Business Failure or Strategic Relocation?: It’s Your Call

by Marcus Sheridan

business failureNote from Marcus***:The following is a guest post from Danny Iny of Firepole Marketing. Danny has been working his back-side off around the blogosphere lately with some tremendous guest posts along with the great content he has been sharing on his own blog. I hope everyone enjoys this powerful personal experience of his and has a great weekend. :-)

A bead of nervous sweat trickled down my forehead.

My heart pounded and my fingers trembled as my eyes darted across my online banking statement. My bank accounts were all empty, and my credit cards were maxed out.

I felt shell-shocked. My start-up company had crumbled, and my last employee was gone.

What was I going to do? Circumstances had left me with over a quarter of a million dollars of debt, and my consulting practice had completely dried up.

I had no money, no income, and no prospects… only debt.

How did I get here?

A Dream

I wanted to make the world a better place, and I thought I’d do it with a start-up company.

We built educational software to help kids learn how to read. I bootstrapped the company through prototypes, proof of concept, a product launch, and market testing.

The product was great – kids loved it, and so did the experts in the field. But I was young and inexperienced, and I made a mistake. Parents and teachers – our actual customers – didn’t get it.

We were bleeding money, but managed to pivot the product to an educational virtual world for kids. Feedback was spectacular, and all we needed was money to make it happen. I spent every penny I had to keep it going long enough for an investor to write us a check, and just as we were getting tantalizingly close…

The markets crashed. Game over.

I was so far in the red that I forgot there were other colors. I had to let my employees go, and wind the company down. Meanwhile, I had been so busy with my start-up that my consulting business had been neglected, and the pipeline was dry.

I was terrified. I felt trapped, cornered, and completely out of options.

How would I ever pay off that kind of debt? How could I face the people who had supported me, and were expecting great things? Who could bail me out of a mess this big, and how could I live down the humiliation of even asking?

I had invested so much of myself and my identity in my start-up company – could there even be a life after its death?

I’d come this far… how could I bring myself to retreat?

Retreat is not in my vocabulary…

Two words changed my perspective.

Back in the days when I wore a soldier’s uniform, I was trained never to use the word “retreat” – that word does not exist in the military. Sometimes you have to withdraw, or regroup, but it’s never a retreat. So what do you call it?

“Strategic relocation”.

Back when I first learned this, I brushed it off as military bravado and posturing – macho wordplay, nothing more.

Fast-forward to the disintegration of my start-up, and these words became profoundly meaningful. Yes, I had been routed by circumstance. Yes, my goals were thwarted, and I felt titanic pressures weighing on my shoulders. Yes, I had to put my dreams of start-up success aside for the moment, and focus on rebuilding the foundations of my life.

But it wasn’t retreat, or surrender. It was just a “strategic relocation” – I was taking a step back to put myself in a better position to achieve those goals.

I began to put my life back together. At first, it seemed that it would be an undertaking of impossible proportions, but as they say, there’s only one way to eat a cow… one bite at a time.

So bit by bit, I ate that cow. I rebuilt my consulting practice, repaid my debt, took on new projects, and built new businesses.

The first step is the hardest one…

When it’s dark and stormy, and you’re staring at that road that stretches so far ahead of you that you can’t see its end, it can be terrifying to take that first step.

There’s only one thing to do, though. Take a deep breath, grit your teeth, and take that step. With every step that you take, the road gets a little shorter, and pretty soon you find forks and surprises in that road that you never thought would appear.

As entrepreneurs, our businesses are so much more than a job – they’re almost like our children, and extensions of our identities. That gives us drive and passion to take on risks and achieve wonderful things , but it also makes it that much harder for us to deal with the biggest setbacks.

Take heart – even the most difficult experience contributes to a brighter future. Speaking for myself, a lot of the things that I learned through my start-up have become the lessons that I share with my consulting clients, and to our marketing students  at Firepole Marketing.

It isn’t just me, either – every great success that I know got there through a series of “strategic relocations”.

Can you relate?  Do you remember a time when your “strategic relocations” led to success? Or are you facing a “strategic relocation” right now? Please share it as a comment…

Danny Iny is an author, strategist, serial entrepreneur, and proud co-founder of Firepole Marketing, the definitive marketing training program for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and non-marketers. He regularly helps small businesses navigate or avoid their own “strategic relocations”.

