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Failure is never fun, but it's a part of life that all of us experience. And since it's basically a guarantee that you will fail at something before you succeed, it's probably worth trying to make the best of it, right? It's easier said than done for sure, but learning how to befriend failure could be your key to success.
Recently, our CEO sat down with someone who knows a thing or two about failure, but was able to turn his mishaps around into something positive. In this blog, Hollywood Branded learns how facing failure can lead to finding success from the inspiring Miha Matlievski, founder of Fail Coach LLC!
In 2009, Miha had four companies go bankrupt overnight: landing him $5 million in debt. Contemplating suicide to escape the pain as he looked over the balcony, he had a life-saving AH-HA moment. He realized that failure was a normal part of life: admitting to himself that he failed and to recognize he needed to stop blaming others and circumstances.
This was the turning point when he made a choice to learn from his failures so he could do things differently in the future and to help others. Since then, he has climbed back to create a business and scaling it to 8 figures in less than a year. His life mission is to help people develop a healthy relationship with failure. Especially entrepreneurs.
Question: Can you let our listeners know a little bit more about you, what got you to become this failure coach, and how you've evolved this into success?
Answer: Well, I'll try to smoosh through the story, because it's 23 years old stories, so I can go on and on, and on and then you just dive into whatever you feel would give the most value to your audience.
I started my entrepreneurial journey at 18. I started working first for my father's small business, not really doing much learning but just enjoying the life, and everything would be probably picture perfect. When I was 23 he was be diagnosed with a pancreatic cancer, and then three weeks later he died. There was really no time at all for me to learn anything about business. I really was just good at connecting with people, networking, let's call it doing a little bit of sales and that was it.
Because of my perfect childhood where everybody in our family was telling me how I'm the next Jesus, I thought, "I can handle this, I know how to do this," and I couldn't. So very quickly the company was starting to head towards bankruptcy, but life gives you lessons and I didn't learn a lesson, but I was lucky to find people who would help me. They entered, took over majority and left me to do what I do best, sales. I was actually really doing it well because month to month we would be doing hundred, hundred and fifty, two hundred percent more in sales and in revenue, and life was good again, a lot of money, nice trips, vacations, cars, all of that, and I became again, very creative with new business ideas.
I thought, I'm bringing all the revenue in, I'm that big shot, so I'll do that with no problems, and I started creating new companies. One thing that I wasn't really considering or thinking or really I didn't even know it was that I wasn't laying any foundations. I thought that I was that good. Now looking back, I realized that that was before the crisis, so I was riding that good wave of the economy and everything was nice. My companies were going to seven, eight figures, but without any foundation.
You know the story of three little pigs? My companies where that first house made out of straw, and of course when the crisis came, I was the first to be blown away and everything was just a domino effect.
Anyways, the bank, they just foreclosed everything and I ended up $5 million in personal debt and I wasn't able to do any personal bankruptcy. Depression, anxiety, darkness slowly started sipping in. You start getting this idea like, "Oh, I used all the good parts of the life and now this is it for ..." and when things go down that road, you start asking yourself, "Why even live?" And then you start thinking about suicide and then you started getting closer to that and closer and closer, and so in the spring of 2010 I was there on the balcony, on the other side of the fence holding myself just with one hand, and then I used a lot of pretty juicy words.
I'm not going to repeat that, but just yelling at myself, "You failed. You made all those mistakes," and that perfect childhood and me being the next Jesus, that reflected throughout all my life, because whenever something would happen to me, which was only normal, that that's because of me, and whenever something bad happened to me, I always found something or somebody to blame, and this was the first time when I took that ownership of all the mistakes and I had these flashes of I signed that agreement, I employed that person, I did this, I did that, but in that not such a nice a dialogue with myself, I actually found a light, which was, "Oh my God, if I made all those things and I still was able to have about 15 million US in personal net worth, imagine what I can do if I learn, if I change, if I do better decisions and all of that I can do even bigger."
