7 Lessons I Learnt From My Failures

7 Important Lessons I Learnt From My Failures

It was the year of 2004. The Internet was still evolving. Facebook was almost non-existent and YouTube was never heard of.

I started digging online for ways to make some extra money on the side, to hopefully quit my (then) full-time job.

Fast forward to December 2006, I officially registered my business name. At that point, my business was able to supplement my income. It was a proud moment I will never forget. I was 22 years of age and thought I had it all worked out.

My goal was to make a living online and not have to report to a boss ever again. It was a goal achieved.

What happened the next couple of years was something I could not have imagined.

I got comfortable. A bit too comfortable, I’d say. Comfortable in ways where I was doing just okay and didn’t take any steps to grow it any further.

My business suffered as a consequence because it was stagnate and, inevitably, sales started going down.

I thought I knew everything that I had to know as a business owner, but I was wrong.

In a pretty desperate state I was, I started turning to offers that sounded too good to be true. You know, those shiny objects that promise and make ridiculous claims?

I even went on to buy a website from someone who was selling it for $18,000. It was short-lived in just two months after acquiring it. Google decided to penalise it due to methods that didn’t follow its guidelines.

You can say I got burned and ripped off, but it was a lesson in disguise…or, perhaps, I was just too naive to see it.

I’m sharing my story in hopes that my failures and mistakes can help you along your journey because I know how it is going through rough times, wishing that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

I know you don’t want to give up and ever settle for mediocre. You are pursuing your dreams for a reason—for a deeper meaning or cause.

I have recovered and learned a lot from the roller coaster ride and have developed more wisdom as a result.

During the process, I did learn a lot and it’s those failures that taught me. Here are 7 important lessons I learned along the way:

1. Take Responsibility

I was naive to think that everything will be fine and problems will just go away if you leave it long enough. Not surprisingly, things don’t work that way.

I lacked an understanding of things like where sales were coming from, which social platforms was driving the most traffic, who my top customers were and the business’ sales and expenses.

It may sound obvious to do all that in a perfect world but these are things that no one teaches you in school.

At the end of the day, you are responsible for your actions. No pointing fingers, no excuses.

2. Set Goals

You’ve probably heard a thousand times that goal setting is important to ones success, and so it is.

During my plateau, I didn’t have any concrete goals. I was just happy to make money and make sure all my bills are paid.

When you set goals, you need to set it really clear:

How much do you want to make? When do you want to make it by? What will you do to get to there?

Those are the three important questions you need to ask yourself.

One of my goals was to make $10,000 profit per month within 6 months. I set that goal and had it firm in my mind. I achieved it within 2 months after setting that goal.

3. Have a Support System

As a business owner, your ego can get in the way of your success.

You believe in your idea so much that if someone were to say something negative or give their honest opinion about it, you would defend it in a blink of an eye.

Sometimes we need to just let that ego down a notch and just be open and take in people’s criticism.

One of the most powerful things you can do for yourself and your business is to have a support system.

Your support system could be a mastermind group, your close friend(s), family, spouse/partner or coach.

As you may know, I started this blog with my fiancee, Connie. She has been there during the highs and lows. No matter what we have gone through, we have always pushed and supported each other to keep going.

Your support system will keep you accountable, share feedback, stimulate your creativity and, overall, support you all the way.

I read and re-read the chapter about “The Power of a Mastermind” from the book Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, but I never quite took action on it.

I thought I could do it all on my own and didn’t need anyone’s support.

It’s the support I get from my partner and mastermind group that helps me get through all obstacles and plateaus.

4. Treat It Like a Real Business

The internet can make a business seem less tangible as everything’s digital, but don’t let that deter you away from thinking that it shouldn’t be treated the same way as a brick and mortar business.

Every business has processes, systems, people, taxes to pay, etc.

I thought too small and did everything myself: designing, writing, setting up my websites, writing copy, answering emails, support and so much more.

One of the best decisions I’ve made to date is putting trust in others to help me in my business. I now proudly have 8 people in my team who all live around the world, and it’s given me a lot more time to grow the business.

I trained each and every person in my team to basically replace a lot of the tasks I was doing myself. It takes patience, indeed, but once they get the hang of it, you’ll feel a ton of weight off your shoulders.

5. What You Give, Will Come Back To You Many Times More

The law of reciprocity works wonders. Whatever you put out, you will get back many times more.

Whenever I help my subscribers, I am always rewarded in some way or form.

If I give, I end up with more.

In the end, it’s all about giving value, so think of how you can be of value to others. It can be in any form – a product, an email, advice, or whatever it may be.

6. Focus on One Thing at a Time

This is the I advice I always give to my students.

That is, focus on one thing at a time. Focus on one system or model at a time.

You’d rather focus all your effort to one thing than spreading yourself short.

If you’re going to focus on learning how to use Facebook Ads, as an example, focus on just that. You’d be surprised just how much further you’ll be.

