Babel-University was my first serious attempt at online business. It was a Joomla extension business that provided e-learning solutions for Joomla powered sites.
Honestly, it didn’t start out as a business. In 2010, I was an English Teacher in Japan and the project started while I was looking for a way to help my students study English online.
I couldn’t find a solution that fit my needs, so I built my first Joomla extension called Babel-U-Exams. In 2011, I decided to post it in the Joomla extensions directory and all of a sudden I was in business.
For awhile, things were going really good. After six months the site was generating few hundred dollars every month. Then in August of 2012, the site made $2000 in less than a week.
After that I was convinced. So I saved up for a year, resigned from the Board of Education and from April of 2014 focused full time on the project. Unfortunately soon after going full time, I made a lot of bad decisions and in May of 2015, I had to shut it down.
If you’ve every had to close up shop, then you probably know how difficult it was to pull the plug. After finally working up the courage to chase the dream, falling flat on my face really hurt.
For the last five years, my life has been centered on building Babel-University. So once it was all over, I didn’t really know what to do with myself.
At first I thought “Why me!”, “Life is so unfair!” and all the other things people tell themselves when their wallowing in self-pity.
Fortunately last week after talking with my good friend Trevor, I was able to get over my pity party and start thinking about where I went wrong and how to get back on my feet.
He was also kind enough to give me some space on his server, so I could create this blog and start moving forward. He has helped me learn from this experience and I’m very grateful for his support.
Thinking about where I went wrong, I realized that I spent too much time on the product and not enough time on the problem.
I should’ve asked my supporters how I could help them instead of assuming I had the answer. I had the “build it and they will come” mentality and didn’t ask for guidance when I should have.
Although this still doesn’t answer the question of what I’m going to do now, at least I have a better idea of what I’m not going to do next time.
I now know why successful entrepreneurs say that failure is a prerequisite to success. There are some lessons that can only be learned when you hit rock bottom.
Had I not spent everything trying postpone failure, I might have been able to learn this lesson sooner and be in a better position to accept the next challenge. But of course that too is a lesson in and of itself.
Now its your turn. If you’ve dealt with a business failure, I would love to hear how you did it. Leave a comment below and share your experience.