Pat FAIL – My Past Business Ideas That Didn’t Work Out So Well

FailuresI’ve had a lot of success online, but I’ve probably had even more failures – and I’m very thankful for each and every one of them.

Without my failures, I would not be where I’m at today.

As Winston Churchill once said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

It’s a lot like dating actually.

We date people we like and are interested in, and sometimes it just doesn’t work out. We take those experiences, what we liked and disliked about our previous relationship, and that shapes who we are in the next.

Things That Just Didn’t Work Out For Me

No – I won’t be talking about my ex-girlfriends today, but I will be talking about some of my past business ideas and ventures that just didn’t pan out the way I had hoped.

Why?

To show you that sometimes your business ideas will fail, but that doesn’t mean you should give up – it just means you have to try something different and keep going.

To disclose, I know that some of these ideas were just not that good or even profitable. Something made me decide to give these a shot and just see what happens, and that’s the beauty of doing business online – it’s relatively inexpensive and low-risk to just try something out.

I’d happily try 9 stupid ideas if that meant the 10th one is a homerun.

Here are a bunch of ideas that just didn’t pan out:

A Couple of Thoughts

When GreenExamAcademy.com took off and I started to realize the power behind publishing content online, I thought it would be interesting for my fiancee (now wife) and I to do a relationship blog together where we’d talk about the things leading up to our wedding and beyond.

The idea behind the blog was to pick a debatable and interesting topic each week and we’d both write an article about it. They would show side by side on the homepage and it would provide an interesting male vs. female perspective on things. We’d each have a chance to respond to each other’s articles too and people could comment, respond and pick sides (maybe vote) and that sort of thing.

I purchased acoupleofthoughts.com, got a customized “side-by-side” theme from Elance and we wrote a couple of articles.

After a few drafts we decided that it just wasn’t going to be as much fun as we had thought. Plus, we hadn’t set any goals or envisioned really what the purpose of this project was.

From this experience I learned that there needs to be some kind of goal and vision for what you want a site to become. Even though things may change, having a vision and goals definitely helps (and may even help you decide something is not a good idea in the first place).

Brain Tees

This was the name of a store I setup on CafePress.com, a website where you can create unique t-shirts (among other things) and sell them for a profit. They handle the delivery and customer service for you, and all you have to do is come up with ideas that will sell.

The idea behind Brain Tees was that it was going to sell nerdy and geeky apparel, like T-shirts that say “I love pi” and other things that made you think.

Like a brain tease. (Get it?)

Anyways, I setup braintees.net as the storefront,  designed a couple of t-shirts and started to “market” by showing family and friends my creations. After a month or so I had no sales, was not feeling inspired to create more designs, and I just let the domain and store expire.

From this experience I learned that I enjoyed blogging and providing information online more so than e-commerce and retail.

How to Memorize Anything

This was my first attempt at a niche site, although I didn’t even know it at the time. It wasn’t based off of keyword research though (like in my niche site duel), it was based on the request of several of my existing customers who were studying to pass the LEED exam:

How can I train myself to learn and memorize all of this information?!

To help, I built a website (how-to-memorize-anything.com) that included training and exercises to help one be able to memorize things like facts, lines (like in acting) and names.

The unfortunate thing was…I’m not that good at memorizing things!

I really had no business being in the space and no real training and knowledge to share with others.

Knowing the LEED material and presenting that information in a way that can be easily consumed and memorized is what I was good at, but as far as the actual mechanics of memorization and tapping into the potential of one’s brain…yeah – not so much.

From this experience, I learned that even though there may be good ideas for sites out there, sites that would actually help people, that I don’t have to always be the one to create them. I learned to focus on what I’m good at and stick with that.

Review Websites

For a while, I was really excited about creating niche user rating and review websites, sort of like Angie’s List but for things related to what I knew about – like architectural firms, architecture schools, design software, and green building materials. I had this whole master plan of creating one of the sites and using that same exact structure or template for the others.

It was a great idea, and I still think it is, however once I got going I just wasn’t into it. Those types of sites really take the “me” out of things, and I think the reason why I love working on sites like GreenExamAcademy.com and SPI, and even SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com to an extent, is that they are blogs and I can put my personality into it, if not through sharing stuff about who I am, then at least in my writing style.

From this experience, I learned really what kinds of sites I enjoy working on this most, and so this is where most of my attention and focus is now given.

WordPress Plugins

Old-school SPI fans will know that for a while I was talking (a lot) about a couple of WordPress plugins that I was having developed. They were plugins that were going to fulfill a need that I had and I was going to either give them away or sell them for a small price to create a new income stream.

One of them is on hold now just simply because it’s a huge undertaking and I’m still in need of someone to design the user-interface.

The other one was completed, but not to my liking so it was never released. This is my fault because I didn’t do a good job of explaining exactly what I wanted and exactly how I wanted it to work, and even though it’s done and it works I’m not going to put anything out there under my name and brand that is subpar.

When you’re working with developers you really have to give them as much detailed information as possible.

The sad thing is that I already knew this. My iPhone application company hires people to develop our apps all of the time, but the “I need to get this out as soon as possible” mentality actually set me back and made for a less than stellar product.

