Why My Biggest Success Was A Failure

There is a fine line between learning from failure and excusing failure. In the first, you recognize that failure sucks and never want to repeat those mistakes again. In the second, you realize failure sucks but give yourself a pass because you learned something (even if you didn’t really, truly, honestly learn a thing).

I could rephrase the title of this post by swapping success and failure — Why My Biggest Failure Was a Success. I look back on this one choice in both ways, it depends on how I’m feeling that day.

My Biggest Decision

In 2012 I dove into the pool of entrepreneurship when I signed a franchise agreement to open a massage and facial spa. The reality of owning a business is much different than the expectation, and the next five years were the toughest I’ve ever had.

Within any organization there are wild successes, epic failures, and everything in between. My spa was in between. I didn’t meet a lot of goals I set for myself but I didn’t fall so short that we lost money or were in danger of closing. We didn’t break any records as we chugged along at a steady pace.

As a franchisee you are beholden to the corporate mandates with some room for autonomy but not much. There will be some who are happy with the corporate offices and others who aren’t. Just ask Subway sandwich franchisees who have lost money and are closing stores.

In 2017 I sold my business and made a profit — the very definition of success in business, I suppose. I have to question, however, whether the money was worth the pain. The more time passes the more the answer becomes yes.

Success or Failure

Looking back at any given day during those five years I could see this experience as a mistake. I can complain about the staffing issues, the customer issues, and the clashes with corporate.

I can also take a big picture approach and see the results of this experience, that I can now retire earlier (about two years earlier) than planned, that I’ll never look back and wonder what if, and that I gained knowledge that I can share with others to help them become more successful.

In some ways my biggest success was also my biggest failure and in other ways my biggest failure was a smashing success. Life isn’t that cut and dry and neither is owning a business.