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{ 80 comments… read them below or add one }

Danny @ Firepole Marketing April 29, 2011 at

Marcus, thank you so much for creating such a robust and engaged community that you’ve created here at the Sales Lion, and for allowing me to share my story with them. I’m honored to be here. :)

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john Falchetto April 29, 2011 at

GReat to read you here Danny :)

You share a great story here. We all need to fail and crash, maybe even a few time, at different levels to know which way is up.

Strategic relocation? Yep, I call it getting back up, dust yourself off and start building. After a while you know when things aren’t working you quit early and find a direction.

Yes I used to Q word, and I don’t think its a bad word. I think many times we are programmed to never ‘retreat’ as you say and to keep going. Sometimes we need to stop, quit the inaffective approach and choose a new tactic.

Have a great weekend in my beautiful city Danny, when is the big day?

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing April 29, 2011 at

“I call it getting back up, dust yourself off and start building.” – I agree, John. In the words of Rocky, “it isn’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep on going”. :)

The big day is September 10, and we’ll be spending the beautiful weekend assembling our hand-crafted invitations. :D

Cheers, my friend!

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Mike Meikle April 29, 2011 at

Danny,

Tremendous article sir. I too am currently going through a “strategic relocation” at the moment. It is very tough to stare down at the wreckage and wonder how you are going to rebuild and despair can be an overwhelming force.

Plenty of soul searching is involved and days where you cannot concentrate on anything as the thought of what has transpired fills your mind. But you eventually understand that life will go on and you have to make the effort to rebuild. So you dust yourself off, take a deep breath and begin again. It’s the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do but I put in the effort everyday to make forward progress.

Thanks again for sharing your story.

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing April 29, 2011 at

Thank you very much for your very thoughtful comment, Mike. You’re right – it’s incredibly hard to stare down at the wreckage and wonder how you’re going to put it all back together. The answer is always the same, though: one brick at a time.

It can be the hardest thing in the world, but it gets easier, and then it gets better.

I looked at your website, and I like your style – I’ve subscribed, and I’m looking forward to learning more. If you want to chat about this further, shoot me an email to danny (at) firepolemarketing (dot) com – if there’s anything I can do to help, I’d be very happy to connect.

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Lori Gosselin April 29, 2011 at

Danny,
WHAT a story! I was up and down with you, feeling your pain!
I love how you changed some words – “Strategic relocation” – and changed how you felt about moving on. Words are powerful, aren’t they?

I totally relate to this: “As entrepreneurs, our businesses are so much more than a job – they’re almost like our children, and extensions of our identities.” That makes it that much harder to stand back and take get perspective on things, especially when things are not going well :o

Can I remember a time when strategic relocation lead to success? Well, the crashing markets took a while to affect us, but affect us they eventually did. Most of our customer base is in the US. I could see it coming – a scary thing. Here were were in September and I KNEW the last four months of they year would not do what they usually did – make up for the first eight months!

That was when I was first meeting with my coach and the combination or circumstances and his knowledge of social media led to the creation of my blog. THIS is what I love to do – write and network and community build. Will I be able to monetize it? I hope so, but I have other irons in the fire too. It was a strategic relocation with other components shifting too. In all I believe it put us in a better place, it is now, and the long run will tell its own story.

Thanks for all this (sorry so long – you just got me thinking)
Lori

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing April 29, 2011 at

Thank you for your kind words, Lori!

Yes, absolutely – words are very, very powerful. They frame everything that we experience, and a small change in the words can change the whole experience.

I’m sure you will be able to monetize – you’ve got a thriving community going. I subscribed, and I’m looking forward to being a part of it!

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Lori Gosselin April 29, 2011 at

Yay! You will be an awesome sharer over there!
Lori
P.S. See! I can be brief ;-)

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Vic Magary April 29, 2011 at

I can definitely relate! I lost my storefront fitness and martial arts studio and went bankrupt. A year later my “strategic relocation” still has me helping people reach their fitness and weight loss goals, but through the medium of the internet. And I think that’s where a lot of young entrepreneurs make their mistake – they get the message right (that’s where their passion lies), but they screw up the medium for no other reason than lack of experience.

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing April 29, 2011 at

As they said, good judgment comes from experience, and experience, well… that comes from bad judgment! :)

Another one that I like is that experts are the ones who have already made all the mistakes in their field.

So here’s to your expertise and mine, Vic! :D

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Jk Allen April 29, 2011 at

What a story Danny, wow! And your start-up product sounded very interesting and down right cool – considering the purpose it was created for. Love it!

Prior to this, I was unfamiliar with the concept of Strategic Relocation. But after learning what it means – I’ve been there too.