From this experience, I learned that if I do anymore software development, to make sure that I give the developer exactly what I want, and to make sure I know what I want in the first place too so I don’t make it up along the way.

I’m Proud of My Failures

I don’t feel any shame in sharing what I’ve tried and failed at because they all made me stronger as an entrepreneur.

I hope this encourages you as you work on your own businesses and helps you realize that you just have to keep trying. If something doesn’t work out, that doesn’t mean you’re not destined to succeed, especially if it’s your first go at it.

Every failure is one step closer to success – as long as you learn from your experiences.

Oh, and I almost forgot! If you have 20 seconds to spare I would love to know how you found out about me and SPI. I’m conducting a quick one question survey that will be used in my presentation at Blog World Expo on November 4th.

Please Click Here to Help Me Out

Also, if you will be attending Blog World Expo I was able to get an SPI 20% off discount code. You can sign up through this link here and use the discount code BWESPI20 to receive the discount.

Thanks again! Cheers, and all the best to you!

  • http://simplylearnbusiness.com Nick

    Thanks for sharing those Pat! It was a great idea because we all have had similar failures. For example, I tried out Cafepress too. It’s great that you kept going and that’s what I plan to do as well. Learn from your mistakes, as everyone says.

    • Pat

      Yeah I think the cafepress idea is pretty attractive, but I wonder exactly how many people are actually making money from it, and if they are how much. It’s fun though and if I had spare time and some energy I might reconsider, but I wouldn’t get into it to make money for sure, unless I come up with some great idea based on current events ;)

      • http://simplylearnbusiness.com Nick

        Yeah, I think I might use Cafepress to make my own shirts. My blog’s url and then maybe a QR Code on the back for when I go to events. I may be going to an event in March in Austin, Texas. You should totally make SPI shirts. I feel like they would sell!

        • http://www.passthemsticks.com Mikey

          I think that an SPI shirt would sell, too. With all the traffic you get, I’d estimate at least half the number of people buying the shirts as you have downloads for your iPhone app.

          And of course, once you establish the store with the current audience, you never know where it could go. Having a large following is definitely helpful if you ever wanted to go back. I’ve got a bunch of designs I am going to be vectoring and I don’t know whether I’ll use CafePress or Zazzle.

          SN: Don’t forget that they do mugs, bumper stickers, iPhone cases, etc.

      • http://www.gregoryciotti.com Gregory Ciotti

        Hey Pat,

        The big winners over on CafePress seem to be YouTubers, they sell their (let’s be honest) crappy branded shirts to teenagers with disposable income and poor spending habits.

        Just sayin’, you got into a way better market with blogging :).

  • http://www.guerrillafreelancing.com Mike Smith

    Hey Pat,

    Thanks for pointing out that you’ve had failures. I think we can all relate. I’ve went through my share of failures over the past few years and have always come back to the 2-3 things that I knew would do the best.

    I have a problem with getting distracted with a bright-shiny-new-idea and lose focus on the tasks at hand for current projects. I’ve been working on that though and really studying why certain things failed and what I can do to fix that to get my own personal home runs :)

    • Pat

      Yeah – those bright and shiny lights can be dangerous, especially now that they seem to be popping up all of the time. Focus is huge, and learning about ourselves and what happens when we succeed and when we fail is the best thing we can do. Cheers and all the best to you!

      • http://www.breakingzero.com Brian Yang

        It’s inspiring to see your failures, it reminds me and all of us that you were just like anyone else trying, but also failing to make money online or in any form.

        Only through perseverance and learning did you make a break.

        Thank you for sharing this.

  • http://robcubbon.com/blog Rob Cubbon

    Actually, this is just as educational as an article about what you did right. Really interesting to read the lessons you learned from these projects: always have a goal or vision and don’t start a site about something you’re not totally sure about.

    And it makes me feel better about all my failures :)

    • Pat

      Cool Rob! Thanks for the comment and the quick summary :)

      Glad it was helpful! Cheers!

  • Stacey

    Cafepress worked amazingly well for me for several years (covered all of my bills) but they gradually started changing things – reducing bonus structure, reducing mark-ups if the item sold in the marketplace instead of the store, etc. Took all of the fun (and 75% of the income) right out of it. I’m actually still making the same in gross sales as I was before but my check is nowhere near the same.

    I also gave review sites a shot and, like you, found my heart just wasn’t in it. Even though the reviews were honest and I only reviewed products we owned (baby/toddler items), something about it just never felt right.

    At one time I had 22 domains (only 3 were related in any way) – how I thought I could manage that many is beyond me so I’m slowly letting them expire and narrowing my focus. I’m not even linking a website here now because I don’t know which one to link! :)

  • http://Www.goalgliding.com Julz

    Hi Pat, really enjoyed this post, I have bought so many domain names for weird ideas! Now I feel normal :) My head is always buzzing with ideas.

    I think one thing I have learned from my failures is NOT to invest shit loads of money into a “unique” website before doing proper research and ensuring there is a Market. I spent tens of thousands on a unique recruitment website business and it didn’t work out.

