Deadly Yet Common Traps for Entrepreneurs: True Story Debunked
What factors contribute to business failure? Share YOUR personal business failure experience Originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Here is my personal story about failure. Every failure comes up on the personal level at some point.
You fail, you learn, you grow, just to fail again. No big deal. It is just the circle of life – simple but not easy!
So, here is what happened. I have been working all my life in the Energy business and getting the job done. I am no Energy expert, though. I worked in sales and project management.
Then, one day, came along this unique and appealing opportunity for me to get involved in a multimillion construction project.
Greed took over me. Although I was doing more than well, I wanted more. My life values back then were all about material and what or how much I owned. I wanted better cars, a better apartment, better things, you name it. So, of course, I enthusiastically grabbed the opportunity and dived right in!
To start this project, I had to go to the bank to ask for a loan. The thing is when you do this —maybe some of you might know how this works— they value all your assets. And when I say all, I mean all of them. Everything you own is put into the pot. This way, they make your belongings a kind of backup collateral for your debt… just in case everything goes to hell. Spoiler alert: it did.
When I say €16 million, I don’t mean I actually had this amount of money on my bank account. Could you imagine me swimming in all those bills? Sounds like a scene you’d find in Breaking Bad, don’t you think?
What I lost was the worth of all my companies, land that I owned for my construction project, many personal belongings, and even my mom’s house was put at risk and almost gone!
Honestly, I put all those things on the table without considering the consequences… This was Mistake Number One.
As the project went on, little things started to happen. Call them signs, if you will. Signs that told me: this is not going as well as you’d hoped, Miha. And what did I do? My ˝over self-confidence took over and I persuaded myself that I could manage all those problems on my own.
I Got Too Confident, Too Cocky. With That Attitude, I Wasn’t Learning at All!
You would think that an opportunity as big as this one would take the best out of you. In unknown circumstances, we tend to learn the most. But I didn’t learn a damn thing. I was making a mistake after mistake. And when things started to really fall apart, there I was, trying to solve problems in every wrong way possible.
I should have realized that I didn’t have the knowledge to do everything by myself. I should have been smart about it, not jumping in without thinking. I wasn’t an expert on the matter, so why didn’t I go and found one? I could have hired good lawyers specialized in construction, good engineers, architects and who knows what else.
I settled for what I thought I knew, and I was fool enough to believe that would be enough. There are mentors out there; there are classes that could have taught me new things. I just had to reach out and grasp them.
It was far too late for me to do anything about it when all came crashing down. And in the course of two weeks, I lost everything. And what makes things even worse is the fact that my other businesses were doing okay, but due to the fact I had everything linked to this one big project, it all fell apart.
I remember the moment when I was sitting alone in the dark and thinking to myself: ˝What have I done?”. At that point, there was no tomorrow, and I didn´t know how am I going to continue with my life. I was unable to breathe, to move, let alone think about my future.
In the end, my biggest mistake was not about investing millions in the project. It was about not learning from my mistakes. Not taking the right actions.
I Have Learned to Ask For Some Help Or An Opinion When I Am Stuck At Something
Nowadays, I love living life as an adventure. It’s tremendously exciting to get into new projects. Only that now I do it carefully. I measure my steps. If there’s something, I don’t know I don’t make the decision until I’ve considered all the angles. All these traits of who I am now are products of my biggest failure.
Looking back at what happened, I’m really thankful for the whole thing. If it hadn’t been such a big failure, I wouldn’t have stopped and taken a really hard look at my life. That was my lesson.
Doing Things Wrong Is Okay; Not Learning from Those Mistakes Is Not
If I had taken the “proper” actions and steps, none of this would have occurred, and I wouldn’t have learned anything at all! I’d be the same reckless person I was back then!
No, thank you!
Failure happens. To each and every one of us. Learn from it and use that experience in your future situations. Is failure inevitable? No, probably not but we do it anyway. That is just the way we are. Always exploring boundaries which explode in our faces. As I mentioned earlier – simple but under no circumstances easy.