One of the biggest things that sticks out for me was my decision to move to Colorado for college, from California where I’m from. I left a lot behind and kind of felt like I was running/retreating to take an easier route for my life. When I made that decision, I left some key people behind that looked up to me. Because of this, the idea ate me up during my first semester. But after my eyes opened and I saw what opportunity that could spark in the future, I focussed in and made the best of my relocation. Sadly, those I left behind haven’t been so fortunate…but that’s where I come in now – to be a better leader for them, to offer direction and help them get things together.

That’s my little story Danny…a different type of strat relo…but still fits the build.

Great job with this Guest Post!

What up Marcus – Awesome guest post from Danny, thanks for hosting it!

PEACE

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing April 29, 2011 at

That’s a really touching story, Jk, thank you so much for sharing it with us! It’s really a perfect example of what I was trying to articulate; it’s taking that step away to regroup and strengthen your foundation that allows you to do better for the people you want to contribute to in the present, and in the future. Thanks, Jk!

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Randy Cantrell April 29, 2011 at

We think of going to the gym and working out when we hear, “No pain, no gain.” However, I believe it’s true in life, careers and business. We’re made better by suffering and learning endurance. I’ve strategically relocated more times than I can count, but it’s amazing how much more resilient a person can become when they put in the work. Thanks.

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing April 29, 2011 at

Amen, Randy – you’ve got it exactly right. There’s a great quote from The Last Lecture (by Randy Pausch), where he says something like “the brick walls in the road aren’t there to keep you out, they’re there to give you a chance to show how much you want it”. Sometimes it takes a little while for us to navigate to the other side of that brick wall, but we grow and get stronger from the experience.

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Peggy Baron April 29, 2011 at

Thanks for sharing, Danny. It’s encouraging and inspiring to know you can hit rock bottom, or below that, and still come back. And not only come back, but come back stronger and wiser and able to use that experience to help others.

Sometimes I think we need to not wait too long. We should stop being so busy periodically and look around and answer ourselves honestly, “Is this really working?”

Thanks,
Peggy

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing April 29, 2011 at

I agree with you 100%, Peggy – a lot of us could save ourselves a lot of heartache if we just stopped to ask ourselves that simple question a little more often. Thanks for nailing that home!

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Dino Dogan April 29, 2011 at

I was wondering what you meant by “Strategic relocation” but then I figured it out…it means sucking it up, facing the reality and moving on lol Am I pretty close?

Cool story Danny. I;ve had an experience like that myself at least once. I sunk a ton of money into a biz that went nowhere… it took a lot of strategic relocation to get a move on, disband the biz, suck up the losses and learn from it.

Are we wiser for it? We have to think so, otherwise we’d be embarrassed, humiliated and depressed. So yup…we are definitely wiser :-)

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing April 29, 2011 at

Yup, you’ve got it right, Dino.

Haha, and yes, you’re right – we have to get wiser, because the alternative just sucks too much to be a possibility! :D

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Debbie @ Happy Maker April 29, 2011 at

Thank you for sharing Danny. I have been at rock bottom before and when we look at it as stepping stones and learning we do come back stronger. Sometimes when I see people that life is great, everything is taken care of for them, I feel a little sorry for them. We only become stronger with the hills, valleys and curves in the road. Sometimes the big canyons we have to cross.
The key is to always fall forward when we fall!
Thanks again for sharing.
Debbie

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing April 29, 2011 at

“The key is to always fall forward when we fall!” – I love it, Debbie. Thank you for sharing that!

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Christian Hollingsworth April 29, 2011 at

I think right now I’m certainly going through a strategic relocation. A personal, inner relocation. What’s been bothering me lately – is not knowing what lies ahead. Being scared and a little nervous at the outcome the next few years could take me. All the possibility of failure and succeeding lie ahead; but the fear of the unknown is certainly something that tugs at you.

When that relocation is positioned – with the best of intents in mind; I think great things can come to fruition. If you have others in mind first, their best interests, and to make a difference in this world.

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing April 29, 2011 at

Christian, you’re right, the not knowing is the hardest part – that and the knowledge that whatever it might end up being, it won’t be what you had originally hoped. And you’re even more right that as long as you have the best interest of others in mind first, everything will work out in the end. Thanks for your comment, Christian!

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Harriet April 29, 2011 at

Now thats an interesting way of looking at it! Failure or relocation… I like it! It definatley helps to put a positive spin on these things doesn’t it!!!

