Wellbeing / Health & wellbeing

How to bounce back after failure

No matter how far up the soloist ladder you go, you’ll likely hit a snag. As Dan Norris discovered, resilience moves you forward.


Resilience: How to bounce back after failure

“I’ve done everything and failed everything at least once.”

That’s how Dan Norris described his soloist experience to Robert Gerrish in a recent episode of the Flying Solo podcast.

Dan has been an entrepreneur for the past 13 years and says it’s been “one hell of a journey.”

He told host Robert that building resilience in the entrepreneurial space is vital.

"I’ve done everything and failed everything at least once."

Building a long-term asset

His current business was created out of “desperation” after 8 years of persistent failure.

“My web agency had just bombed and I was burned out… I wanted to move away from project-based business and create something that was a long-term asset,” says Dan.

Enter WP Curve a 24/7 service for WordPress users worldwide.

“I started it not knowing if it was going to be a success. And while I knew there was a demand, I also didn’t have enough skills as a developer to fill the demand,” says Dan. “But I try and not solve problems I don’t yet have.”

And that mantra is just one of the lessons Dan has put into play over the past 13 years of his entrepreneurial life.

Resilience: the 7 secrets of Dan’s success

Here are 7 other secrets he shared with Robert about how to bounce back of business failure.

1. Aim high

Dan told Robert setting high standards and targets for himself fuels his motivation for success.

“I set high standards and I did it with the mindset that I wanted to create a start-up. And to me a start-up has to have the potential to be a $10 million business … If you have that kind of goal you don’t really stop at mediocre success. I had a very clear big picture and saw exactly where I wanted to go with it,” says Dan.

2. Solve a big problem, not necessarily a new problem

Don’t bother inventing something if you don’t already know that someone needs it. Build something new and then give someone a reason for them to give back to you.

3. Be honest

An avid and candid blogger, Dan says he finds it cathartic to share where he’s at with a big audience.

“Wearing your journey on your sleeve can help me generate new ideas and solutions,” says Dan.

4. Accept failure but don’t strive for it

Mistakes are one thing, but failure is a harder to pill to swallow, according to Dan.

“I like Peter Thiel’s take on failure, “Failure is massively overrated. That is, failure is always a tragedy and not something to aspire to. It’s good if you can learn from it, its better to avoid it.”

5. Create a product that rivals all others

This links back to point #2 but Dan says aiming for a big project but not necessarily a completely new idea helps you narrow things down. Just do whatever you do really, really well.

“Spend most of your time on making that thing that you do or provide the very best it can be.  That’s the most important thing,” says Dan.

6. Communicate, communicate, communicate

Build a community and be active in it helps you stay connected and innovative.

“I’ve always got Messenger on and I”m constantly chatting within the community all the time.”

7. Strive for balance in your life

Keep a normal kind of schedule and balance your family and work life.

“I work the same number of hours I would in a “normal’ job – 9 to 5. After that I may send a few emails or things but that’s it,” says Dan.

What’s been your biggest challenge so far? And what did you put in place to overcome it?

Lucy Kippist

is an experienced Australian editor with experience in writing, podcasting radio and television, with previous senior editorial roles at News Corp news.com.au, Kidspot and Kinderling Kids Radio. In her current role as editor of Flying Solo, Australia's #1 website for solo business owners she is pursuing her passion for women in the small business space. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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