Why Failing In My First Business Was One Of The Best Things I Ever Did

Natural Born Hustler

I’ve always had it in me. That hustle and drive. That stubbornness and yearning to be different. Conformity was never for me. And even though I didn’t know what to call it, I have always been an entrepreneur at heart.

No one in my family is or has been an entrepreneur to my knowledge, and no one taught me to be this way. I think I was honestly just born with it and was aware that I was different at a young age.

Even at a young age, the thought of working a traditional 9-5 literally made me sick to my stomach when I thought about doing that for the rest of my life. Not that there is anything wrong with it at all. I just knew deep down inside that it wasn’t for me. Even if I had to do it for a short period of time to support myself, it was something I never pictured myself doing every day until I finally reached the point when I could retire.

Gary Vaynerchuk really preaches self-awareness. For me, this is all it came down to. I was fortunate enough to know what I wanted out of life at an early age and more importantly what I was good at.

In elementary school, I made money by selling pencils and juice boxes at lunch. In middle school, I would buy candy and water bottles in bulk from the store and flip them for a $1 a piece. By the time I was in high school I had partnered with one of my friends and we sold shoes and polo shirts that we got from a manufacturer overseas.

Those were my hustles and I loved it. Of course, my primary focus has always been on becoming a pro athlete, but selling, hustling, and entrepreneurship were all just embedded in me and I knew it. If I hadn’t played sports, I would have been all about business at a much younger age.

The Failure

I believe in failure. I respect making mistakes, then being able to get something out of them. I truly believe that is the best way to learn. If you’re wondering why I am so adamant on failing forward→ READ THIS

My very first “legitimate” business was a recruiting and staffing company called Capitol Sports Connection.

I had no experience, or knowledge of the staffing and recruiting industry but I found an interesting niche that allowed me to carve out a pretty big opportunity for scale. Graduating college athletes. Being one myself I understand where they were coming from, their needs and their mindset. 

The company was completely centered around helping college athletes make the transition into the corporate world. I knew that most athletes didn’t go on to play professionally after they finished school and a lot of them had difficulties taking that next step into the professional world.

My plan was to drive all former collegiate athletes to a better future. To partner with innovative companies that valued the intangibles that athletes had and provide entry-level career opportunities for these athletes. I had done a ton of research on how to go about starting a company and the staffing industry. I had set goals, got my business off the ground in a few weeks and started to build a network. But I ran into one major problem.

Subconsciously, I hadn’t realized how passionate I still was about playing basketball and deep down I wanted to do that more than run a business. I was still holding onto my hoop dream at that point in time and I didn’t realize how much it impacted my ability to build a business.

I thought I would be able to still pursue my basketball dreams while starting a business and I just wasn’t able to balance the two.

My business suffered immensely over time. The money I had put into the company has dissipated and my expenses became too much to keep up with. The plan started to fall apart and started to lose hope in the company.

On the other end, basketball became more of priority and I thought it to be in my best interest to let the business go.

In just 6 months I had completely dissolved my company and was in full pursuit of my basketball career once again. All my work and efforts over those months seemed to have gone to waste, but as I looked back on it, I learned so much that I still am able to carry over into what I am doing today.

What My First Business Taught Me

  1. To stop caring about what people think or say. Once I had let go of my business I knew that other people would have their opinions or be in my face asking “what happened?” I knew that some people believed that I was too young or too inexperienced to start a company at my age. None of this stopped me and it just pushed me even more once I had failed. I learned to not care about anyone else’s opinion on my life because it was my life at the end of the day and I was determined to make my dream work.
     
  2. How much work it actually takes to build a business. I knew that starting a company was a lot of hard work, something I’m not a stranger to, but I was naive to think that I would be able to go all in on both basketball and business. Sometimes to reach the success that you want, you have to be all in on that one thing. If you try to focus on achieving two huge goals, you end up reaching nothing at all. I had to be decisive in what I wanted in my immediate future and be committed to that decision.
     
  3. How to lay the foundation for my business. I learned the basics of business and what I needed to do become a business owner. Things such as taxes, writing a business plan, filling for an LLC, business licenses, marketing, etc… all were things that I had no prior experience with but learned within those months. Those business basics might not matter much at first but they eventually become crucial for any business.
     
  4. Why I have to leverage the power of networking. In business networking is everything. As I started to connect with people, my business started to expand and more opportunities came to me. I was able to get meetings and calls with people twice my age, who were way more experienced than I was. People saw my vision and were interested in what I was trying to do, but I wasn’t prepared to take it to the level I thought I was. I needed that time to learn more and fortunately, I let my business go but still kept those connections. A lot of them still to this day.  Connections are the cornerstone of any business in any industry.
     
  5. How to trust the process despite what happens. I failed. I accepted that but I still had complete faith that I would be able to start another business one day. That’s exactly what I did. I took something that I failed at, learned from my mistakes and was able to move forward to other endeavors. Failure is all about learning and it is only a true failure if you decide to stop trying.

No Regrets

Failing was everything I needed in order to come back stronger than ever. I learned so much just by starting and not thinking about whether it would actually work or not.

All entrepreneurs fail at some point in business, whether it’s a big defeat or a small defeat. Some fail every single day and you wouldn’t even know it but that’s how they learn what will make them successful.

I value that opportunity more than anything because it gave me the knowledge and diligence to go at it again regardless of what the outcome might be.

Your only limitation is yourself and anything that you set your sights on, you can achieve it. It doesn’t matter what happens, along with the way or what someone says about your dream and goals. At the end of the day, THEY ARE YOUR DREAMS & GOALS!

The last thing that you want to do in life is to regret not going after something that you want deep down inside. Never let failure or the fear of failure be an obstacle for you. If you want it, go out and get it. Whether you win or lose (for now) it’ll change your life.

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