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing April 29, 2011 at

It does – and it helps us learn from the experience, and make the most out of it going forward. :)

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Stuart April 29, 2011 at

Danny, I’ve seen you around the comments section of a few blogs now, including Marcus’, and I’ve wondered, “Who is this guy? I’ve heard the name before…”

Then it hit me – you wrote a guest post for ProBlogger once about getting Guy Kawasaki to do an interview! Correct me if this is wrong, but I realised then that this was one guy who was going places. I mean, decent places which are worth going to and aren’t cheaply advertised ;-)

I’ve got a guest post for ProBlogger coming up in a couple of weeks, and I’m very excited. We’ll be able to call each other ‘ProGuests’ soon ;-)

Seriously, this was a great read; very open, very heart-felt, and meaningful in a way that makes you sit up and believe that here is a guy who has complete conviction in what he does. Few men are like that in this world Danny, so consider yourself blessed :-)

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing April 29, 2011 at

I’m really, really flattered, Stuart. Yes, I wrote the “How I Landed Guy Kawasaki (and Copyblogger)” post on ProBlogger, and I’m touched by your kind words.

I’m looking forward to reading your gust post on ProBlogger in a couple of weeks – please shoot me an email to danny (at) firepolemarketing (dot) com, to make sure I don’t miss it!

(And also, look for another guest post of mine on Problogger on Sunday!) ;)

I’ve subscribed to your blog, and I’m looking forward to reading more great stuff from you. Have a good weekend, Stuart!

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Stuart April 30, 2011 at

Thanks for subscribing champ, I’m heading over to Firepole Marketing! See you there ;-)

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paul wolfe April 29, 2011 at

Hey Danny

Interesting post. And kudos for being honest.

The whole strategic repositioning thing is how I ended up working more online – I have an online business too, I manage a band that plays at weddings, corporate events, charity balls and the like. Only without realizing it – we were too busy – the bulk of our client base had become corporate companies, especially the banks and financial institutions in the City (the London financial sectior).

When Lehmann Bros went belly up in September 2008 so did that business. The phone stopped ringing – and didn’t ring for around 9 months. (And that was a wrong number LOL!)

So I was faced with a choice: either make my then fledgling online business work, or find a job. So I busted my ass – I put in 15 hour days, yada yada yada, did what was needed. Prior to that my online business was something I kind of played with – an hour here, an hour there.

Looking back though I can see it was a brilliant education. Because some months I had to look at the shortfall in income and go: OK I need to make $1200 or $1500 this month, what can I create and sell that will do that? (And the bass guitar market is a tough market – fully HALF of my YouTube market have NEVER bought a single thing!)

Now that business is starting to snowball…and I do maybe two to three days work a week most weeks on it. Which leaves those other days and evenings for One Spoon stuff. At some stage I must write a formal ‘Why I’m Glad Lehmann Bros Went Bankrupt’ post.

Two big guest posts this week – you’re rocking the blogosphere! Looking forward to our call tomorrow.

Paul

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing April 29, 2011 at

It’s four, actually… ThinkTraffic on Wednesday, SteveScottSite yesterday, The Sales Lion today, and Problogger on Sunday – I’m going to need a week to recover, though! ;)

Paul, seriously, you should write that post – in fact, I’d be honored to have it run on Firepole Marketing, although I understand if you want to save a gem like that for a bigger audience, like Problogger or Copyblogger!

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Riley Harrison April 30, 2011 at

Hey Danny,
Well as they say timing is everything. And when one is in the middle of crisis, hurling platitudes and witty sayings at the problem really doesn’t help (plus you risk getting punched in the nose) but in retrospect lessons can be learned and wisdom can be gained. Anyone that has had significant success in their life has probably experienced some whopper failures early in their career. Failure is a great teacher and apparently a part of the formula for eventual success. Yours is a great story and I wish you continued success.
Riley

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing April 30, 2011 at

Thank you very much, Riley. When you’re going through something like that, the platitudes don’t help, but stories of others who have been through something similar can feel like a real lifeboat. I remember reading The Last Lecture (by Randy Pausch) at the time, and it really made a difference for me. Thank you so much for your comment, Riley!

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Elena Patrice April 30, 2011 at

Dear heavens Danny do I relate to this post! It physically affects me because I relate so well!

Two years ago my world fell apart in less than a 30 day period and I lost EVERYTHING! (my business, my home, my car, etc – talk about humbling!!) and now I’m “eating that cow” and he’s a big-n’! ;)

You don’t know how much you inspire me though because you’ve been there and eaten the cow! I need to know about people like this and I need to feel that hope that helps me get up every day!

