THE SUCCESS MARGIN
Friday, December 7, 2007
Almost no one talks about it. But it's crucial to
One huge lesson my continuing online and offline
success has taught me is this.
Failure is good!
Failure is such an integral part of the path to
success in any field, it's a pity so few really
But the few who clearly understand that failure
is actually a blessing because it teaches you so
many valuable lessons are today's millionaires
Past successful entrepreneurs such as F. W.
Woolworth, Milton Hershey, John Wannamaker
and Henry Ford experienced many failures before
Entrepreneurs of today such as Bill Gates, Donald
Trump, Nicholas Hayek and Warren Buffet
recognize what the lesson failure can teach you.
To succeed big, you must master the art of failing
Failure teaches you many things you could never
learn in school.
Here is one of the biggest lessons. The nature of
reality is this. Most things you try in life will
simply not work out.
For example, I probably have more successful
pieces of advertising copy running right at this
moment around the world than anyone else. This
includes the internet, direct mail and space
Unless you live in a cave somewhere, you probably
read my copy each day somewhere and don't even
know I wrote it. (Much of my copy doesn't include
But what is a much lesser known fact is this. I
have written far more copy that doesn't work than
perhaps anyone else in direct marketing, online
About 40% of copy that I write is successful. I
don't know of any copywriter with a batting
average of .400. Do you?
But the biggest percentage of the copy I write
does not work. Instead, it fails big time. But
people only know and remember the big winners.
Now, do you think these flops have made me the
marketer I am today? Think about that.
Joe Sugarman, my old friend, master copywriter
and world-class marketer, is happy if one out of
ten of his wonderful space ads is profitable. He
simply drops the losers and rolls out the winners.
The end result? He makes a fortune.
Most humans have the completely wrong attitude
about a failed ad. Or a failed business. Or even a
failed grade in school. Nothing bad happens. And
you can try again. Or take the class over.
A recent study of 25 people who achieved
millionaire status before age 30 revealed some
startling facts. The number of times they failed
on average before becoming successful--
19 times! This failure statistic included
voluntary business discontinuance, liquidation
and bankruptcies. But they persisted and kept
trying until they made it.
Compare this with the typical small business
person who starts a business that doesn't make
it. Most get so discouraged they quit business
Please don't misunderstand. I'm not advocating
failing deliberately. You should always do the
very best you can to succeed at anything you
attempt. In that way you'll know that the lack of
success in any particular endeavor is not due to
a lack of effort.
Americans in my experience are the best in the
world at recovering from a business that flops.
That's a big reason why the U.S. is still the
world's number 1 haven for entrepreneurs--
the land of opportunity.
Europeans for the most part have not learned that
it's OK to fail. Psychologically they tend to
punish themselves forever.
Tips. What to do to make the lessons learned
from failing pay off really big time.
1. Try a lot of things.
2. Try as best you can. If you fail at some of
them, don't punish yourself. Expect it. And
accept it. You undoubtedly will fail repeatedly
until you get it right.
3. Love it or forget it. Don't even bother to
get involved with any product or business unless
you have passion for it. Nothing can replace your
enthusiasm. Remember, all sales come from
4. Know when to quit and go back to the drawing
board. Here is the most valuable tip of all. When
an advertisement, marketing program or business
is simply not working, don't continue spending
endless hours and throwing money at it. Instead--
DROP THE PROJECT
5. The big lesson:
Drop losing projects immediately.
It's necessary in life to know when to move on.
6. Risk small and roll out big. Don't bet the
whole ranch on any business, product or ad.
7. Accept that risk is necessary. Nothing in life
is risk free. And the more worthwhile, the more
risk. This includes life itself. You may live to a
ripe old age, dear reader, and I hope you do. But
in reality you are just a heartbeat away from a
very abrupt end to it all.
To live in the world successfully, at least on this
planet, you must accept risk.
When I interview accomplished people over 90,
they almost never regret the risks they've taken.
They regret the risks they've not taken.
Don't live in regrets. Instead, go for it!
Keep me posted with your rich experiences.
© Copyright 2007 Ted Nicholas