    I was broke, came up with the idea for a ecommerce site, got a basic website, set up pay pal links and started selling. I had no stock control system or anything! Within a few months I was selling $20k + per month, so then I invested in a proper ecommerce site!

    I think it is best if you have an idea to get it up and see if you can make money before you waste too much time and money on something you don’t know whether it will work!

  • http://thelatestarter.com/ Eden

    Nice post Pat. I’m doing three niche sites now as I don’t just want to let them sit there doing nothing so I implemented your “backlinking that works” and I’m just waiting for a bit till search engines pick up on them. One of them I dived in to not really thinking whether the passion would be there (2012 doomsday) but I’m coming up with some pretty good content I must say (so I reckon anyways). I see what you mean about doing something with “me” in them. I’m figuring that part out now.

  • http://www.FitMarriage.com Dustin | Fit Marriage

    Thanks for sharing this, Pat. I know for me it always helps to hear about the false starts and mishaps that successful folks have had along the way. This is truly a lifelong journey, and it’s really fascinating sometimes to look back with the benefit of hindsight and see how crazy the path really is!

    Dustin

  • http://www.hothitmedia.com Ralph

    Awesome to read.

    I know many out there have similar stories but I totally agree with the reasoning behind it. I had a few MMA related domains… never did something with it as I like to watch the sport but not that much to watch every game and blog about it. (also I its not on the free to air channels here in Sydney. Only on Thursday at 12am or something..)

    I had/have a great idea about a review site but never was able to get it off the ground. I still think there is a market for it but just never happened. I have a few other comparison sites which give a steady income (a coffee a day kind of thing).

    Currently testing/trialing Clickbank products which work pretty good. Building a site around a fitness dude and it has reached page 1 on Google for 1 keyword no sales thus far.

    Adense is another one which I never thought I would go into. Reading Spencer from the Nichepursuits.com his things made me want to give it a go. Have a few sites and made some money but just need to keep at it as one sites has increased in visitors it totally tanked in clicks…

    Anyway only way to learn is to fail at a few things I guess.

    Ralph

    PS. seriously stoked you have Lewis Howes on the next podcast. He and Sean malarkey are such nice guys while they were here in Sydney.

  • http://thirstyaffiliates.com Josh Kohlbach

    I believe that our failures and how we get through them and past them is what defines us. We grow stronger by failing and learning than having everything fall in our lap.

    The other thing that people miss is that it’s hard work to succeed. It seems like lots of people expect success to come to them, when it’s truly trying a lot of different paths before you find the one that works for you.

    I think what really resonates here is that you know what works for you, and it’s important to at least like what you’re doing. I really like writing WordPress plugins and working with WordPress so I’d gladly take some of those ideas off your hands :D

  • Travis

    Pat,
    This post was good timing. Earlier today I was thinking about all my projects from the past year that haven’t worked out. I like how you specifically mentioned the lesson you learned from each failure. I need to do a better job at examining my failed projects to learn from them.

    Thanks-
    -Travis

  • http://BloggerBusinessPlan.com Allan

    Great post Pat,

    I hate failing (like most people) but I’ve learnt lots of valuable lessons from my failures that have helped me succeed with other things. I think you’ve hit on some good keys here – have a vision, don’t rush things, and focus on the things you’re good at.

    Allan

  • http://www.mymultipleincomes.com Robert

    Thanks for posting this. Its nice to hear that I’m not the only one that has to backtrack off ideas, or start something and then feel unmotivated by it! Great post!

  • http://AnnSolomonOnline.com Ann Solomon | annsolomononline.com

    Thank you so much for being upfront with the ideas that did not work out and then the valuable lessons you learned. It really got me thinking about my little projects and encouraged me to stay focused on the things that are the right for me.

  • http://www.travel-outback-australia.com/ Amanda

    Hi Pat,

    Great article – it goes right along with the advice given in the Millionaire Fastlane book that you recommended (and I’ve just finished reading).

    I don’t mind failing, because every time I fail, I learn. After a string of abandoned blogs, last year I did Yaro Starak’s course and created a book blog, as I love reading.

    The blog began to grow and grow; I even had a podcast and a newsletter.

    However, my love of reading and blogging vanished over the year with the continual pressure I put upon myself to succeed. What’s more, as a vehicle for making money, it pretty much sucked (made about $112 all up).

    By November last year, I’d burned out, and my partner and I had joined forces and were researching a serious online business, that’s spear-headed by our outback Australia travel site. (Coincidentally, it was about the same time I first found your podcast!).

    Needless to say, the planning, joint effort and foresight are paying off. We’re not raking it in, but we ARE earning enough money to pay a few bills every month.

    We’ve made mistakes with this site along the way, too, but have learned from them.

    Yet, if we hadn’t made mistakes, we wouldn’t have grown. So I love mistakes, even if they’re tough love at the time.

