I am an expert on this subject. I have failed in every area of my life many limes. Personally, financially and in business. Failure should not be treated as a negative. We should be taught
in school that failure is a good thing, but we are not. Kids tease you and treat you differently because you failed. I know this because I failed grade 9 the first time. It was at that point that failure became such a negative for me.
I dropped out of school months into my second attempt at grade 9. Why? Because the failure was too much for me to handle.
My mom let me drop out of school and that failure defeated me and has impacted on my whole life. Not having a matric did not serve me. I stared my first business at 22 in the beauty industry. I walked into a ready-made business, an opportunity of a lifetime and made it work. In fact, I did so well I had people offer to buy into a partnership.
As a naïve 22-year-old, they baffled me with contracts I did not understand and when It came to the crunch they threw me under the bus and I walked away with nothing. My previous experiences with failure taught me that this was a bad thing so what did I do? Naturally I defaulted to my negative behaviour patterns.
A woman in my complex, Philippa gave me an opportunity. She said to me, you look like you could be a good sales person” and boy was she right. I was. I loved it! At the time all I
wanted was to work in an advertising agency. (FYI, now I have my own. So be careful what you wish for because you just might get it).
The failure of my first business catapulted me into a new direction and industry. One I still work in today. That failure I would say was a positive one even though it did not seem like it
at the time.
I have had many failures from this point some small and some big. Not just in business and my personal life but financially too. I found myself at 30 pregnant with my third child, no job,
my husband lost his house and had to sequestrate, and I had over 300K debt. In 2014 I was inspired by my own financial journey to create a financial literacy business. I do not want the next generation to make the colossal financial mistakes I have made in my life and Money Savvy Kids was born.
This business very quickly became my new obsession and I spent every free minute I had working on creating this brand. By 2016, I had launched and was running a successful
business with multiple income streams. I had my school model working and running, my corporate content leg was booming with contracts from FNB and WDB and more in the pipeline. I was lucky enough to be picked to go on an acceleration program sponsored by 2 big corporates. 2017 was looking good.
It was on this acceleration program where my life again took a new direction. One of the corporates made me an offer I could not refuse. They wanted to buy my business. R4. 8million and a 2-year contract were negotiated. Who can say no to that kind of deal especially when my business was still in its infancy phase.
For months we met and negotiated contracts and navigated our way through the process.From day 1 she told me to stop trading immediately. I had warning bells going off in my head and my anxiety was heightened beyond words in these months. Things did not feel right. I kept pushing the feelings down and telling myself that this was the opportunity of a lifetime. I was on her program she only had my best interest at heart.
Eight months later this deal fell apart and did not go ahead which is not surprising considering fronting was involved. I knew better. I did not listen to myself or those warning
bells going off in my head. I was at the lowest point of my life 3 years of hard work had come to a complete stand still. I had not traded for 8 months and now was in financial trouble. Emotionally I was broken. So, what did I do? Of course, I defaulted back to my same negative patterns.
I had zero motivation to do anything. It was at this point I decided I need to change how I was handling this situation. I could no longer feel defeated, so I made some changes, but I
had to dig deep. The old negative patterns were pulling me in telling me You failed. You are a failure.
So, what did I do. I started small. I read the book “The Secret” again. I needed to start change my energy and my thought processes I needed to unlearn all the negative behaviour
patterns I had cultivated as a teen. After the book I watched the movie and then realised it was time to kick it up a notch and started running. As a ran those hills I would tell myself
“You will not quit, you are not a failure, you can do this”
I started to have a more positive conversation with myself about the failure. I did affirmations daily and started to be grateful for what I did have. At the end of 2017 I wrote the book “Raising money savvy kids”. I had to relaunch myself into the market place. I knew that my old school model was not sustainable at this stage and decided to concentrate my efforts on corporate contracts. I’m now working in Africa with financial institutions making a real impact. I am setting up my first MSK Franchise
At the end of 2017 I wrote the book “Raising money savvy kids”. I had to relaunch myself into the market place. I knew that my old school model was not sustainable at this stage and decided to concentrate my efforts on corporate contracts. I’m now working in Africa with financial institutions making a real impact. I am setting up my first MSK Franchise in Mozambique and translating all the content into Portuguese. I have a few new Corporate clients and briefs I’m working on and things are really starting to turn around again.
I failed forward on this one. I learnt so much and now I’m ready to fail again because I know I will whether it be personally, financially or in business I will fail forward.
So, fail early, fail often and fail forward!
Kathryn Main is a 2017 Margaret Hirsch business woman of the year finalist