Starting a business it tough, staying business is even tougher. The fact remains that about 33% of all new ventures close down within two years, and about 50% are out of business within five years, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Only 1 out of four is still around 15 years after opening. However, studies also show that failed entrepreneurs are far more likely to be successful in their second go-around, provided they try again.
Tyler Perry recently wrote to that effect in an email letter he sent to his fan base. “Do you know how many times I tried to be successful at doing plays before it finally worked? From 1992 until 1998, every show I put on flopped. No one showed up, and I lost all my money. I wanted to give up. I thought I had failed, but the truth is, I never failed. Each and every time the show didn’t work, I learned something new. I learned what not to do and what I could do better,” wrote Perry, whose first staged play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed” was considered a financial failure when it first debuted in 1992 before he revamped it and found success taking it on the road and touring from 1998 to 2000.
The Gospel playwright made his foray into films transposing many of his straight-to-DVD stage productions into screen gems, dating back to 2001 when he introduced his play “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” to wide audiences via DVDs that were sold on his Web site. It was the $50.7 million box office success of his 2005 debut “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” that landed him a lucrative first-look, multiyear distribution deal with Lionsgate Entertainment. The rest is history as they say with Hollywood writer/director/producer powerhouse churning out 17 films in 10 years, which have a lifetime gross of about $845 million worldwide, and six television shows.
“You have to understand that what you may perceive to be a failure may very well be an opportunity to learn, grow, get better, and prepare for the next level. If you find the lessons in what you perceive to be failures, then you won’t ever fail at anything,” said Perry. “Everything I learned during the “learning” years (that’s what I call them now) has helped me in the “harvest” years (that’s what I’m living in now). Don’t be hard on yourself. You haven’t failed. Find the lesson so you can use it when you get to your harvest.”
Perry is not alone. Many entrepreneurs feel the same, including members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Here’s what some YEC members believe is the best way to get past the fear of failure.