  • http://chefgeneman.com Philip Geneman

    Thanks Pat so much for being so open about your failures! I think that it is so impotent to fail. you know if you became successful without failing than when problems come you would not know how to handle them! failures help you to learn and test the waters before you are successful! its better to loose $100 to a failure than 1,000,000 and even if you lose 1,000,000 than that failure could get you closer to making 2,000,000. it is all about the game Just keep going never give up.

    my most resent site chefgeneman.com was a fun adventure but It failed because I realized that as I do have a culinary degree, That I still had to test my recipes and practice what I preach. It is not that I do not have experience with cooking, but the funds behind it (food costs money!) I started out great because I had a little money to invest in testing recipe, then I got laid of a restaurant, I was apposed to be the sue chef at but the owner decided that she could not afford me. also writing is not my strong point I would rather cook but really do not want to work for some one else. also cook on my own terms not have to rush. I want to write a e cookbook and other eBooks on cooking

  • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

    Thanks for sharing these. I’ve thought about the failures I’ve had and some of the are like bad haircuts from high school. What was I thinking?? I tried some niche sites including one for baby strollers. I thought I would make a killing off it. I built a WP blog, added reviews, and somehow made one sale. I lost interest and let it died.

  • http://successonmymind.com Sean Davis

    Very nice, Pat. I too have had plenty of failures online. My current blog has actually failed twice. The first time was because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. It was my first ever website and I was just lost in the sauce. The second time was an issue with hosting. I asked to have some things transferred from one host to another not realizing that there was a specific structure set up between a few of my sites. I ended up losing about 6 solid months of blogging. It knocked the wind out of me but taught me the importance of backups.

    I took a 2 year break and started the blog up again. I love it this time around and I think it’s going to be great.

    I had a forum for 2 years… 50,000 + posts and almost 600 members. I lost steam and gave it away. I have another one, now. It’s only a few months old but I hope to go places with it in the future.

    If it wasn’t for past failures, I’m not sure that I would be willing to do most of the stuff I do online now.

    Great post.

  • http://www.thesmartrealestate.com Avtar Sidhu

    Awesome Pat! Not everybody shares their falures, but you have done a great job at this.
    I have had my first faliure already and have learnt a lot from it.
    Now I have another blog http://www.thesmartrealestate.com which is doing good and I have big plans for the future.
    Once again thanks for the awesome post.

  • http://www.personaltrainershq.com Wade McMaster

    It’s awesome to hear about these failed projects because it also lets us know that you are human, and no just going from success to success. Knowing that someone else is succeeding past these failures is a good way to relate to people, and give them a little motivation by letting us know its ok if you don’t hit a homerun straight away. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.ibajardepeso.com/ Cathy Herold

    I believe failures are good too, and usually the bigger the failure, the better off I am in the long run. For example, I was extremely upset about a job transfer due to a mistake I made, but then at my new work location, I met my husband, quit my job and went to college. Another example is when I created web a few web sites that got very few hits, and then I found your Niche Site Coaching class. :) I have a lot more examples but there are too many to mention here. Hmmm. Maybe I should write an ebook.

  • http://compelling.tv Chris Webb

    If I had a hot meal for every online failure I’ve made ….

    Someone once said “The definition of success is how you respond to failure” or something like that. That kicked in for me after the last catastrophic website ;)

    I bet a lot of us classify endeavors as failures that were simply things that were abandoned because they got too hard, expensive or stressful.

    Thx Pat

  • http://withinayear.com David Anspaugh

    This is the 3rd time that I’ve come back to this post. I have to say that this article actually touched me.

    It truly shows that you care deeply about your audience Pat. And not only that, but that you can be so honest and transparent to the world. So many people struggle with losing hope.

    Here’s my two cents: you have only failed if you quit; otherwise it’s just a lesson to be learned and wisdom to be grasped.

    Thanks for the sincerity and care you put forward to everybody around. And I’m serious when I say that. Thank you!

  • http://www.gymsongs.net chris jeong

    Thanks for this post. When I first discovered SPI I was so motivated to create my own website. It was a disaster and I gave up for a while… I’m ready to jump back in and what a great post to see to get me going again. Thanks Pat.

  • http://www.menestyminen.fi Lauri Kutinlahti

    Hi Pat,

    It’s great that pointed out that failure is possibility to learn!

    I’m from Finland we are known about we don’t speak out and we are very private people. Specially our failures have been stuff that we don’t share, but there is cultural change happening. Last Thursday was our second National Fail Day and it’s meant to change attitude against failure.

    Failure isn’t anything you need to hide, it’s something that you need to be proud of because you have learned something! Here is a good summary of the event: http://www.arcticstartup.com/2011/10/13/finland-takes-first-steps-to-tolerate-failure

    Fail Day Party was organized by students entrepreneur societys like http://www.streamtampere.fi/ , http://www.boostturku.com/ and http://aaltoes.com/

    Best Regards from Finland,
    Lauri

  • http://www.startyoungfinishfirst.com Tram Tran

    Pat, great post once again. Everyone has failures, you win by learning from those failures. This cliche’ seems never wrong. btw, good luck to your award. I voted for you, #finger cross#=) come say hi on my blog somtimes=)!

  • http://optima-lifestyle.com Cristina Ansbjerg

    This post is really inspiring!
    It’s very easy to lose all your motivation after failing once or twice. When things go wrong you start thinking that maybe this is not for you.

    That’s why this post is so good. Reading that the successful Pat Flynn has tried many failed businesses gives you hope.

