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Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt like a failure before.

(Yes, even if you’re alone at your computer right now…put ’em up).

You are so not alone.  I hope you know that already.

Let me tell you my story: when I introduced DeskGlam to the social media world about 3 months ago, I had lots of ideas about DeskGlam…and so did the world!  The initial reception was great!  I was set on what I wanted to do and how excited I was (still am!) to make this a reality.  I set my cost, found the perfect pink boxes and set out to work sourcing creativepreneurs to work with.

We ran into a few hiccups in our sourcing process, which meant that the bloggers who had requested boxes in advance of our official launch, received a ‘PR’ box that included items different than our official May DeskGlam box because we were waiting on additional stock to come in.  This was a mistake.

Then we sold out (first ‘literally’…then ‘figuratively’).  ‘Literally’, we sold more than every single box in our shop and I was totally unprepared for that!  Because of this, we had to change vendors at the last minute, sourcing similar products from high-speed, yet lower-quality vendors, which brought down the overall quality and impact that I really wanted the first DeskGlam box to have, and what many of our subscribers had been expecting.  While the items in the box did exceed the value of our $24.99 DeskGlam Box, I know a lot of our subscribers did not feel that way (especially when you add in the shipping on top of it. Ouch.)

So I want to take this opportunity, right here right now, to apologize to our amazing subscribers who feel like their first DeskGlam box was not the amazing subscription box they were hoping for.  We failed and I am truly and deeply sorry.  And I really appreciate you giving me the opportunity to fail.

Now, the DeskGlam story could end here…but the great thing about failure is that it teaches us that we can do better. Succeeding in anything means constantly trying new things.  You have to be willing to fail.  And we are willing to fail…but only so that we can become stronger from it, for you.

When you’re a startup and growing fast, it’s hard to get everything right (trust me, that’s not an excuse…that’s reality) – and we definitely did not get everything right.  But through that experience, I learned some lessons about failure, a few of those lessons I’m sharing below because learning how to deal with failing, is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and for your business.

1. Be honest about your failures

If you can’t tell, I’m using our first DeskGlam Box as the example here.  The whole point of this post is to be extremely transparent and honest about the areas of opportunity of our first DeskGlam box.  I am not ashamed to address the areas where we could have improved.  Denying it doesn’t help, nor does avoiding feedback in an effort to protect one’s ego. Be honest with yourself, with your team and take the steps necessary to fix it.

2. There is a different between ‘failing’ and ‘being a failure’

‘Failing’ means that you took a chance, gave it a shot, put your blood, sweat, tears, emotions and ego out there by taking an idea and running with it…but at the end of the day , it didn’t work out.  Compare this with ‘being a failure’, which I define as not trying at all; sitting idly by, never putting yourself out there, attempting anything – large or small – and letting this precious gift of time and life just pass you by.  Accept yourself when you ‘fail’ and use that motivation to do better…do not accept ‘being a failure’.

3. Assume success instead of failure

If you own a business (or even have a career or hobby that you care deeply about), you think about it…a lot.  In the past 3 weeks, I found myself thinking about DeskGlam…but more so as a complete and total failure.  But, I realized that if I wanted to keep going on this journey, at some point, I would need to choose success, again.  As mentioned above, failing can be a temporary situation, but the more you drown yourself in thoughts of being a failure, the harder it is to pull yourself back up to the surface so you can float again.  After weeks of beating myself up, I chose to change my perspective and assume success, instead of reliving moments of failure.  Every day I have the option to choose failure.  But, it it takes courage to see things the way they are, acknowledge them, and still choose to dig your heels in and take a hard look at your business to figure out how you can improve.

4. Short and sweet: Remember that if you don’t fail, you don’t learn.  And if you don’t learn, you don’t change.

My mission from the very beginning with DeskGlam was to bring inspiration to women and to give them the tools to conquer their workday while also giving the creators of these amazing products a platform to introduce their brand to office supply lovers!  We have lots of exciting things planned for the future of DeskGlam and I don’t intend on stopping, but I do intend on slowing down and making sure each box we put out gets better and better.  I’m taking a look at everything DeskGlam does, from the brands we partner with, to the boxes themselves, and we’re making necessary improvements…Needless to say, I’ve learned a whole bunch the last few weeks.  Failing has that effect on people 🙂

I believe that you’ll be able to see this improvement in our next box.  We’re working with some incredible creativepreneurs and a few other things that I can’t reveal just yet, that are going to seriously elevate the next generation of DeskGlam (debuting next month)!

Until then, I’ll be staying positive, working hard and making DeskGlam happen 🙂  I want to thank our amazing subscribers again for giving me the chance to fail, with this small reminder that if you’re failing, you’re changing…and though it may not feel like it, you are on the right path.

Thanks for reading!


P.S. Feel free to comment – I would love to read about what you learned from failing or how failing helped you become a better business owner!