Sharing my Failures....and some heads up on success stories

Have you ever heard about the term: Survival (or Survivorship) Bias:

You can find the definition here.

Just to give you an example, see the Gilbert below:


We only hear about the success stories, we never know the stories about the thousands that failed. I am not saying that success is pure luck, I am just saying that the more risks you take, the higher probability you will have of making a killing it.

People talk about the Silicon Valley unicorns and their success stories (Facebook, Amazon, Google, Uber, blah blah blah blah) but we never hear about the thousands of startups that had a solid business model, an excellent management team, and even with that FAILED. 

Pewdie Pie has over 50m youtube suscribers, Logan Paul has over 12m subscribers, do you know how many youtubers are out there with great content that have less than 1k subscribers (including me with 0)? Thousands (maybe millions). I am not saying it is luck, but execution needs to be very good!

Be careful with the people out there selling you advice. The motivational speaker is a very lucrative industry, and just because someone is a millionaire doesn't mean they are entrepreneurs, business people, good teachers or they even know what they are doing! Many of them do, but that doesn't mean they are life geniuses. Always question yourself everything, especially what I say, most of it is probably BS.

For example, you have all the Shark Tank team, they are all successful entrepreneurs; does it mean everything they touch will turn into gold? NO!  Yes, they have connections, they have experience, they have capital, but it doesn't mean they are experts at every field and that everything they say will always be 100% true. Just because a fund manager beat the market one year doesn't mean he/she will be it for ever. Just because someone had a successful startup doesn't mean their next startup will be successful. Look at private equity and VC firms (I worked at one btw), my bosses were extremely smart, seasoned and had a good track record but they had 30x deals, 10x deals, 3x deals and many deals where the portfolio company failed and a lot of money was lost, fortunately, the weighted average was good and the returns were above 3x and 20%, but even with that, the game was called: win 10 lose 9.

Another example is motivational speakers, they all say, follow your dreams, work hard, obsess and you will be successful. Yes, those are the first steps, if you don't have that, you will probably fail but there are some other thousand steps you need to do correctly in order to be successful, for example, if you are starting a business:

1. Developing a good product or service
2. Being able to acquire a customer at a MARGIN (after you cover COGS and Marketing expenses)
3. Managing your expenses
4. Maintaining your employees happy
5. Growing your business (expanding geographically or widening product base)
6. Having good relationships with banks and investors
7. Having a good lawyer
8. Knowing your KPIs
9. Evolving your product when the market matures and competition comes up
10. Having a tax strategy
11. Being a good salesperson

The motivational part is the part they can help you with because it is the intangible one; the first step which is having the correct mindset (the most important part). Once you have a producer and executor mindset, you will try until you succeed; but that doesn't mean you wont fail! There are thousands of things you need to do right to have a successful company. Always try to learn from the people that failed and the failures of others. I can guarantee you will learn more from the people that failed than the people that succeeded.

By no means I want to demotivate you, totally the opposite. I am exhorting you to take risks, all the risks you can in life. Fail once, fail twice, fail ten times, just make sure that whatever you did wrong you learn from it and you don't repeat it. Make sure that whenever you are failing, you are having fun and you are learning. The best thing about any goal, is enjoying the journey. The end result is just the icing on the cake; if you don't enjoy the journey, then that goal is not for you (yes, we all have to eat shit and do things we don't like at some moment).

Now, I want to share with you some of my successes and failures (More failures than successes):

1. THE RAW FOOD COUPLE - I have tried many diets (always searching for the perfect human diet). I created a Blog called THE RAW FOOD COUPLE. I had over 10k Facebook Likes, with a lot of engagement. This was back in 2013 when social media wasn't as flooded as today. I created raw vegan recipes with my wife and did articles on our progress. I quit because I stopped eating a raw vegan diet. Why did I quit? Because I didn't want to lie to my readers. How can I sell a lifestyle that I can't even execute correctly? It is not fair to anyone. BTW I now eat a Paleo Diet which is mostly vegan but I eat lots of seafood; more or less a kitavan diet.

2. Online Doctor (MD/Dentist, etc) Review website - I will not share my details as it will expose who I am. I created an online platform where people could review their doctors, similar to a ZocDoc, but different. At that moment I lived in a place where everyone's first language is spanish and there was no local platform providing this service. I created the platform by using a directory theme template and customized it with the help of developers from Odesk (now Upwork). I created a facebook page and started promoting the page and the website via paid ads; I received approximately 200 unique users per day, my page got approximately 5,000+ legit reviews, and people started using the platform. I spent over $15k in developing the platform, paying for ads, and other marketing stuff. I even promoted my platform on a highly viewed local tv channel (the page got thousands of views that day). The problem is, I had no fucking clue how to monetize my page. I was selling Doctors subscription services where they could post all their info in their profile within my page, but I was more focused on growing the platform than selling subscriptions. At some moment I started shitting my pants and I stopped putting money into marketing which meant less traffic. A couple of months later I moved to the USA and I shut down the page because I didn't think the page would generate me any money and I was focused on my day job. Going back, I would have kept the page, focus more on growing my audience, learn more about online marketing (I didn't know shit at that time, I still don't know shit), and probably the page would have been a sucess, but I didn't have the balls and discipline to stick to it. At some moment Google Businesses would have killed my platform, its ok...just $15k....I learned a lot.

3. Hydro Smoke Shop - Hydro Smoke Shop was a Smoke Shop on wheels I created with my brother. We sold tobacco pipes, blubbers and wrapping papers in universities and events. We invested about $1k and we made more than $2k each in less than a month, working part-time. Why did I stop the business? I was doing this while I was working on my day job as a banker (boring)  and creating my online MD review platform. A couple of months later, I moved to the US, so we decided to shut it down. My brother just re-started the business and he is already doing well. The guy is very smart and a great salesman; unfortunately, he is a little bit lazy. If he wasn't so lazy, he would probably already be a millionaire.

4. Paleo P$*##( R$*# - If I say the name I will reveal the identity. I still have one videos uploaded, it has 1.1k views and I never even promoted it. So Paleo Puerto Rico was an online marketing arbitrage play I created. I had done the Paleo Diet for about 8 months and I lost a ton of weight. In the country where I lived, no one knew about the Paleo Diet, only some cross fitters. I created a facebook page called Paleo P$*#( R#*$$ and spent about $20 in ads. In less than a week I got over 5,000 facebook likes, the second week I got over 10,000 likes. I started translating articles from english to spanish and posting them as blogs. People loved the articles! After that, I created the Paleo Challenge, where people had to do the Paleo Diet for 30 days. Over 500 people contacted me through private message interested in doing the challenge. Now I understand why weight loss is such a lucrative industry. I started posting affiliate links on paleo recipe books and I made over $500.00 during the first month just with affiliate marketing. Why did this work? When I started the page, I had no intention on making money from it, I really wanted to help people live a healthier lifestyle and share my results obtained while doing the Paleo Diet. The lesson is: Focus on adding value to peoples lives and you will be rewarded. When things come from your heart, people can sense they are honest and sincere and they will trust you! Why did I quit? Nutritionists started threatening me to take the page down or they would take legal action against me. Side comment: most of those nutritionists telling me to take the page down where the nutritionists that tell you to eat string cheese and deli ham for breakfast; a lot of them were obese. At that moment I was very naive and I got scared, so I took the page down. The second lesson: Don't be a bitch, stick to it and f$*#ck what people say.

Lesson of the day: Enjoy the Journey! Everyone fails at some moment! If you are getting advice from someone that has not shared a failure story, you are getting it from the wrong person.

Sorry for my bad English; I hope this story helps :P...............