It’s more important to get started than knowing how to do everything.

If your goal is to become a top blogger, then learn the steps to blog. Don’t worry about how to implement Facebook Ads and other such methods just yet. You will naturally progress, get better and eventually learn more things.

7. Don’t Give Up

Trying different things only to watch yourself fail can be depressing.

Persistence is a strong trait to have as an entrepreneur. The more you persist, the better you will get and the more closer you will get to your ultimate goal. That is the bottom line.

Procrastinating is okay. It’s natural. Some people work better ahead of time and some (like me) work better closer to deadlines.

The point is to never give up because it’s those who keep going who get results.


My intention for this post was not to serve as a quick burst of motivation for you, but to enlighten and help you carefully think about your direction, and to make conscious decisions.

I also hope it’s brought back those reasons why you’re starting or continuing your venture in the first place.

I want to pass on this knowledge as if it were a message I would tell myself when I was going through my journey (and it’s a journey I will always continue).

I know there’s a lot more I need to learn and I’m truly excited about what the next year, two years, five years even 10 years has in store.

What hurdles have you faced? Share your experiences below.

  • davesweney

    Yes there are a lot of misconceptions of what it takes to make a living with an online business Aurelias! I am coming from an offline background for the most part, simply used websites and such for getting the name of our company out there.

    Only once I determeined that online was useful for far more than that did I start exploring how, where, what, and etc. I started out getting duped by sites that claimed they could do all these wonderful things, but it was quickly apparent their real goal was to get money out your pocket….

    Then the shiny object syndrome came into play, and the longer you are in the online market the bigger grows your list of sellers that send you mail after mail for the latest greatest product that will make you thousands (some will, but only if they fit with what your focus is)…

    Now I have narrowed my activity down to a couple of things and have a team that is working on both…As you say, if your spread yourself too thinly nothing will get done, and not only that you are losing money as opposed to starting a project and getting it out for sale on the market, THEN move on to the next…

    I am now at the point where I am going to bring in a mentor to help fuel growth of the business. Just as with my past successes, I know that without this step, you are going to waste a lot of time and money while you learn to get it right…

    I do believe that there are a ton of success stories yet to be written about online businesses, and I have every intention of one of them being mine! This will take time and effort, not as many here promise, loads of money with no effort. That is just not reality…

    Your story sounds similar to many I read about, of course the journey you are on is unique, and it sounds like you have navigated well through the storms of the past! I for one appreciate you sharing it with us all, it provides a good perspective or measuring stick for my efforts/others’ efforts…

    Thanks and all the best for you going forward, I look forward to seeing some more of your products when you market them, they are always top notch and useful. Cheers!


    • http://www.UnstoppableProfits.com/ Aurelius Tjin

      I agree with you Dave, and glad to see you’ve come to realization of what specific activities are yielding the most results.

      Having a mentor will always accelerate your success. That’s part of your support system. Coaches and mentors don’t always have to cost you anything. You could be following someone you really admire and study what they are doing. Success leaves clues. Model success.

      Keep believing in what you do. Your positivity shines!

      Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts with us.

  • http://speakerscoach.com/ Peter Miller

    Thanks for the thoughts Aurelius. I have learnt and had to accept that it takes longer than I thought or hoped it would – so I decided to not worry about the actual date and just enjoy the journey a lot more. As long as Im making good progress, Im happy

    • http://www.UnstoppableProfits.com/ Aurelius Tjin

      Love that, Pete. Living in the moment and being present is definitely something that should be practiced. Living where you are Pete, I see why you’re happy. Hope to meet you in Thailand with the rest of the nomads!

  • http://www.marketingwithnoe.com Noe

    This is what I’m going through and it’s a breath of fresh air of encouragement to read this. Thank you for being honest.

    • http://www.UnstoppableProfits.com/ Aurelius Tjin

      Thanks, Noe. Keep pushing on my friend.

  • Marilyn Eppolite

    Thanks for your support, Aurelius. There is so much to learn in setting up an online business it’s easy to get overwhelmed and question yourself and what you are doing. I am learning what tasks to focus my time. I appreciate you sharing this as seeing your failures as lessons to learn new skills.

    • http://www.UnstoppableProfits.com/ Aurelius Tjin

      Questions are always good, but doubting is another. When you believe in what you’re doing so much, your doubts will eliminate. Those doubts will fuel you to keep going.

  • http://goo.gl/QgqHhQ Stephen Hyde

    Thanks Aurelius, I question my online efforts quite often , I blame myself for not succeeding, wondering wether I should quit. But the prize is too good. It’s WAY worth the effort to persist! Someone please stop the shiny objects! You’re right about focusing on one thing, get it done and then move on to the next aspect. But I don’t think we are wired that way? Interesting.
    Very reassuring post A!

