“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” — Thomas Edison

Why Failures Make You Win

“If I fail more than you, I win.” — Seth Godin

Bram Krommenhoek
Apr 20, 2018 · 3 min read

My startup went up in 🔥 🔥 🔥...

I ran out of savings, there was no more time. I never capitalized on what I offered my customers.

To give you a bit of background- most people are completely unprepared when they start a new business. There are so many problems to deal with.

But really- I was TOTALLY caught off guard.

I just graduated business school, supposedly preparing you for business life. Hardly anything was further away from the truth…

The pain

Slowly but steadily, I saw my loan get higher and my savings account get lower.

It was during this period that I learned one of my most valuable lessons:

Startup success equates the value you create for other people. Not how many podcasts by successful entrepreneurs you follow, not your GPA in business school, not how many people you know.

My challenge: I had hardly any skills that were valuable for my customers. I didn’t have any money. I was abroad and didn’t know anyone.

And so I had to focus more and decrease costs.

  • Friends went for beers — nope I can’t.
  • Friends went for dinners — nope I can’t.
  • Going home to visit my girlfriend another time — nope I can’t.

Solve problems

Step 1. Work with one customer and do everything to help him progress.

Step 2. As I started to provide more value, ask customer to recommend others.

Step 3. Hear how your customers really appreciate you.

Step 4. See how they’re not paying you.

Step 4. Realize that early-stage first-time entrepreneur aren’t the best customer if you want to make money.

You can probably guess how much money this target group has budgeted for anything besides survival.

👉Zero. 👈

The Aha Moment

Instead, I decided to write an article about it.

I showed it to my best friend before publishing:

“This is the best thing you’ve written so far.”

And he was right, it went viral.

The results completely blew my mind:

  • I had hundreds of people reach out to thank me for being vulnerable and sharing my learnings.
  • I got offered three jobs purely based on the blog.
  • I got offered multiple speaking gigs.

Looking back now, I realize something beautiful:

Every failure, every moment of hardship and every second, minute and hour of anguish brings with it the potential of a similar or even greater benefit.

Because results in life are a direct reflection of your growth manifested through the actions you take.

Success follows from your failures.

And so, ever since, I have a drawing on the first page of my journal so I can look at it every day:

Failures → success


You can too!

Do you ever feel like you’re plateauing?

Feel like your life is not on a successful track?

Then ask yourself:

How can I take more risks? How can I create more? How can I provide others with more value?

Two last things…

And if you want to read more of my “Oh Shit”s and “Aha”s, subscribe here.


A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple. Mission.org

Bram Krommenhoek

Written by

Failed founder. I share my "Aha"s and "Oh shit"s. As seen in The Mission, The Startup, uxdesign.cc


A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple. Mission.org

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