I’m a single mother with no other support, so retreat was definitely not an option. I called it “regrouping”. I never had time to fall apart (though internally and spiritually I suffered tremendously). I didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it returns if you just keep going. As I look back, I see the glory (I just wrote about this exact same thing on another wonderful bloggers site.). What a journey and I bet you look back and think the same. I’m extremely grateful for it all and I never thought I’d say that, but I’m in such a better place now even though I still struggle.

Thank you, thank you for this awesome post and making my Saturday!! I needed this so, so much!

GREAT guest post Marcus! Now I’m going over to check out your blog Danny …

Much kindness,

Elena

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing April 30, 2011 at

Elena, I’m really touched and honored by your comment.

I do look back and feel exactly the same way – I learned so much through the process, and I wouldn’t be able to do the things I’m doing now if I hadn’t experienced the things that I had experienced then. I didn’t think I’d ever be grateful for it either, but today, I really am.

Have a wonderful, wonderful weekend, Elena, and I’m looking forward to connecting with you on Firepole Marketing!

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Danny Brown April 30, 2011 at

Holy shit, Danny, what a powerful story!

It takes balls to see your dream “die” (for want of a better word) and wonder if/how you should go on. Many give up, never to try again. Some (like you) learn, rebuild and reposition. And that’s when the real success happens.

Major kudos, mate, you have my utmost respect. And it’s not just because you have the best first name in the world ever. ;-)

Marcus, thanks for giving Danny the spotlight, mate, loved it.

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing April 30, 2011 at

Thank you, Danny (yup, awesome, awesome name!) – that means a lot, especially coming from you, and I’m really touched and flattered.

It might feel easier in the moment to slink back into a cave with your tail between your legs, but we all have value to contribute, and as hard as it might be, it’s just irresponsible to retreat and never try again.

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Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur April 30, 2011 at

Great to meet you here on Marcus’s blog, Danny.

What a compelling story with a profound and lasting lesson!

The line that jumped off the page for me was … “Take heart – even the most difficult experience contributes to a brighter future.”

In our hearts, those of us faced with strategic location really do want to believe that’s true. And, of course, it is. But it’s sure hard to embrace that truth when you’re wading through muck and mire and struggling to keep your head above quicksand.

However …

When you fall off the horse, the best thing to do is get right back up in the saddle again. And that’s precisely what you did, Danny. You didn’t let devastation dictate your life or control your actions.

Your strength and determination held far more power than your bank account statement.

Thanks for an inspirational read!
Melanie

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing April 30, 2011 at

It’s a pleasure to meet you too, Melanie!

You’re right – strength and determination are the most important resources at our disposal, and we have them in abundance, even when we think we’ve run completely dry. The key is to keep putting one foot after another – eventually, the scenery starts to change.

I’m really touched by your kind words – thank you so much!

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Christina Crowe April 30, 2011 at

Danny, this was fantastic! Wow. While I can’t relate to exactly what you’re going through, I can understand how you felt.

I’ve been in that type of situation too many times to count – the feeling where you’ve been running for miles through a thick fog carrying a heavy weight on your back, trying to get somewhere but having that place always out of reach. Until you suddenly find yourself at a dead end and the only thing you want to do is just sit down and cry.

Give up.

And really, that’s the easier option. It’s so easy to just give up and let things be the way they are – lose faith in yourself and let things go even further downhill. It’s much harder to accept your situation, and actively work to change it – make things right and make things work.

This was truly inspiring, Danny. I’m so happy that you were able to work things out and get back on the right track. Good luck with your future business ventures! And remember: Everyone makes mistakes; it’s what you learn from them that matters.

Christina

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing April 30, 2011 at

Christina, thank you so much for the kind words and the encouragement!

You’re right – when you’re in the middle of it, it’s much too easy to just give up and let things spiral out of control. Sometimes we need to do that for a little bit – but the longer we let that happen, the harder it will be to pull out of the nosedive.

So we have to take a deep breath, and maybe even bite down hard on something, and start putting one foot in front of the other again.

The vividness of your description shows that you really know what I’m talking about, and your support means a lot!

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leon Noone April 30, 2011 at

G’Day Danny,
Inspiring story: thanks for sharing. If there’s one thing that 30 years’ running a business has taught me it’s the value of persistence. another is that marketing isn’t everything but everything is marketing.

Thanks too for not mentioning your oversize swimming pool, your ranch in Montana, your holiday “cottage” in the Bahamas and how your long suffering wife and half starved children can breathe easily again because internet marketing saved you from penury.