    • http://www.UnstoppableProfits.com/ Aurelius Tjin

      Totally get you! We can take blame of our actions, but learning from our mistakes to progress much smarter is the way to go. It takes a conscious effort and a habit that must form to focus on “one”. All your hard work is definitely worth the “prize”. As they say, “the grass is greener on the other side!”

  • http://www.InfoProReview.com Patrick Taylor

    Hi Aurelius! As always, you are right on time with encouragement. I really appreciate your messages. You seem to be talking directly to me. Have you been spying at me through my windows? I just quit my day job three months ago, but it is a roller coaster. You have successes, then failure, then a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. Your messages really inspire me to keep going and to do the right things. Thanks for being transparent and sharing your own struggles. You affirm that it is possible to overcome and be victorious and live life on your own terms. Fantastic site and info. Wishing you all the best in business and in life. – Pat

    • http://www.UnstoppableProfits.com/ Aurelius Tjin

      Glad this post was timely! As self-starters, we go through our peaks and valleys. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t. Anything is possible!

      Thanks for your support and kind words. I appreciate you.

  • Robert de Glanville

    You are spot on, mate! As you know I run a conventional business, here in Perth and I think the biggest problem is not treating an online ‘venture’ like a proper business! And also, for me… going after too many “shiny objects”! Thanks, Aurelius, great blog!

    • http://www.UnstoppableProfits.com/ Aurelius Tjin

      Cheers, Robert!

  • http://speakerscoach.com/ Peter Miller

    talking on Nomads, I put some support and sponsorship $$$ behind this http://digitalnomaddocumentary.com/

    • http://www.UnstoppableProfits.com/ Aurelius Tjin

      That’s awesome, Pete. I watched the video. I’m gonna look into Hacker Paradise in Bali as that will be our first stop.

  • Vesa Leinonen

    Great article, honestly open. I can relate to the difficulties, in getting an Online business rolling, often it seems like pushing a giant boulder towards uphill, in the dark, with a fog cover allover the landscape. With unrewarded efforts, and many nagging questions; like where the hell is this thing going? When will the effort ridge arrive? and the downhill begin? with financial rewards start rumbling down?

    • http://www.UnstoppableProfits.com/ Aurelius Tjin

      2 steps forward, 1 step back.

      • Vesa Leinonen

        Done! The article is printed out now, and stuck on the fridge door.

        • Vesa Leinonen

          “7 Important Lessons Learnt From My Failures” article.

        • http://www.UnstoppableProfits.com/ Aurelius Tjin

          WOW! You actually did it! I should create a summarized, “printable” version of it.

          • Vesa Leinonen

            Hi! Aurelius Tjin.
            I have three questions: Re: service offer that you may have available, for people like me, that want to start an online business, with a product that was purchased from you. E.g. Blogging authority. Niche.
            I have a new XY123 domain name, currently no web site yet.
            Q1. Do you deliver a web site, for the purpose of selling a particular theme eBook as a download product, e.g. Blogging. That works/performs well for the buyer customer?
            Q2. Is a WordPress blog as platform, good choice for your “Done for you web site Sell IM Product/package service”?
            Q3. What is your best option available, for people like me, that have a very tight budget, and are very keen in getting your IM products online and selling IM to buyers? And actually make money in the process.

            I already already purchased 5 of your IM products, and not one of them has made it online so far. Because there are some many parts to the entire gamut. I do have a dozen or more established WordPress blogs online, but they don’t make me money.

            I am interested in your step by step approach, in getting people Online to make it over the initial hump, and get a product online, and see it sell.

            Thanks to Aurelius T.


          • Vesa Leinonen

            I forgot to mention that I am also a member of your Nitro membership program. And in the Nitro membership site video you mentioned that the IM packages that you give away monthly to the Nitro members, have a mini web site ready made.

            The Question #4.
            My question here is this: For the Nitro members, do you offer a Done for you web site service? Using the product that people like me have already purchased? or will purchase or will receive a Niche pack from your Nitro membership service in the near future?


          • http://www.UnstoppableProfits.com/ Aurelius Tjin

            Hi Vesa,

            Could you please contact us at http://unstoppablehelp.com with these questions. We’ll answer any questions you may have there 🙂

          • Vesa Leinonen

            Yes,will do.

  • Vesa Leinonen

    I guess the take away from this article is, to Copy & Paste = Print out.
    And put it up on the fridge door.

    • http://www.UnstoppableProfits.com/ Aurelius Tjin

      Indeed! Feel free to print it out!

  • Sonya

    Hi Aurelius, this is awesome advice! It’s really hard to focus when “shiny object syndrome” is constantly rearing its ugly head. But, I’ve decided from this moment forward to concentrate on one thing and one thing only!!! Thanks so much!

    • http://www.UnstoppableProfits.com/ Aurelius Tjin

      Good on you!

      You’re not the first to mention “shiny object” in this post!

  • Brent Peluso

    Great blog post Aurelius. I really enjoyed it. Thank you.