    Thanks Pat for this post :D

  • http://mobilelifestyledesign.com John Koen

    That’s a good list Pat! I wish I saved some of the ideas I had that failed in the planning stage. I did manage to do a screenflow “post mortem” of one of my first Clickbank affiliate sites. It’s a pretty good way to capture the lessons learned and ideas that came from the site.

  • http://www.3StepColdSoreRemedy.com David DuBose

    Pat, I agree. Failure is a great teacher. I believe in “failing fast” and keeping it moving. Thanks for a great post.

  • http://zanypost.com Sam

    Great article Pat. Wish I could go to the expo but it’s a bit far for me to travel. I think it’s interesting that you worked on a WP Plugin. I personally have an idea for one that would be extremely helpful to all bloggers but am stuck with the finding a developer and financing part of it. Any suggestions how locating a reliable developer? I think I’ll have to figure out the costs on my own :) I’ve always been good at that though.

  • http://www.allaboutfrance.co.uk Therese

    Thank you for sharing your failures and what you learnt from them. The main lesson I have learnt over the years is that I love creating websites but have no enthusiasm for developing and maintaining them. So now I create in areas that need little or no maintenance like squidoo pages and zazzle sites.

  • http://nairacow.com/download Mk Akan

    Pat,
    failure helps us know what does not work and helps us learn what might work…i have failed in many ways too. failure is a great teacher…it teaches better than success….

  • Ben

    An interesting commonality between these failures is that you didn’t really follow through with them.

    It would be interesting to hear a case study of something that you, or someone else for that matter, tried really hard to make work but nothing came of it along with tips to know when you are on the brink of success and when you should throw in the towel.

  • http://lyndsysimon.com Lyndsy Simon

    Been there!

    I don’t have the time I’d like to devote to IM, but I’m to the point now where it pays my lunches on most days. I have, however, had my share of failures as well.

    I paid $450 for a programmer from India to develop a WordPress plugin. The end result filled my requirements exactly – and then I realized that I didn’t write a complete set of requirements. I ended up shelving the code and chalking it up as a lesson learned.

    I spent about two months developing Amazon review sites – and while I think the concept was sound, I just don’t have a passion for writing about mixers. My initial site is still out there, but I don’t think it ever generated a single sale. [If you're curious - or in the market for a mixer :) - it's at bestmixers.org]

  • http://joeykissimmee.com Joey Kissimmee

    Failures are not a defeat, lose, or an end. It’s a beginning and a lesson learned. Keep moving forward, keep going, and you will eventually see the results you’re looking for. As I always say …

    “The Amount of Work You Put Into It, Determines The Results You Get”.

  • http://www.endingthegrind.com Steve Roy

    Pat,
    I would imagine that with the massive amount of success you’ve had, you would have tons of failures as well. Thanks for being honest here, it’s good to see.

    Also, I love your brain tees idea. Bummer that it didn’t pan out. You have to wonder why some products do so well even though they are idiotic, like the snuggie and good idea fail. I guess it comes down to marketing..

  • http://www.ramblingsofawahm.com/ Allie | Ramblings of a WAHM

    Pat,

    That deflated cupcake made me laugh! I don’t know why, maybe it’s still early in the morning and I am caffeine deficient or something, but it did.

    Thank you for sharing your failures. If you learn from your “failures” I guess they really aren’t that, they are steps. So I would say you have taken many “steps” to get where you are.

    I have an issue, I am scared to lose money and then fail. How do you deal with this? I am NOT a gambler. Maybe I’m just in the wrong industry or just need to take the plunge. I can fail all day for free, no biggy (well, I may cry) but if I lose money, I’m a wreck.

    ~Allie

    • http://www.realnioxinreviews.com Chris Deoudes

      haha I laughed at the deflated cupcake/muffin that didn’t work too!

  • http://www.stevescottsite.com Steve Scott

    Pat,

    These are some great lessons. Like you I have had a few failures to go along with successes. I think every failure is important, because even with the lack of success they teach you things that “don’t work” and therefore lead to success.

    Thanks for sharing this. I think it is actually quite inspirational.

  • Andrius

    Seeing how you handle and adapt from your mistakes continues to be one of the best features of this blog. Keep failing (and succeeding)!

  • http://www.YoungAdultFinances.com LaTisha @YoungAdultFinances

    I like the Brain tees idea! Sorry that didn’t work out. But from watching Shark Tank, I’ve learned that building a recognizable brand is a long and hard road.

  • http://www.extramoneyblog.com Sunil from The Extra Money Blog

    great post Pat and a reminder for all of us that success doesn’t happen overnight. our failures indeed teach us invaluable lessons that we can build on on our way to success one day if we stay persistent and consistent. very inspiring post Pat, and hopefully it has injected the missing drive in someone who needed it.

  • http://www.andrewsviewoftheweek.com Andrew Reynolds

    Failure is a great teacher. One of the important lessons is knowing when to call it a failure and move on. Far too often I know I spend effort on trying to fix something that is clearly a failure. The hard part is emotionally letting go of a “great” or personal favorite idea.

  • http://www.realnioxinreviews.com Chris Deoudes

    Cool post.. I think I actually came about your memorization site back in the day!
    Also puts a lot in perspective. Thanks!

