Jane’s Epic Failures: 2014 Edition

I was watching daytime TV recently and saw Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank talking about failure.  He told of a story where he lost $2 million on an investment in an online gaming subscription program.


I’ve had a few failures – fortunately all pretty mild compared to Kevin’s, but I thought you might be able to learn something from them.

This past year I was feeling pretty cocky about my career when I got knocked back a notch or two.  I had a 7pm interview on SpeakerNet News. I adore Rebecca Morgan and was looking forward to the call.  I went out for dinner with my husband beforehand and had a glass of wine. Big mistake. I wasn’t sharp, I couldn’t think, I lost my train of thought. The interview was likely my worst ever.

What I recognized afterwards was that I don’t have a lot of brain power after 3pm and add one glass of wine to the mix…. well, forget about it. Although I apologized, I still feel bad about it. Bottom line; I will no longer do interviews after 3pm – I want to give my best. And well, lesson learned about the wine.

As a coach, I often deliver some pretty raw news to people. There have been times when someone’s marketing is so bad I actually feel angry about it.  But after a couple of instances this year of giving feedback too soon, I have learned to button my lip.
A speaker emailed me recently asking how to break into the Canadian market.  His email was followed by a signature line that went on for a mile and contained tons of BOLD CAPITAL LETTERS which indicates shouting. As a Canadian, I found this a bit obnoxious and told him so.  Well, what came back to me was a barrage of insults.  So the lesson… build the relationship first BEFORE providing feedback.

I suspect we have all had situations where we have accepted clients who were “energy suckers”.  They usually ask a bazillion questions on the front end, and are rarely satisfied in the final stages of your relationship.  Have you had a client like that? The trick to identifying them early is to have your “perfect client profile” at your disposal; perhaps hanging on your bulletin board.

Your list might look something like this –

My perfect clients:
1. make decisions quickly
2. trust me and don’t second guess everything
3.  aren’t overly needy and wanting hand holding
4.  pay gladly, easily and on time (and don’t beat me up on price)

When perfect clients show up at your door, you’ll appreciate them and recognize their value immediately.

[Tweet “I hope that by spelling out my 2014 Epic Failures, I’ll save you headaches down the line. @janeatkinson”]

See you soon Wealthy Speakers!


PS:  Want to avoid mistakes in your business and
marketing in 2015?  Check out our latest FREE podcast – Lessons from the Road Warrior, with Joe Calloway. We’ll discuss a large, multi-city engagement – what did it take to book a big contract, to the execution of the engagement and finally to the lessons learned along the way.

  • Dear Jane,

    I love your transparency which is the trait of a true WINNER….a
    person who lets others they coach know it is not all 100% perfect! As for the
    #3 one: I had a few dentists step up to me at a seminar and say: “You have been
    telling some pretty impressive success stories of practices you have helped…If
    I hire you do you guarantee I will have those successes? I know right
    away his or her ego is bigger than life. And their expectations for success are
    on me, not them…My now response would be: “Doctor our client success record is
    so good that in order to keep it that way, we actually interview potential
    clients to see if we are a good match. Let my team send you a client
    registration form and my committee will review it to see if we can accept you
    as a client”!!! It may sound a bit pompous but I truly did not want to work
    with someone who started out waving red flags and sucked the energy and results
    right out of me….Smiles and Merry Christmas Jane!

    • speakerlauncher

      So true Linda. And on top of the straight up red flags, it’s a “gut” check. When a prospective client makes you feel uneasy, apprehensive or nauseous, those are all signs that they may not be perfect. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

  • Jane – love this post!! Find the best learnings in life have come from the learnings from my failures. While not always fun to go through, certainly value in having those failures as this is where we learn the most.

  • Rebecca Morgan

    Hi Jane:

    I didn’t consider your interview a failure. I thought you offered good ideas. We all have better days than others. But I wouldn’t consider that day a failure. Did it have some lessons for the next time? Yes. And you figured those out. But failure? No.

    You are such a great resource and have such a generous spirit that people still got value even if you didn’t think it was your best. We appreciated your willingness to offer your insights with our readers, and know they appreciated it as well.

    I adore you as well!

    • speakerlauncher

      Thanks for letting me off the hook Rebecca! Live and learn! See you soon.

  • Elena Andro

    Jane, you are and will always be my “grow light!”

    • speakerlauncher

      Thank you Elena! Happy holidays!