As Danny Brown says it takes balls to fail and bigger balls to rise again. Personally, I wouldn’t use vulgarisms like “balls.” But I must support my Celtic associates.

Congratulations on many fronts. Goodonyer to Marcus for giving you airtime.

Make sure you have fun.

Best Wishes
Leon

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing April 30, 2011 at

Thank you for the encouragement, Leon! You’re right, persistence is the key. I haven’t heard “marketing isn’t everything but everything is marketing”, but I really like it!

Oh, and it was easy not to mention the oversized swimming pool, ranch in Montana, holiday cottage in the Bahamas or starving children – I have none of those things (but I am getting married in September, and moving into a nice little condo with my fiancee!).

You raise an important point, though – people love to sell biz-op sort of things with the promise of a rags to riches rescue from real life, and that never happens. The turnarounds can happen, of course, but only through persistence and hard work.

Thanks for driving that home, Leon!

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Sally Brown April 30, 2011 at

What a great post! I don’t know how you could have ever not been a good writer. Your posts paint a wonderful picture to the reader.

I am now in another “strategic relocation” phase of my life. An early retirement due to health issues, has brought me to discovering again the life of a writer. Previously, I had always been too busy, but now is the perfect time. I am really enjoying the learning curve and connecting with other writers and bloggers.

The beginning of this new adventure was, to say the least, was very painful. Each day I felt I was wrestling with a foe who was much stronger than myself. However, as you said, I took one step at a time, one day at a time. I remained positive and now have my own blog. Thanks again for this post. Sally

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing April 30, 2011 at

Thank you, Sally, that’s very nice of you to say.

The changes are always hard – so much of the difficulties in life lie in the difference between where we hoped we would be and where we find ourselves to actually be.

It’s great to hear that in spite of that challenge, or perhaps because of it, you’ve forged a new path for yourself. Congratulations on the launch of your new blog, Sally!

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Diana May 1, 2011 at

Yes. Oh boy. Yes.

When I was reading the post, I could sense that sinking feeling you had when you saw the market imploding exactly at the time when you needed it to explode. When you are sitting on that side of destiny, it’s not so easy to dust off the boots and rethink things. Especially considering that the once solid ground under those boots has suddenly turned into moss covered river rock. In the early spring. When the water is so cold it will kill you in a twenty seconds.

I got the shivers just reading it. I’ve been there. We quit our jobs and moved from Germany to Italy, sold all of our possessions – including our home – just as the German economy was tanking. All of our money was in US dollars, and guess what. That tanked too, to a level that no one ever could have predicted. We still invested it all, whatever we had left, in a pile of rocks that we restored into a B&B on a hill here in a country mired in bureaucracy and conflicting building code (read: spend twice what you have to for half the quality and be happy the workers showed up at all). Fear? I learned to hate adrenaline rushes and the ensuing headaches and sleeplessness. The rocks were slippery as hell.

I guess you could say it was both a physical and strategic relocation.

It’s self-realization one oh one. You felt it. And I bet you know more now about many things than you did before it happened. School of hard knocks. I think I’m the better for it. In any event, little things don’t scare me like they did. Big things don’t scare me very much either. I think I have also kind of learned that I actually will figure it out as I go.

Here’s to strategically relocating yourself into a place where you can get your feet firmly replanted so that you can take off again – this time even more sure, savvy and wise. Wonderful post.

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Diana May 1, 2011 at

Oh, man, I hate that Comment Luv thing. Always defaults to my old blog. I have to figure that out.

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing May 1, 2011 at

Diana, thank you so much for your kind words, and for sharing your story with us. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for you to have to deal with all of that, and all at once – you’re right,it’s like the firm ground beneath your feet has turned to mush,and there’s nothing left for you to stand on.

Ultimately, you’re right – it is from experiences like these that we learn the most, grow the most, and develop the resilience and fortitude that it takes to build anew, and reach the great places that we end up reaching. Those wobbly rocks on the path are important steps – maybe even the most important, because they ultimately prepare us for all the rest.

Thank you, Diana, for sharing your story… but I’m curious, how does it end? Is the B&B up and running? How is business? How is life in Italy?

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Diana May 1, 2011 at

Danny, thank you for asking. We are in our seventh season, and it’s actually turned out much differently (better) than we could have imagined. Because we could not do everything at once, we just decided that it might forever be a work in progress. Instead of guests looking on the incomplete parts negatively, they did something much more magical. Many of them started to come back year after year to see what we had managed to do. They felt part of the process. We do piece by piece, figuring out what we can manage financially, physically and spiritually (sometimes the hardest because I have had to learn to respect my limits) actually was the breeding ground for learning for us. Also, because my husband and I had never worked together, it challenged all of our pre-conceived notions about relationship.