  • http://www.carpetcleanersauckland.com Michelle

    Gosh it’s amazing how reading about someone’s failures can give you the encouragement you need to pick yourself up … AGAIN!! Thank you

  • http://www.bucktrak.com Track Your Bucks

    Ok, I have one that I’ll bet noone else here has tried: Rib-Burnoff Vendor! Yep, I somehow thought that cooking ribs in summertime heat on a 4th of July weekend in the Midwest would make me piles of money. Wrong. I lost over five grand while busting my butt; and getting laughs from family and friends at the same time. An adventure – yes. A moneymaker? Um, nope.

  • http://www.myfishingcapecod.com Captain Ryan

    Hey Pat, nice post! Just launched my fishing EBook this morning – so far no sales but it’s only been 8 hours.

    And yes I have been using your “EBooks The Smart Way!” which was a big time help.

    Even if the EBook doesn’t go viral, I’ll be A-OK and on to the next project. Reading about your road blocks definitely helps keep me going. Thanks!

    • http://simplylearnbusiness.com Nick

      Congratulations on launching your EBook! I hope you get some sales!

  • http://dbpmarketing.com Dave

    Hi Pat, I was actually thinking about your WordPress plugins recently wondering when you are going to let the world know what they are all about since you were teasing us about them a few months back…

    It is very good to know that even you had failures and that failing is important and a crucial part in the road towards success.

    Great post and thanks for sharing what most wouldn’t.

  • http://www.energybrokersworld.com Matt

    Pat,

    How do you know when to throw in the towel? You talk a lot about staying focused and doing the things we don’t want to do, to succeed. At what point do you say I’m done opposed to telling yourself to keep going? Do you have any checkpoints along the way to see if you should continue on a project or not? I am building multiple sites mostly out of interest but some primarily for the income and I definitely have a harder time investing myself in the ones for income. Thanks in advance for any feedback, much appreciated!

  • Yoon Hyuk

    This is a motto I came up with, of course inspired by various self-help books & articles…

    “Perfection will manifest only after many imperfections. Moreover, Careful-Critical-Calculated proactive efforts will get you there more rapidly and with far less challenges. This is a universal law that applies to any endeavor.”

  • http://www.epersonaltrainingcertification.com Scott

    Thaks Pat. As they say, you win some and you lose some. Based on your income reports you have won one that really counts. We learn from our mistakes and make our next venture more successful as a result.

  • http://www.joshroa.com Josh

    Awesome post Pat.

    It’s so easy for people to get a warped perception of a person from the messages we directly/indirectly communicate. Mike Koenigs explains it quite clearly here and I’ve been guilty of it more times than I’d like to admit http://thenewaboutme.com/mike-koenigs-interviews-michael-margolis/.

    But the example you’ve shared is an important one and reiterates what I believe is the true definition of a person’s success, the tip of an iceberg. The bulk of the iceberg under the surface is a combination of failures, setbacks, hard work/smart work, self-development and support network.

    These things are so easy to brush off in conversations and posts so I’m glad to see you’ve reminded me of what true success requires of us.

    Looking forward,
    Josh

  • http://www.planetnaveen.com Naveen Kulkarni

    Awesome,
    It takes guts to talk about one’s failure. And you, Pat take the transparency to a next level. Really inspiring article.

    It’s all about the right idea, clicking at right time. So one should keep on generating ideas. Some idea can make your life :-)

  • http://www.sportmanagement.cc remco

    Hey…..did you just call me an “old skool SPI fan” ??

    Cool !!

  • http://philfaqs.com Dave Starr

    Pretty interesting. Pat. You know I have been reading some of the more popular blogs for years now, and I can count on one hand the number of times anyone else has made a post like this. Good show.

    Sometimes you can observe someone having a failure as it happens, yet they most likely just sweep it under the rug and never mention it again.

    We need failure in order to have success. Gave me a good idea for a blog post on my own … my only real problem is I’d have trouble making the list of failures short enough to be readable ;-).

    For those who love to prattle on about ‘transparency” and “trust”, here’s a perfect opportunity to share a little from your side of the house … anyone out there reading this who does _not_ have a substantial list of failures?

  • http://diycomputerscience.com Parag Shah

    Hi Pat,

    Thank you for sharing your failures. Your post has inspired me to take stock of my own failures, and make a list of why I failed, what I could have done differently, and what I learned from the failures.

    I think mine is going to be a pretty large list :-)

  • http://WebSalesMarketing.com/blog Neil

    Very thought provoking post Pat. I completely agree with your sentiment that failures are just milestones on the road to success.

    I’ve had plenty that’s for sure but what I’d encourage everyone who’s read this post to consider is whether their “failures” were because they didn’t fully commit and more importantly finish a project. OR where they because they gave it their best shot and it didn’t work out. I think the latter are much more beneficial from a learning perspective.

    Beware of the “bright shiny object syndrome”, that is so rampant in this industry.

  • http://bloggingtalks.com samrat kafle @ Blogging Talks

    Hey pat thanks for sharing your reports.Its really a inspiration to failures that they are not alone, your article is enough to rise all those unsuccessful bloggers and me too.You proved “Failure is the main key to success”.

