In Conversation with Rich Clominson, co-founder of Failory.
Technology in 21’st Century is more advanced and disruptive than ever. There are start-ups emerging every day in every part of the world. There is very less success rate of start-ups and more failure. While building any startup, an important factor to accomplish success is to learn from mistakes and errors. Here is where failory has made its mark; the platform helps budding entrepreneurs to learn from other startup owner’s mistake.
- To enlighten our readers, can you briefly explain what exactly Failory is? What kind of audience should read Failory?
Hey! My name is Rich Clominson and I am the co-founder of Failory.
Failory is a community where failed startup owners are interviewed on their failure stories and the mistakes they committed. Through different questions, each entrepreneur explains the failed startup, the objective, and the reasons of failure, the mistakes, and the lessons. Our main objective with this interview is, and has always been, to help entrepreneurs achieve financial independence and do not fail (which is quite ironically!) in building their business.
The audience who reads Failory is mainly wannapreneurs and small business owners. There are also many developers who love the interviews.
- How did you come up with Failory?
The story of how we came up with Failory is a quite paradoxical.
3 friends tired of failing with their side-projects for committing the same mistakes over and over again, decide to teach others how to avoid committing mistakes other people have already done. It may sound strange, but I don’t think so. I think we were the perfect people to build Failory. We were specialists of failure, and although this may not sound as a good title, it has proved to be really useful.
After out last “startup” failed, we began wondering on the idea of a website that would collect stories of failed entrepreneur and explanations of the mistakes these made. We began analysing competition and we discovered a hole in the market. No other website with failed start-ups stories was interviewing the owners. At that moment we were big fans of Indie Hackers (and we are still!) so we agreed on that the best way to show this stories, was by interviews with their protagonists. And that’s how Failory was born.
- What advantages or impact will Failory on its readers?
Once people arrive to Failory, their view about failure will change forever. In many countries, failure is terribly frowned upon, and this shouldn’t be like this. To achieve the greatest success, you have to confront failure at least once.
Our readers will be able to learn from the mistakes made by well-know entrepreneurs which will probably increase the success probability with their businesses.
Furthermore, we are constantly publishing guides on how to manage startups which will be a great help for those who are just starting.
- Are mistakes important in business? Justify why it is so.
Mistakes are important. Learning from mistakes is crucial.
When starting a business, you have to commit mistakes, and if you can, as fast as possible. Making mistakes will not only let you know the weak points of your business, but will also teach you how to solve them.
- Having interviewed so startup and their mistakes, what’s your take on it?
The truth is that the failure of most of the start-ups could have been prevented. While there are some start-ups which were doomed to failure since the beginning, the majority where provoked by a lack of knowledge.
Analysing the causes of failure of the interviewed start-ups, we discovered that the principals are an unprepared market and no mvp validation, which are quite related. Thousands of failed startup owners have started a business, spent thousands of hours and days thinking and developing everything, just to ship it and discover there was no interest in their company. This is definitely one of the hardest issues to over come. For that reason, building an MVP and validating your idea as well as confirming yourself there is a market for it, is the most important thing in the business development facet.
Bad marketing is the second most repeated cause of failure. Many programmers find themselves able to start their own startup in spite of their coding abilities. However, marketing your product is really necessary. “Build it and they will come” is a big lie.
Furthermore, many entrepreneurs often build a startup with the view that they will earn a lot of money, but they have neither interest nor passion in their business which usually causes an early failure.
So my recommendation is to start a business on a subject you like, but remember, first validate your idea. Create a business plan and establish in which way you will monetize it. Also, be sure there is no other big competitor in your sector. Once you have it launched, it is marketing time. Spent most of your time trying to achieve new clients and customers. If you have followed this, I promise you success with your startup!
- How is your website different than autopsy.io? It also talks about startup and its failure.
Autopsy has been a great inspiration at the moment of building Failory.
Although we have some characteristics in common, we are almost completely different. While Autopsy gathers online good-quality articles about failed startup stories, we contact the owners of those failed start-ups and interview them. We both think of failure as something we shouldn’t be ashamed of, but we express it in different ways.
- Who are your team mates? Can you say about them?
I have 2 shy team mates, who prefer not telling their names, but they are essential to Failory success. Our abilities complement each other perfectly. I am in charge of marketing; the second co-founder is in charge of website development and the third one has the design responsibility.
- How did you convinced people to talk about their failures?
When the idea of building Failory first came to our minds, we almost discarded it as we thought people wouldn’t be willing to talk about their failures. But we were wrong.
One of the first things we did (after purchasing the domain) was to contact some entrepreneurs we knew and some others we found searching on Google, telling them about our idea and asking them if they had failed with a startup in the past. The answer and the feedback was amazing. Almost all of them answered our email encouraging us for our idea, and although some of them didn’t have any failure experience in the past, 9 of the entrepreneurs were soon asking us to send them the questions. With the interviews of those 9 businessmen we launched Failory.
We almost don’t have to convince people to tell their failure experience. Most entrepreneurs are really enthusiastic to help other people and collaborate with their failure story. In fact, today, entrepreneurs are the ones who contact us telling us they have failed with a business and asking us to be interviewed.
- What are some early signs that a startup is going to fail?
Each start-up is different. Each cause of failure is different. However, there are some ways to anticipate the failure of your startup:
- When you don’t know your customers
- When users arrive to your website and instantly leave
- When your users stay in the free plan
- When there is no boss
- When one co-founder believes he is the boss
- When there is no love for the team
- When there is no passion in the team
- When there is a bigger competitor
- When building the startup for yourself, not for customers
- When the only objective is to get investors
- When you stop following the business plan
- When there is no future plan
- When there is no left money
- What are the online tools or apps, you recommend to other entrepreneurs?
I always assure myself that the tool I am going to use meet my needs. My top 10 online tools are:
- Google Spreadsheets
- Google Analytics
- Mac Calendar
- Product Hunt
- What do you think are the most important qualities for an entrepreneur to succeed?
In first place, the most important quality for an entrepreneur to succeed is persistence. An entrepreneur has to keep working in his objective, no matter anything. If something goes wrong, search for a solution. If he took the wrong direction, go back and select the right one. If his company fails, start a new one. But a successful entrepreneur would never give up.
In second place, an entrepreneur needs to be self starter. No one, except himself, is going to tell him what to do. If something needs to be done, the entrepreneur needs to start doing it himself. There will not be a boss who will tell him to do it.
And in third place, to achieve success, an entrepreneur needs to discipline. He cannot wake up and decide he is not working that day. For a company to succeed, many things need to be carried out. An entrepreneur has to be disciplined and work hard.
- What is your and your venture’s future plan? (both, short and long term)
When we launched Failory, people gave us thousands of ideas we could carry out in a future. One of the most recommended was the creation of a podcast. We are about to start working on it…
And in long term, we have already thought of executing events where failed startup owners will tell the audience about their failure stories in a more dynamic and interactive way.
- What is the one book you think that every entrepreneur should read?
I am a huge fan of Hacking Growth by Morgan Brown. You will learn how to develop products and features that drive growth directly.
- Tell us your favourite motivational quote.
Robert Fripp said once “There are no mistakes, save one: the failure to learn from a mistake”.
Do share your thoughts in our comment section below.
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