When I started my site, Daily Money Shot, I was beyond nervous. I wasn’t so much nervous in what I had to say versus being frightened of putting effort into a blog that no one would read. Although I knew that my need to write superseded my nerves, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I would never get more than 3 readers. Why? Because I had previously tried to blog and, for all intents and purposes, failed.
I failed for a number of reasons. I wasn’t passionate enough about the subject matter of the blog. I didn’t network well with other bloggers in my niche. I never bothered to learn all the behind the scenes technical efforts that go into blogging. I ignored the importance of social media to grow my site. I didn’t have a regular posting schedule. I failed to establish a good community. Basically, everything that helps create a solid blog, I failed at doing. But you know what? I’m glad I failed.
Embracing my failure has taken me a while but the more I thought about it, I realized that I learned more from that failure than I would have had I been successful the first time around. Had I not failed, I would not have:
- Become a better writer. When I look back at the first few blog posts I wrote, I cringe and want to hide in a corner. They were awful. However, the more I wrote, the better I got. My failed blog allowed me to find my style, my creative voice and figure out how I want to represent myself in writing. My grammar and punctuation improved, as did the way I present my ideas. I’m not perfect now but wow, is there a difference.
- Learned what it takes to run a moderately successful blog. Blogging is hard work. There are so many aspects that go into running a blog that people actually want to read that I was unaware of. By not doing any of those things the first time around, I was able to look objectively at what I needed to do this time and apply that knowledge.
- Found skills I didn’t know I had. By really digging in and learning what’s involved in blogging, I learned that I’m not as technologically incompetent as I had previously thought. I discovered that I can do some basic coding (with the help of Google and some how-to websites). I learned that I can do simple graphic design. I also broke out of my shell and started contacting other bloggers for guest posts and for assistance. These are things I never thought I’d be able to do.
Just like I failed at blogging the first time around, I failed at managing my money the first time around. Prior to working towards paying off my debt, I was a financial failure. I didn’t know how to budget, had no savings, used credit cards with reckless abandon, didn’t comprehend the intricacies of insurance, ate in restaurants all the time…you name the poor money habit, I had it. But paying off my debt has been a financial reset.
Failing at managing my money and spending years paying off debt has allowed me to reflect on everything I did wrong, learn from those mistakes and become a better steward of my money. Now, I can’t imagine not having a budget or plunking down my credit card to pay for a purse. I understand all the things I didn’t understand before (except the intricacies of insurance. I fear I will never understand those) and I have much more secure financial future.
If not for my mistakes, I wouldn’t be in the position that I’m in today. And for that, I’m grateful for all my failures. Even the ones that make me cringe.
What failures have helped shape where you are today?