because stories sell

Five things I learned from my big, fat Pozible fail


My Pozible campaign failed. Fizzled. Crashed and burned. And I couldn’t be happier.

Why? Because:

  • It provided me with much-needed insight into what makes an idea, service or product saleable and desirable.
  • It has given me pause to really think about what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.
  • It has provided clarity on the importance of being brave and moving past obstacles – especially those of our own making.

And it has helped me realise that not only is failure OK, it is probably fundamental to fuelling innovation.

This is what my big, fat failure of a Pozible campaign has taught me.

1. Never make an entrepreneurial move from a position of fear.

I was diving into the beautiful, terrifying abyss of ‘self employment’ without a net. No money saved. No clients lined up. No business plan developed. No market researched. Believe it or not, though, that wasn’t the problem.

Instead of looking at the situation like a true entrepreneur would, and channeling my adrenaline towards brilliant, creative thinking, targeted networking and strategic planning, I blindly whipped together a loose package –broken links and all – and threw it online, like so many cans of tuna into a doomsdayer’s shopping trolley.

2. Less haste, less speed, more research.

Had I taken a moment to breathe, I may have refocused my energies towards more specific, targeted marketing, such as picking up the phone to old colleagues with the power to hire me. People who already knew I did great work and could give me an insight into how my skills and experience could meet a need within their organisations.

In short, I could have engaged in good old-fashioned qualitative research, topped off with the delights of coffee and human connections.

3. Create a community and let them share in your success.

It’s not about you. Well, it’s not JUST about you. Crowdfunding is just that – Every member of the ‘crowd’ is a part of your community. They are shareholders in your creative dream. Make them feel special. Post personal messages on their Facebook pages when they pledge. Name them publicly as valued supporters. Give them the chance to be an active member of your tribe.

So from whence does this supportive, active and engaged community come? Before you press the ‘launch’ button on your Pozible campaign, you had better have put the hard yards into nurturing and building your community. And how do you do that?

Through storytelling.

Build a narrative around your dream. Attract likeminded souls through the magic of social media. Set up a blog and share stories, thought leadership, updates and information that will help engage your community and offer them value, long before you ask them to add value.

Prior to launching my Pozible campaign I didn’t have a following. I didn’t foster a following. And, after a couple of half-hearted attempts at advertising, I didn’t tell anyone it was there. My Pozible campaign failed. Surprise!

4. Never undersell yourself for short-term gain.

Being a service provider, the ‘rewards’ I was offering were based on discounting my own time and effort. In short, I was underselling myself for short-term gain. If my campaign had been successful, and I launched my content writing business by spending many hours working for less than I am worth, it could have been damaging to my client relationships. Even though it was a scenario of my own making, I may have felt resentment and a lack of control, and my new clients may have expected a continuation of the “mate’s rates” I had offered at the beginning of our relationship. Not a great way to establish a trusting and respectful business partnership.

5. Failure is in the eye of the beholder.

Sure, my campaign failed. But at least I gave it a shot. Next time, I will take a step back, surveil my environment and do my research. I will market test my ideas. I will gauge the demand for my services, or not, and adjust my focus accordingly.

Then I will sit on my campaign for a week or so before going live. I will give myself the space and time to think freely and creatively, rather than pushing the panic button.

Just like a true entrepreneur would.