How many times have you come across an entrepreneur’s story and thought it looked too easy? “Oh yeah I had this amazing idea just come to me in my sleep, I met with a couple investors the next week and BOOM I’m now a millionaire”. Um good for you, but I can guarantee that’s not what happened (well… probably not). What about the financial struggle as you exist on called-in favours and baked beans? Or the start-up loan you spent a little too quickly and frivolously? Maybe you quit your secure job that actually pays your rent a little prematurely? Or are dealing with the general feeling not knowing what the hell you’re doing, making it up as you go along and hoping that your business partners and general public don’t notice!
As business owners we’ve all been there. We’ve all made mistakes and had struggles, and if you say you haven’t you’re lying! But it’s these mistakes which end up being the most valuable lessons. Wouldn’t it be nice if entrepreneurs opened up and were honest about their mistakes and challenges, instead of the “short story” of their success? Mainly so that the rest of us can learn from other people’s mistakes instead of having to make our own!
Thankfully the tides are turning and entrepreneurs are starting to become more transparent about their failures. In Berlin start-ups gather to hear these catastrophes, including that of Max Riedel, a Berlin business owner, who tells the crowd "In the last four or five years, I think I made 20 or 25 hard mistakes. Every mistake cost between 50,000 and 300,000 euros." YES MAX!
This is not just happening in Berlin, but is a worldwide movement endearingly called “F*ckUp Nights” designed to help small businesses learn from each other’s mistakes and actually celebrate failures instead of sweep them under the rug. Founded in Mexico, the group has chapters in over 250 cities across 80 different countries, including China, India, the UK, and the US, and is changing the way we talk about our business experiences.
These nights are important, not just as a way to learn from each other, but also as a way to encourage people to embrace risk and learn how to fail, instead of burry it behind a positive façade or, worse yet, don’t even try to venture out on your own.
Let’s embrace all facets of entrepreneurial life and give budding entrepreneurs the real story, preparing them to failure as well as success. Since its inception, London Designers Collective has grown into an engaged community where its independent designers share information, resources and honest business experiences. By coming together and sharing our challenges, we realise we all have them, and that’s not just OK but it’s totally normal. Instead of go alone, let’s come together and share our “f*ck up” stories as well as our “f*ck yeah” stories.
For more check out the full article on the BBC: “The German entrepreneurs celebrating their mistakes” By Joe Miller
Top 2 images courtesy of Yannick Kwik and the BBC.