a people pleaser, and it literally tears me down to know that someone is not happy with me. It depletes my energy to the point where I will lie in bed all day.
There was one time in particular, that I am hoping you can relate to, that I lacked communication. I want to provide you with the “solution” I came up with. I actually lost out on a great customer. She was a first hand referral from someone REALLY important, who put their reputation on the line for me.
So, I currently share a studio with a makeup artist, and her friend’s mother was looking for updated head shots. I thought, great! I would love to add this work to my portfolio, and a word of mouth referral, from a friend, is the strongest lead that I know of. At the time, I was going through a lot personally, and I was planning my wedding. That is not an excuse for anything, but it gives you insight on to why my mistake happened.
So, the makeup artist’s friend filled out my inquiry form, and I got her rolling along in my booking process. If you know me, I am never one to shy away from communication. Most of the time you can’t get me to shut up! But for some reason, I was so bogged down with stress and life, that my communication moved at a snail's pace.
I would go days without responding to her emails. I felt like a terrible person, but I also thought, hey, she isn’t going anywhere, this was such a strong lead. A few weeks went by, and I still didn’t have her completely booked, I know, really terrible management on my part. I then received a very short email:
“... We have booked another photographer.”
I was mortified, and I immediately broke down, and felt a pit in my stomach. I thought to myself, “what have I done?”
Listen, we are humans, and we all make mistakes. In my life, I have found that the best recovery is admission. I immediately emailed her back with my sincerest apology, and I owned up to the lack of communication.
Did I ever hear from her again? No. Do I ever expect to hear from her again? No.
The biggest thing to take away from my experience is to own up to your mistakes. Once I did so, I felt the pit in my stomach go away. I know I will never be able to resolve the amount of disservice I offered to this customer. I will never be able to fix that. What I can do is learn from the situation and admit to my faults as best I can.