Poor decisions are a feature of our side hustle history. Fortunately, the lessons learned from those (mis)adventures led to later successes. You too can recover from side hustle failure, if you learn the lessons.
One story, in particular, comes to mind. It comes complete with the original gut feeling that it wasn’t a good decision. A couple of my family members even told me they didn’t think it was the best idea. But I did it anyway, hoping it would be a chance to both grow and make money.
I had been sewing bowties and dresses for a couple of years to sell on the side. A new boutique in town was opening up and contacted me about selling some of my bowties. I went in and talked with the owner, even providing some ideas in regards to fabrics and more. We left with the verbal agreement that the bowties I had made up would be sold in her store for a set price and if anyone had any special orders, I would make them.
As time went by, I didn’t hear much of anything from the owner. What I did eventually see on their page were bowties made with their fabric just like mine. Upon retrieval of my bowties, I noticed one had been re-sown, very likely to obtain my pattern. Talk about a complete side hustle failure!
3 Big Screw-Ups
- I didn’t listen to my gut. Or, anyone else’s for that matter, when others warned me about what I was getting into.
- I didn’t protect myself. I had no written agreement. All I needed was to have it written that she could not make a pattern from my bowtie or replicate my product.
- I was too scared to be stern and ask for the above agreements up front. I felt like I would be silly but I now realize it’s not silly, it’s good business!
The Side Hustle Failure Buck Stops Here
Ultimately it was my fault. I wasn’t smart about this little business deal and I didn’t protect myself. Failure can be a great teacher although the lessons will be painful. In this case, I walked right into something, but failed to take otherwise simple and reasonable steps to protect myself. One or two steps would have meant that the only “hurt” I would have suffered is the bruised ego of not selling a bowtie.
On the flip side, what I do realize is that in order to take your business to the next level, you have to take chances. Although I made a questionable decision, in hindsight, I am proud of myself because I took a chance and that chance taught me something.
Who knows? Next time if my gut tells me I should take a chance, it could make me wildly successful! That said, I will examine the inner voices a little more closely when they’re telling me things that might help me protect myself. My side hustle failure was a time for me to learn and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat! How can you learn from side hustle failures?