  • http://[email protected] The Financial Blogger

    Thx for sharing Pat!

    I’ve recently ran into a failure online and I realize that I’ve learned a lot more from my failure than my successes. When you are good at doing something and it works for you, you usually don’t spend much time trying to figure out what was the secret ingredient that helped you succeed.

    On the other side, when you fail at something, you will take the time to analyze what you did and find what went wrong. Sometimes, I rather fail than succeed since I know that my successes will be bigger after I fail a few times!

  • http://www.mypersonalfinancejourney.com/ Cherleen @ My Personal Finance Journey

    I guess we all should be proud of our failures because that is an opportunity to know ourselves better. Moreover, these failures should also serve as an inspiration for us to work harder and better.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Ruby Ashby

    Great and inspiring blog as usual! One question to help me avoid adding to some of my other internet mistakes – do you think article sites such as Ezine Articles are still worth submitting to for building backlinks?

    • http://www.goodpetsforkids.com Cory Buckles

      InfoBarrel is probably a better choice, as it offers writers revenue sharing for their articles. Individual IB articles can even hit PR 2 or 3 just from the site’s internal linking and promotion efforts. Also, I can personally attest to the fact that article directories can be very effective for building links if you submit high-quality content.

  • http://retireby40.org retirebyforty

    Thanks for sharing! I don’t have a lot of failures and will need to fail more often. If you’re not failing, you’re not trying right?

  • http://www.asbestos-watch.com/articles/what-does-asbestos-look-like Cory Buckles

    Thanks for this one, Pat. With all of your success stories on the blog, I get a little discouraged by my failures sometimes. I need an occasional reminder that even highly successful folks like you stumble from time to time.

    BTW, if you are truly giving up on either of those WP plugins, you might consider releasing them as open-source software. You may find that some of your readers might actually “finish” them as a community effort.

  • http://www.boredseo.com boredseo

    Awesome post pat. As long as you learn something from your failures, it’s not to bad. The problem is when people keep repeating the same thing over and over hoping to get different results.

  • http://www.GenericDomainMarket.com Sameh

    I’m glad you gave up on “the couple” blog idea because I think you would have risked your relationship with your wife with such thing.

    To sum up your post, I guess everyone should stick to what he love and what he good at to make real success and find ways to get better at it. If you are not sure what you love or what you good at keep trying until you find out.

  • http://www.buyfrombali.com Chris

    Great image, simple, but we all know how that feels, if it doesn’t work the first time, try try try again until it does, it’s taken me 3 years to make a really good chocolate cake! its all in the baking :-) x

  • http://myonlinesuccessdiary.com/ Phil Jensen

    Failing is just part of the game, no real entrepreneur will be able to succeed without having to experience failures.

    It’s always great however when new entrepreneurs (and experienced) can learn from the failures of others.

    Read any good entrepreneur biography and you’ll find lots of failures before real success was experienced.

    Great post…

    Phil

  • http://www.ultimatesmartmoney.com/ UltimateSmartMoney

    Another great post. Enjoyed reading your failures, LOL… I’m sure though you had many more successes despite these failures. I hope to continue to learn from reading your blog in hope to make my blog successful. Thanks for all the advice and tips.

  • http://howtoinstallguttersright.com/ Blake G.

    What a great Post. It is important to know there will be failures and learn to treat them as learning tools instead of holding your head down in shame. All great successes have many failures along the way so keep heart !

    Blake

  • http://www.themadhermit.net/ Mark

    One of my favorite quotes is from a Michael Jordan commercial that aired in the late 80′s. It’s both humbling and inspirational.

    “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career.
    I’ve lost almost 300 games.
    26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed.
    I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

    • http://philfaqs.com Dave Starr

      Great quotes there, Mark. I don’t follow basketball but I have always been a big “I like Mike” guy.

      One might also remember a great quote from Wayne Gretzky, one of the legends of pro hockey”

      You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take“.

      So often friends ask me advice about starting some only venture and they seem bound and determined to talk themselves out of starting, because they are afraid it will fail.

      If you don’t start it and work at it, you have already failed, just by sitting in your chair and thinking thoughts of doubt.

  • http://www.longtailproreviews.com Kaz

    So important to share details of the projects that just didn’t pan out and of course, so true that in order to succeed you must fail…again and again….
    Fantastic for a high profile success story like you to share this with your readers.
    Thanks Pat.

  • http://adsenseflippers.com Justin

    Aside from our (nosy) interest in observing the mistakes of others AND from what we can learn from the mistakes you’ve made, Pat, there’s something else that comes from sharing failures, I think.

    One of your readers could take one of the ideas you simply weren’t passionate about or didn’t see through and either stick with it or tweak it for a major success! That’s the funny thing about failure…you might have failed at that particular project but it could simply be a matter of wrong place, wrong time. Someone else could pick it up, run with it, and find huge success. We’ll definitely have to put a post like this up on our blog as well…I’ll make sure to mention those projects I REALLY liked but didn’t work out…hopefully someone can see them through!

  • http://www.economicalgiftideas.com reeha@gift ideas

    your failure story works as a success chain for all of us. Winston Churchil quote is true and very close to nature.