I climbed back in, I sat down at the table, made a huge list of everything I need to change.I guess I really was a very thick headed entrepreneur who had to just experience everything you can fail at in business. I'm still waiting for that moment when I can say, "Oh, I haven't failed at that."
Then the whole journey started because I really had a lot to learn and a lot to change, and it took me roughly three and a half years of personal development, business development, just getting to know myself, what do I stand for, what are my core beliefs, values, and so on, and then in 2014, with all that knowledge, I created a new startup and that startup I was able to scale from zero to multiple eight figures a month in less than a year and then to multiple nine figures next year and then I sold it to a fortune 100 company and suddenly I was able to repay almost 7 million in debts, because interest rates and so on, and I found myself with this freedom of time, freedom of money, and what I call the ultimate freedom, which is the freedom of choice, where you choose what you want to do.
I need to be surrounded with entrepreneurs. I need that. I'm hooked on that, to be surrounded with entrepreneurs so that we brainstorm together, so that we solve problems together and all of that, and I just started volunteering in different startup incubators, accelerators, and so on. A little bit down the line I started thinking, okay, so what's next for me? Because it wasn't apparent immediately to me to go into any kind of coaching.
I thought, okay, maybe it's time for me to start the new company, do something, and it was actually a friend of mine, we were having a few beers and he said, "I mean you love doing this. Look at you, all the stories and everything. Just be a coach. There's so many coaches out there. At least there will be some good ones with you along the line," and I said, "Well that makes sense. I love doing this," and then a few years later, how do I name this? How do we brand this? And again, this friend of mine, he said, "You constantly just talk about having good relationship with failure. How you will fail so much more before you reach success. How every story that you start starts with, I failed at this and then this is what I did and this is what it ended up being," and he said, "You are the fail coach."
In the past a few years, I worked in different ways with about three and a half ... I mean my marketing people had me calculate that, that's why I know that it was approximately three and a half thousand people, entrepreneurs, and yeah, here I am today.
Question: So, when you're working with an entrepreneur and they've come to you and they're like, "I have failed," what's your first advice to them?
Answer: Failure is an emotional reaction. Usually we set a goal or we have a dream and that dream is connected with something that brings huge positive emotions if we achieve it, and when we don't achieve it, we go in the other direction, negative emotions, negative self talk, and so we need to eliminate the emotions because emotions cloud our vision, and then we start with, "Oh, why is this happening to me? What evil have I done to the world that now I have to pay this price?" And so on. I mean, I'm not saying don't say that to you, but I don't see any point because you're not going to get any answers. The reality is that whatever the goal is, there are always steps or a process before that goal, and the problem is usually either we are doing the wrong steps or there are bottlenecks that we haven't eliminated.
Usually, actually every time, the problem is in the process. When entrepreneurs come to me, the first thing I do is ask their goal. Okay, now let's reverse engineer what you were doing to achieve that goal, and because I've worked with so many entrepreneurs and I've had so many companies and I've been through this and that trenches, industries, this, that, I can always spot, "Oh, we tried this." "But have you tried this? Have you tried that? Have you tried that? Can we try that?" And so through just questioning their process, they say, "Oh no, I haven't tried that. Oh, why didn't we try that?" And so through logic, I made them see that the problem wasn't that their God didn't want them to achieve that goal, but they just didn't do the right process.
When you get to that point where you are able to show them that you set the goal but then you let go and then you focus on the process, you eliminate emotions. When you eliminate emotions when it comes to failure, that's when you can actually fail fast and fail forward, because you don't go into that crying mode every single time when something happens. You're just, "Okay, we tried, it didn't work. What else can we try? Do we have an idea? No? Okay. Who can we find who's an expert who can tell us?" I mean obviously somebody has already done it unless it's a huge invention, but obviously somebody has tried something similar. Let's find that somebody, let's see what they have to say, what they did to overcome it, and let's try that and see where that leads us to, and then you just go from one way to another, to third, to fourth, to fifth, and eventually you always find a way that's working.
Miha's story is one that you don't want to miss. In his episode he goes into great detail and leaves you feeling inspired! Check it out:
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