Most people love to talk about their success, but few are willing to tell the story of their struggles.
Fewer people still will openly share the pain they endured before they “turned the corner” and became successful. This quote from Abraham Lincoln says it best:
Men are greedy to publish the successes of [their] efforts, but meanly shy as to publishing the failures of men. Men are ruined by this one-sided practice of concealment of blunders and failures.
My wish to share not only successes as a parent entrepreneur, but also my blunders and failures, so that other parent entrepreneurs might not repeat them, is why this blog exists.
Last week, my startup, WeMontage, got national television exposure, but the last six months leading up to this event have been among the most emotionally and financially challenging in my life. And it got so hard, I nearly cried.
The Pain Of Investors Walking Away
I’ve written much on this blog about how I raised capital, then ran out of cash and my investors walked away.
During these last six months, I’ve watched a seemingly slow, consistent death of the business, with website traffic at a trickle some days, hardly any sales most days, and no resources to work on product features I think will increase traffic and convert visitors to paid customers.
The Pain of Running Out of Cash
Because sales have been über slow, I haven’t paid myself in over two months. I’ve heard stories of entrepreneurs having negative bank accounts, and having to go to the Coinstar machine to turn loose change into cash.
Been there, done that.
Still there in some ways.
This experience has challenged me on many levels and I’ve felt like I was staring into the abyss, with lots of questions, and no answers.
Sometimes It Feels Like Everything Is So F#*^ing Hard
I’ve known for months WeMontage would be featured on a weekday segment of the TODAY Show; this expectation is one of only a few things that has kept me hopeful things might turn around.
Originally, the TODAY Show segment was to air September 4th, which would have eased the emotional and financial pain sooner. Then it was rescheduled to a few weeks later. Then it was moved back another month.
A week before the TODAY Show segment was to air, the WeMontage website inexplicably stopped showing customer collages in the shopping cart, which meant no one was going to buy what they couldn’t see. I had no idea what the hell was going on at first, and my anxiety and frustration were on 10.
It turns out a key third-party application WeMontage uses made a change in response to an internet security issue, and they neglected to tell their customers. After a few days, we got that fixed and I breathed a bit easier.
Then six days before the segment, WeMontage almost got bumped because of a difficult producer at NBC.
I almost cried.
The thought of not getting on the TODAY Show was too much to bear after all the crap I’ve endured the last few months. Fortunately, some quick, creative thinking got the issue resolved and we were back on schedule for the segment.
At this point, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “Why does everything have to be so f#*^ing hard?!”
But Good Things Eventually Come To Those Who Hustle
I’ve used this graphic so many times in this blog; it might be one of the things I insist be put on my tombstone.
Last Thursday, The TODAY Show and Mario Armstrong helped viewers get control of all their pictures, and recommended photo products.
Mario described WeMontage as his “highlight for 2014 for your images.” The immediate reaction has been phenomenal with WeMontage website conversions off the charts.
Here’s the TODAY Show segment:
So You Want To Be An Entrepreneur?
Everyone’s entrepreneurial journey is different. Some people enjoy great success with their ventures right away. Most people don’t-I haven’t. But I am optimistic things will turn for WeMontage. Especially with activity like this additional TV exposure on the DIY Network coming down the pike. Seeing this promo online is one more reason I am hopeful WeMontage will turn around:
I’m determined to endure whatever pain comes my way, as long as it doesn’t detrimentally affect my family.
And I’m happy to share, so that others might learn from my mistakes, or be inspired by my experiences.
Many people think they want to be entrepreneurs. This is great. My question to them is: “Can you stand the pain?”