If you’re tired of business books that promise to teach you how to make millions from social media, take a break with Raising Eyebrows: A Failed Entrepreneur Finally Gets It Right. Author Dal LaMagna, founder of Tweezerman, uses his own tales of failed entrepreneurship to illustrate learning points. It’s a great read.
This Book Isn’t a Magic Bullet
There’s no magic list of ways to make money in this book. Rather, there are true tales of how LaMagna failed at selling ice cream, running a restaurant and even running for president of the United States. The stories are amusing, and halfway through the book you’ll wonder, How is this idiot going to teach me anything about entrepreneurship? But the secret I’ve learned is that you can often learn more from people’s business mistakes than from what they got right.
In the first half of the book, LaMagna yearns to be a film producer. He tries his hardest and never really gets there. But then he finds his destiny elsewhere (how many of us can relate to that?) in the tweezer industry. I’ll let you read the story of how he got into that business; let me just say he was naked and occupied when the idea came to light.
Here are a few of the nuggets of truth LaMagna shares that struck a chord with me:
Being a partner is somewhat similar to marriage. It requires a generous, intimate trust. I’d absolutely agree with this, and I’ve had experiences with partners that prove it to be true. LaMagna learns the hard way when some of his partnerships fail and he loses friends over businesses.
LaMagna spends a great deal of time trying to raise enough money to get started in the tweezer business when someone asks him, “Instead of spending your time raising money, why don’t you go find something you can do with the money you already have?” I think this is poignant because a lot of entrepreneurs wait until they have “enough” money to get started, and as a result, never actually start. Start small, and reinvest profits back into the company to grow.
And my favorite: A small company is not going to thrive if the founder tries to do everything. I write a lot about delegating, so this stuck with me. As long as you, the owner, try to take on every role that is required, the company cannot grow. There are only so many hours in a day, and you can only juggle so much. Delegate tasks and free yourself to do the things you’re really good at, like running your business.
Why Read It
You have to know by now there’s no magic formula to make your business a success. What worked (or didn’t) for LaMagna may not apply to your business. But witnessing another entrepreneur’s journey (and seeing how long it was might make you feel better about your own path) will give you courage to continue on your own way.