What I’ve Learned From My Biggest Failure To Date

Okay, let’s get caught up. It took me a long time to admit it, but Pursuit is a failure.
A lot of you probably saw the Kickstarter campaign and know that I had this idea back in January 2015 that I wanted to start up a watch company. I wanted the company to be centered on the idea of inspiring people to chase after their passions and to live boldly. So with that idea, I jumped right into it, and in October of last year I ran a campaign on Kickstarter that raised $20,000.

The reality of that story was that my campaign didn’t actually raise $20,000. That was my first mistake. I had put in a lot of hard work, lots of late nights, and a lot of hours to get the campaign to where it was. Towards the end of the campaign we were sitting at about $15,000 and I decided that I wasn’t ready to see the project die given how far I’d already come. So with that, I self-funded the last $5,000 to bring us to our goal.

Looking back, I can see now that obviously I should have listened to the market and accepted that given where the campaign was at, it needed to be scrapped, or worked on, or pretty much anything but self-funded.

*Lesson #1: Listen to the market

My next poor decision was looking at the Kickstarter campaign and thinking:

“Wow! $15,000 in sales in the first month! I couldn’t imagine not doing at least $3-5K in sales/month moving forward!”

Obviously that assumption was pretty crazy given the amount of momentum that was generated just by friends and family. Again, hindsight is 20/20. Nevertheless, based on that assumption I placed a second order for another 500 watches (the minimum order quantity) out of fear of going out of inventory. I figured I only had enough watches to last me another couple of months, and the lead-time for an order of watches was about a 4-month period. With that, another $17,000 was spent.

*Lesson #2: Don’t get ahead of yourself. Be realistic when necessary.

So for the next couple months I continued to work on building a website, marketing my site, and just generally figuring out how to make things work. After about 5 months with few more sales coming in, the money ran out and with that; tired, and defeated, I gave up. I didn’t tell myself or anyone else around me that I was giving up on it though. No, I told myself that I was simply taking a break. To date, this has been the most significant, and by far the most public failure of my entire life. In all honesty, I just did not want to admit that to myself. I didn’t want to call it what it was and accept that I had failed. More than anything, it killed me to think that all of my friends and family would know that it was a failure. To be honest, it really fucking sucked that whenever I hadn’t seen someone in a while, one of the first things that would come up would be “Hey! How’s Pursuit going?!”. So I lied. I’d say it was all going well, when really it was all falling down and I just didn’t have it in me to admit that.

I wish I could say that the impact of lying to myself ended there, but unfortunately that wouldn’t be the truth. All this time that I’d been lying to myself and refusing to admit my failure, I’d been telling my manufacturer that I needed more time. I’d tell him that the sales were slow, and that I needed a couple more months before I’d have the money.

I currently owe my manufacturer $12,000 USD that I don’t have. Which is why I’ve turned back to crowd funding and ultimately, why I need you.

Admitting to myself that I had failed was what I needed to do in order to start actually dealing with the impact of my failure.

*Lesson #3: Be honest with yourself.

The reality is that everyone fails. Failure is as much a part of life as success and honestly, it’s a really great lesson to learn, especially with the message behind Pursuit. It’s important for people to know that “follow your passions” is not some magical solution where life is always sunshine and rainbows. What it means to pursue your passions is that you’re going to fall flat on your face and fail a lot of the time. You’re going to have your ups and your downs just like anyone else will. The thing with that though is that to have tried and failed is a million times better than to never have tried at all. If you never pursue your passions – if you decide to just “play it safe” – you’re not going to have the great, big, massive failures. You just won’t. If you play it safe you really can avoid a lot of the truly massive failures. The other side of that is that you’re never going to have those great, big, huge wins in your life either. When you’re not playing full out in life you simply aren’t going to have any truly massive wins. Your life will just be… ordinary. For some people that might be okay, but that’s not what Pursuit is about. Pursuit is about extraordinary. I am about extraordinary. With the people that I coach, that’s what I want. With the people I’m able to inspire with Pursuit, that’s my goal. To me life is an opportunity, and you only get one shot at it. Why not make it the greatest experience that you could possibly make it? So that’s what I wanted to do with Pursuit and that’s what I still want to do with my life.

What I’ve learned is that Pursuit, as a brand, as a watch company, is not the vehicle through which I’m going to do that, and that’s okay. To me, it’s not about to vehicle; it’s about the outcome. I don’t care how I’m going to do it; I’m going to do it. I’m committed to having an extraordinary life and I’m committed to helping and inspiring others to do the same. I’m going to fall along that path a whole lot more times between now and the day I die, but I’m okay with that. Failure is all just a part of it. That’s something that I really thought I knew. Turns out that it took me losing a whole lot of money before I truly figured that out. About $70,000 all in.

*Lesson #4: Failure is not the end. It’s just a part of life.

By far the best thing about failure is that you can learn from it. Through failing I’ve learned everything I just poured into this article and I wouldn’t want my money back on any of it.

So that brings us to the last lesson, and as such, the Indiegogo campaign.

*Lesson #5: Deal with the impact of your failures.

This last lesson took me the longest to come to, because in order to deal with the impact of a failure, you first need to accept it. Right now, I’ve got a job to do. I need to deal with the impact of my failure, and to do so, I need to come up with $12,000 USD as soon as possible. Lucky for you, my readers, out of every failure comes an opportunity. The final “Hoorah!” for Pursuit comes in the form of a final inventory blowout sale. Just because I’ve failed does not mean that others need to suffer the consequences. There’s no integrity in that. In dealing with the impact I will need to take another financial loss, and in an effort to minimize that loss, I’m selling off all of my remaining inventory at less than cost. $35 a watch – have at ‘er.

This may be the end, but as we all know, that also means that this is a new beginning.

Until next time,


Live Boldly.

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