This episode contains one of my favorite topics when it comes to developing a business or product. It might seem challenging at first to channel frustration and failure into a money-making adventure. Still, I can assure you that if you pay close attention, you will see how these otherwise annoying situations are a gift in disguise.
I think the quickest and easiest way to illustrate this lesson is through a short story. My first language is Spanish, and although my grandmother read a lot to me, the books that I enjoyed were not in English. So many years later, when I discovered Aesop’s Fables as an adult, I was just floored! I love these witty stories because they’re short and sweet. They illustrate a lesson in a way that lets you visualize the situation that the characters are facing. As a bonus, I’ve found that many of the stories and morals can be applied to daily everyday life! They kind of remind me of the timeless lessons that are illustrated throughout the book of Proverbs. This short four-sentence story will not only encourage you, but you’ll see how this concept is also at the core of many success stories.
The Crow and the Pitcher-By Aesop
A CROW, perishing with thirst, saw a pitcher, and, hoping to find water, flew to it with great delight. When he reached it, he discovered to his grief that it contained so little water that he could not possibly get at it. He tried everything he could think of to reach the water, but all his efforts were in vain. At last, he collected as many stones as he could carry and dropped them one by one with his beak into the pitcher, until he brought the water within his reach, and thus saved his life.
The Moral: Necessity is the mother of invention.
Make the Shift
It’s been over 28 years since I first read the crow and the pitcher. This story serves as a reminder that almost any situation has a solution if you’re only willing to think outside the box. Even if you’re not using this lesson to create a product or business, the shift from saying I can’t do this to asking yourself, “how can I do this?” will instantly give you the power to start searching for a solution. It’s in that state of action that you’ll discover your big light bulb moment!
Okay, let’s look back at the last month’s episodes and consider the valuable lesson that I’ll name…Well, this is frustrating, but I’m sure I’m not alone. This month we heard from Eden in episode 15, where she discussed the lack of products and attention that women face after they give birth. This frustration led Eden, Mia, and Aubry to develop products that are changing the way that women experience their fourth trimester. If you haven’t had the chance to listen to this episode, I highly recommend going back to hear the story of how and why Nyssa and Fourthwear were born. This trio of amazing women not only saw the need to fix a problem with products, but they also created a podcast, The Unmentionables. By starting that dialog, they’re able to serve their target audience better. When you’re able to have an honest conversation about the struggle that you experience, you might find that you’re not alone in your frustration. This is a golden opportunity to take action. Start to brainstorm the possible ways that your frustrating situation could have been better. What missing product or service would have taken your experience from bad to great?
Not every frustration is created equal. In episode 16, Megan discussed her vision for the ideal bridal registry, much like other success stories, the type and quality of platform that she wanted to see in the market did not exist. It was that void that prompted Megan to transform her disappointment into creating a solution. The idea has blossomed into a place that serves two huge demographics. She not only provides a unique experience for anyone registering or purchasing handmade houseware items, but she also created a site that features talented artists. I think of the many times when I’ve heard of or have experienced frustration in not finding what I need on the world wide web. These moments of frustration can serve as an opportunity to launch a site, to gather resources for your ideal market, and to fill a need. Don’t dismiss your networking abilities. Creating a platform for a specific niche and bringing your ideal clients to that platform is just a large scale networking party. We all have a special gift. Some people teach the masses, others like to gather everything from people to resources, and some love to create. Knowing what your gift is and creating an innovative space or product is what’ll make your business truly unique.
Let me illustrate a story that features both frustration and failure. A few years ago, I bought my first Dyson and now, I’m a huge Dyson fan! Back when this vacuum was just an idea, the market was saturated with vacuum cleaners, yet Sir James Dyson decided that the world had not yet seen the best vacuum. On a mission to make a vacuum that didn’t lose suction, he invented a dual cyclone vacuum cleaner and, as a result, a multi-billion dollar company. I love this story for so many reasons. For starters, it goes to show that the market is never too saturated if you’re improving on the many crumby offers that are available. If you’re offering a premium product, don’t shy away from pricing it correctly. A Dyson vacuum cleaner is not cheap, but it’s priced accordingly since it’s superior to other products. And lastly, It took Dyson 15 years of creating his ideal product and over 5,126 versions before he launched. In an interview with entrepreneur.com, writer Nadia Goodman asked Sir James Dyson about failure, and he said, “Failure is interesting — it’s part of making progress. You never learn from success, but you do learn from failure. (When I created the Dual Cyclone vacuum) I started out with a simple idea, and by the end, it got more audacious and interesting. I got to a place I never could have imagined because I learned what worked and didn’t work.”
Si Se Puede! (Yes You Can!)
Imagine if you took your idea and gave it half that number of tries and half that number of years! I can guarantee that you would find success in discovering what works, what doesn’t, and, more importantly, the grit and determination to succeed. Failure is one of those things that is soooo easy to dread but will certainly teach you the quickest lesson. Each great invention started with just an idea, and most great inventions were created by people that didn’t get a formal education in that particular invention. It should be expected that trial and error is just part of the process. Even if you have a formal education in the field that you are creating in, it is human to make mistakes. After all, you’re creating something that has not been out in the world before. You’re creating not just the product, but you’re also writing the manual. It’s part of the learning process and an essential part of your story. Your tale of perseverance might someday encourage another young creator to keep on going.
If you’re struggling to find your passion or haven’t yet discovered what your small business idea is, try to pay attention to the things that are both frustrating or disappointing to you. Could you create or change something in that area? Sit back and think of some of your favorite products. Do a little research and try to find what it was that sparked the inspiration to create that item.
My daily uniform these days includes the ever so popular yoga pants. Although I call it a uniform, I honestly do yoga in them every day. Can you guess why I’m telling you any of this? It just so happens that two years ago, I discovered a pair of yoga pants that had a pocket sewn into the outer thigh area perfect for my cell phone. I was completely beside myself when I found them. They’re sewn in a way that is flattering, and they’re functional ultra-functional too. Now imagine that. In a field that seems extremely supersaturated, someone decided that the average yoga pants could use a facelift. Although I don’t know the origin of why someone created yoga pants with a pocket, it’s not hard to imagine the reason. I wear these pants when I go for a jog or walk, and it sure beats wearing your phone in an armband. All this to say that I believe we are all uniquely different in our creation but similar in our needs. I’m confident that your unique gifts were collectively combined in you for a reason. I believe that reason was for you to create your signature stamp in this life. I also know that if you’re experiencing frustration, someone else is too. Let frustration guide your next idea, and allow failure to teach you the way. I can’t wait to see what amazing ideas you come up with!
I love that these lessons apply to both business and everyday life! I can’t wait to hear from you whether it’s in the reviews, comments in the show notes, or social media…I’d love to hear what you’re up to. It’s now super easy to submit your business to be featured through THIS LINK. And don’t forget that if you’d like to be reminded of each new episode, just hit the subscribe button. As always, I also post these episodes on the Handmade CEO FB page.
I can’t wait to share next month’s interviews with you. I had the chance to interview experts in the fields of video, marketing, and coaching! I’m sure you’ll find a tip or two to take your business to the next level. See you next time!
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