One of the more valuable lessons I have learned over the years has to come with pride and it’s effect on many people. It is a valuable lesson, that I doubt my words here will change, but it is a lesson that comes with a lot of knowledge I try and factor into most of my decisions today. As always, I will try and give you a real life example versus some arbitrary nonsense a lot of blog writers do.
A number of years back I started investing in a project that was a piece of a much bigger whole. When all was said and done, the whole project would have been a $175,000.00 investment if you added up all of the content, programming, web hosting, and design costs associated with this project, it was massive. I thought at the time this would be a solid investment and the potential would be epic, and then the industry changed. It became harder to convert any “mainstream adult” with the tubes and free. A lot of people grumbled about this, but I did not listen. I had a lot of money at the time to invest from a different line of business, and you could buy content for pennies on the dollar. It seemed like the right play.
Well, if you have never built a content management system from scratch, you would not appreciate the level of difficulty involved. That is multiplied 10 times over if those you hire have not done an enterprise platform within the industry they are building it for. I could have done this a number of different ways (in hindsight) that would have controlled costs and launched way before it did. Instead, this project dragged on for literally years sucking tens of thousands of dollars per month in development and content expense. It seemed as if there was no end in sight.
Eventually the developers delivered the CMS and in some ways I was happy, in other ways, not so much. There was easily another 20-50k that would be needed to get it where I had to go and my interest was waning to invest any more. I kept doing it because of pride I supposed. I simply never bothered to take a step back and look at the why. I just assumed I would succeed and there was no way I could fail.
What was it that finally snapped me out of this?
Around this same time, my other businesses shifted and I also had a string of 12 months where models, acquaintances, friends and family had died. Some very young, and some had lived a full life. Being in my 40’s now, it gave me some perspective on this. How did I want to spend my next 5/10/20 years of life on this planet? Chasing dreams or being happy making a comfortable life? It was time for some changes.
I started to scale back all of my businesses, and investments. If it was not making money, or a decent ROI, I dumped it. Some I looked to do a revshare as I had a few people interested in taking them over, and others I simply dropped or mothballed it all together. I still had enough operations that could turn a decent profit, but I wanted to make sure that I no longer had $15k+ in monthly labor/design/developer expenses. I no longer had a $5k server bill for one project. In short, I wanted more money in my own pocket and less going out to others.
Outside of myself, I see this all of the time where pride screws up people’s money. Especially with part timers, and models. They need money, but are too proud to do this or that work because they feel it’s beneath them. Instead, for them, I guess pride pays their car note, or tuition.
As I have gotten older, I have come to realize that you have to consistently balance out those scales, whether it’s life or business. If you let emotion clutter up the black and white of the issue, you often times make the wrong choice. You stay invested where you should bail. You hang on too long because you think you can’t fail or you can turn it around because you’ve done it before. Sadly, that is not the case more times than not. However, when a project fails, you simply need to apply what you’ve learned, and move on to the next. Crying in your beer is not going to erase the errors made.
On the bright side, there are few things you can’t bounce back from in life. It sucks, can take some time to do so, but as long as you’re willing to keep working at it, eventually you will hit that home run as long as your goals are realistic. Simple make sure you work in an exit strategy for when things so sideways.
Remember.. “a goal without a plan is a wish.” ;-)