  • http://financialplanningapprentice.com Robinson Mertilus

    This is a very important post. Success usually doesn’t come on the first try. In fact, if it does come on the first try, then there is probably more that can be done to make your project/business/idea better. I will apply this idea to my own website. I don’t think it’s picked up much ground because the idea is probably better than the application. I have to be ok with that and be willing to make changes to it or drop it and try something else. Thanks, Pat!!!

  • http://www.profitworks.ca Chris R. Keller

    I agree. Failures are great. They are how we learn.

    It does not feel good when they happen but later after the fact it feels really good to fail.

    I was going to write a post on my blog about my greatest failures and what I learned from them, but it looks like you beat me to it Pat……

    I think I will probably still write it though.

  • http://www.deliberatepersonalfinance.com Craig

    One of the interesting things I noted from this post is that your failures were not necessarily bad ideas. In all cases there was something that just didn’t fit with your values and/or personality. We all have what we think are great ideas and sometimes we don’t realize that our great idea just isn’t a good fit for us until we try it. We can only hope that we realize that fact early on, trust our gut, and quit before we expend too much time and energy on a failed project.

  • Matt

    @ Mike Smith

    I hear ya. I had that same problem.

    I think it has to do with not really being interested in your initial idea. When you don’t have an interest in what you’re doing, its very easy to have some new idea pull you away from your initial idea. I realized that if you are the type of person that does this, that you have to recognize it or it will constantly sneak up on you whenever you start a new project and run into obstacles.

    If you keep jumping from idea to idea without devoting time to developing one idea, then you won’t succeed because you won’t be focused enough to concentrate on any one idea long enough to make it succeed. This is also why I think that when an idea doesn’t work out exactly as planned, you set yourself up to jump onto some new unrelated idea instead of looking at how to make your initial idea work by making adjustments to it.

    • http://www.GenericDomainMarket.com Sameh

      Spot on!

  • http://www.buyfrombali.com Chris

    This is very true, an idea or intention is just a starting point, like a design for instance, It can be a great idea in the beginning but thoughout the process of achieving or producing that design, answering questions and solving problems with it along the way, you hopefully find that what you end up witha much better product in the end. Flexibility and experimentation can be very rewarding in trying to achieve a new product or design. Play with it and enjoy it.

  • http://4hwwsuccess.com/ David

    Hi Pat

    Interesting that you went ahead with the Security Guard niche site although your experience from the how to memorize anything experiment taught you to stick with something you feel you’re good at. After all, with the security guard site you faced readers’ questions like: “Pat, why do you think you can come up with a site about this while knowing nothing about security guards?”.

    Regards from Greece,
    David

  • http://www.conqueredriches.com Jamie Hudson

    Who knew even Pat Flynn made mistakes? LOL

    Kidding…

    Great failures man, it’s nice to read about the ventures you failed at before the success you found with SPI and your niche sites.

    My failures: MLM, first blog, selling a service and my own seo tool. What’s worked for me: 100+ niche Adsense sites, affiliate marketing review sites, blog and own products.

    Cool stuff Pat – you rock.

  • http://www.ecommerce-coaching.de Josef Reisz

    Hey Pat

    Very refreshing post.
    You know what? Making mistakes is the best way to improve, to find out your strengths, your weaknesses and your passion.

    2 thumbs up, mate!

  • http://www.wahinfo.com/ Danielle @ Work At Home Info

    Hi Pat,

    I think it’s great that you are sharing your success and failures with your readers. A lot of blogs that I come across only show their success as if they have never had any failures and it seems a bit impersonal.

    I have been following your blog for a while now and your posts have really inspired me. I am happy to say that I reached my $1000 goal in the month of October for making money online! I set the goal to $1000 and surpassed it by $262.11 :)

    I believe that working from home and making money online takes a lot of work and dedication. In these economic times, with all the layoffs and people losing their jobs, making money online is truly the new 9 to 5.

    Regards,

    Danielle

  • http://topbestphonereviews.info zamahsari

    I like reading you posts that always show two different sides including this post. This post shows us that you are just like us that have ever failed and made some mistakes when building online businesses. Finally you succeed and inspire many bloggers to be like you. congratulation..!

  • http://www.nailaddictz.com melody kwan

    Very helpful, encouraging and informative stuff!! I feel a bit better about the stuff I am working on now! Thanks man!

  • http://www.passiveincomeapp.com/ Jamie gough

    Thanks Pat,
    I realy learn a lot from your blogs and videos.
    I am a non computer savy person fumbling my way through websites and apps. I love learning and just having a go.
    For some reason i find your website easier to follow and the advice really relevant than a lot of other similar websites.
    Its good to hear about the failures as we have all had a few along the way, although i am still waiting for the successfull idea.
    For now i wont give up the day job but will continue to learn.
    I am trying a few of your strategies now such as submitting articles to Ezine, etc.
    Thanks again

    cheers
    Jamie

  • http://pixelloop.org/ David Alexander

    I use the same Churchill quote regularly to encourage people to get back on their feet and brush themselves off. I would love a little more detail on what those two wordpress plugins were! What a tease! ;)

  • mony1