We are three weeks into our 2011 season and we are rocking out. Blessings to you.

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing May 1, 2011 at

That’s really wonderful, Diana – I’m thrilled that everything turned out so well!

It sounds like a really wonderful story – you should write a book about it! (sign me up to pre-order the first copy, if you do!)

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Sally Brown May 1, 2011 at

Diana,
I read your comments and took in your story. I got goosebumps reading about how you and your husband have started your B&B, especially the part about repeat patrons. Kudos to you guys!

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Alex Blackwell | The BridgeMaker May 1, 2011 at

Danny,

I’m with you. I’ve found in my business when I pull back and re-set the business plan it’s not a sign of surrender, but of commitment. Nothing stays the same in life or business – so refusing to adapt to change is the the only true defeat.

Alex

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing May 1, 2011 at

“I’ve found in my business when I pull back and re-set the business plan it’s not a sign of surrender, but of commitment.” – That’s really brilliant, Alex, and I think I’m going to quote you on that!

Yes, you’re right – it’s when everything has changed, and we realize that, but we’re still committed to our goals and are going to find a way to push through no matter what that we realize how serious about something we really are.

Thank you for sharing that, Alex!

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Jens P. Berget May 2, 2011 at

Hi Danny,

That’s a very interesting story and perspective. I’m not really a business guy, and I haven’t done any strategic relocations when it comes to “pure” business. But I’ve done it when it comes to blogging (I have now probably shut down about five of my blogs, and I have only two left), and I have done it when it comes to life (I have just finished writing my first novel) and when it comes to basketball (I went to the US during High School to play basketball).

To me, strategic relocation is what you do in order to get something that doesn’t quite work in order to make it work. We do small and big adjustments.

Very inspirational post. Thanks a lot for sharing.

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing May 2, 2011 at

“To me, strategic relocation is what you do in order to get something that doesn’t quite work in order to make it work.” – That’s exactly what it is, Jens, whether it’s in business, or in any other part of life. :)

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Keith Davis May 2, 2011 at

Hi Danny
“Circumstances had left me with over a quarter of a million dollars of debt”

That is some debt and great to know that you ate the cow bit by bit.

A good story, reminded me of the Elton John song – “I’m still standing.”

Good to see you still standing Danny – inspiration to us all.

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing May 2, 2011 at

I love that song, Keith – thanks for the reminder! :)

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Wim @ Sales Sells May 2, 2011 at

Thanks for sharing your story Danny!

The strength of this story lies in the fact that we can all relate to it to some extent. Not only every entrepreneur, but every person on this planet will be faced with failure at some point in their lives. It’s the way we deal with failure that will determine how successful we become.

I wish you the best of luck,
Wim

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing May 2, 2011 at

Keith, you really nailed it: “It’s the way we deal with failure that will determine how successful we become.” You’ve boiled down the entire message of my post to one incredibly powerful line. Thank you!

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Bradley May 5, 2011 at

Hey Danny. Thanks for the gut-spilling docudrama! I lived in Europe for years and “failure” over there is a big setback. You might as well go into hiding for a few years and let people forget–because they don’t quickly. My wife often comments about how here you can fail and people even see it as something *positive* ! Here, people fail, get back up and go at it again and maybe again and again. But they do it, they’re not down and out, they’re just down, then they get back up. Great to see your resilience, it’s infectious.

Thanks again for posting.

Bradley

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Bradley May 5, 2011 at

Whoa, Marcus. What’s that cool plugin that posts my last blog post? *Love it!*

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing May 5, 2011 at

You’re right, Bradley, that’s something that I really appreciate about Americans (and Canadians, like me!). You see it in other parts of the world, too, like Israel, and others (that I’m less familiar with) – but there are also places where failure is really something that sticks with you for a long time, rather than being the learning experience and opportunity that I think it should be. Thanks for chiming in and making that point, Bradley!

The plug-in is CommentLuv, by the way – I’d use it on Firepole Marketing, too, if only it were compatible with Disqus…

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Brad Harmon @ Big Feet Marketing May 11, 2011 at

When I closed my accounting firm, it was like I’d lost a child, Danny. I don’t mean to trivialize the experience of anyone who has actually lost a child, but I can’t think of any better way to put it. I knew I was doing it for a great reason, but it didn’t make it any easier. I found myself battling this great sense of loss for quite some time.

