This month I learned perhaps the most valuable lesson that one can learn in business. I learned my lesson the hard way — for the past 4 weeks I’ve been completely and singularly focused on how I was going to keep my business alive. Why? Because as far as I could see, it was dying. Quickly.
In the last month, I’ve generated a whopping $129 in sales. No, I did not miss a decimal or forget to add any zeros. That’s $129 as in “my business is about to fail and I’m about to lose $70,000.”
*Quick Side Note: PLEASE, DO NOT pursue entrepreneurship if you aren’t prepared to face failures larger than you could ever have imagined. It’s just part of the game, and this game isn’t for the faint of heart.
Now, I’ll ruin the ending to this story by letting you in on the fact that despite multiple tests there has been an error in my website’s checkout page that has effectively been preventing people from actually completing their purchases. Again, many “side notes” that could come of that — and expect future posts to cover lessons learned from this massive mistake — but let’s not digress.
Once I got over the initial anger and frustration that came along with uncovering a mistake that has cost me thousands of dollars in wasted marketing — followed by the immense relief associated with realizing that the whole world didn’t simply hate my product — I was able to take a deep breath, focus, and draw a very important lesson from this very big f*ck up. Simply put, there is tremendous value in treating your business as though it were on the verge of death.
You see, if the doctor tells you you’re about to die and you’ve only got a few months to live, what do you do? Now, imagine that the doctor added on the fact that out there, somewhere, is the cure for your disease. Now, what do you do? If you’re like most people, you give up sleep and you focus every resource at your disposal towards finding that cure as quickly as possible.
That’s essentially what this last month has been like for Pursuit. The doc (my bank account) said it was 2 months before Pursuit was dead (out of money). The doc also mentioned that the cure for this disease is sales. The only thing the doc couldn’t tell me was how to get those sales. For the last month, I have therefore been solely focused on doing everything I can and using every possible resource to figure out how to generate sales. As a result, I’ve restructured the website, improved the checkout process, switched up our online content, overhauled our Facebook marketing strategy, and taken a deep-dive into brand identity. Click Through Rates (CTR) on our social ads have subsequently doubled, driving more people to the website, and nearly 10% of those people to the cart (which of course doesn’t actually work… live and learn). I’ve also reached out to several successful entrepreneurs to gain valuable insight, and hired a professional business coach.
The lesson here is that had I not been convinced that my business was on the verge of death, next to none of this would have been accomplished in the last month. Sometimes you just need to feel like there’s a fire under your a** in order to give yourself the necessary motivation to get sh*t done. This is one of those lessons that I’ll never forget.
In business, it pays to constantly live as though you’re about to die, and improvement is the only way to survive. Whether you choose to believe it or not, that really is usually the case. Somewhere out there, someone else is working away at beating you. The only question is, who wants it more?
Ready, set, action.