Our character is tested the most when we go through these times. It’s also when it’s displayed the brightest. As entrepreneurs, if we don’t fail we’re either extremely lucky or not trying to grow our business. The experience taught me lessons, and given me an empathy with my clients, that I could not have learned any other way.

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing May 12, 2011 at

I know exactly what you mean, Brad. When you go through something like that, there’s a mourning period – that was my experience, at least. And it’s not easy, even if you know that it’s the right thing to do.

You’re right – it is a valuable experience; it tests our character, and it gives us an empathy that we probably wouldn’t have otherwise.

Brad, a question – I’ve clicked through to your site, and can’t seem to find an email link to get in touch with you – am I missing it?

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Brad Harmon @ Big Feet Marketing May 12, 2011 at

Sorry about that, Danny. The contact page was down. It’s back up now.

http://bigfeetmarketing.com/contact

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Melanie May 30, 2011 at

Hi Danny, this is an astounding article. I like your “strategic relocation” :). Thanks for sharing this great info.

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing May 30, 2011 at

Thank you, Melanie, I really appreciate your saying so! All the best!

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Ana | Traffic Generation July 15, 2011 at

Pleasure to see you guest posting, Danny. :)

I’ve “strategically relocated” my businesses before. It’s not about quitting, retreating, giving up; rather, transforming, improving and bettering.

Ana

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing July 15, 2011 at

That’s exactly right – but it still isn’t easy. :)

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Ana | Traffic Generation July 15, 2011 at

True – never is, but when you have the guts to do it, all I can say is “Congratulations and welcome to the real business world.”

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing July 15, 2011 at

So true! :)

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Jason Fonceca November 10, 2011 at

Powerful, insanely moving post.

Amen to this, you’re an example for us all, Danny and I’ve totally been there. In fact, this inspired the guest post I just sent ya ;)

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing November 10, 2011 at

Thank you, Jason – I’m honored that you found the post valuable, and I’m looking forward to reading what you just sent over! :)

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Yeremi Akpan May 4, 2012 at

Hmm. Danny, this here is one hell of a story. Thanks for not hiding this away in shame, for I see a lot of persons are so ashame of their past failures that they forget the nuggets of wisdom burried in those failures could be warning flags for others, steering them from similar troubles.

I am sure your story has been uplifting to all that have read it.

I have failed too. At a point I even began to wonder if I was capable of succeeding at something.

I crossed that point sometime back, thanks to people like you. :)

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing May 5, 2012 at

Thank you for the kind words, Yeremi. It was a difficult experience, but I don’t regret it – I learned a lot from it, and I wouldn’t be enjoying my current success if I hadn’t learned from my past “failures”.

So take heart – it may be difficult, but we learn from the experiences, life goes on, and things just keep getting better and better. :)

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Geoff Reese June 14, 2012 at

It’s inspiring to read about your death of a dream and the growth and success that came from it. Thank you for being vulnerable.

You may have heard this before. Change is constant. Growth is optional.

Stay Strong and Be Inspired.

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Marcus Sheridan June 15, 2012 at

Love it Geoff, and I really appreciate the incredibly kind words sir. :-)

Marcus

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Chad July 23, 2012 at

Wish my marketing college classes had a lot of this information. I tried to venture off and start a business on my own, but quickly found out I couldn’t make it. Eventually, I adapted and merged with another company to survive.

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Chimezirim Odimba November 3, 2012 at

I love the concept of strategic relocation. I also had to let all my workers go and had a back log of debt. We get so fixated on the cash we lost that we don’t see what we gained: Invaluable experience. Believe it or NOT, Danny, those experiences helped shaped your current success — As it does all those who don’t give up but relocate strategically.

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David May 28, 2013 at

The thing I love about Danny is he comes across as an average guy in a world filled with hype. His advice is practical and practicable by anyone willing to take the steps.

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Michael Bely September 13, 2013 at

Just read it following the link from Danny’s newsletter. It is an interesting experience taking a safer and less risky approach after a collapse. And repaying a debt of a quarter million $ after all is an achievement in itself.

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TJ Greene | How To WordPress 2.0 January 26, 2014 at

I too have “strategically relocated” businesses before. It is important to remember that how we look at life, and the actions we take/reactions we have, are totally within our control.

Accept and own the situation, then transform it into something better and more preferred.

As you said, Danny, all great successes encounter setbacks. The difference is, the people behind them persevered, adapted, and transformed those setbacks, instead of giving up and accepting “failure”.

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