Life and death of a business project

Posted by in Business

When you are juggling a gazillion plus one projects at the same time, failure is not only bound to happen, it’s a necessity.

Success takes a lot of hard work, and a little bit of luck. And sometimes, your luck just runs out.

Julia Elliott Brown, My business just collapsed – the truths that entrepreneurs never tell you about failure

Seeing the death of a business project is rarely a fun experience. And, as a hard-core multipotentialite, I’ve seen more than my share. But every projects that folds makes a little more space for the projects that stick and grow and thrive.

RIP The Vagabond Monkey

Back in January 2018, I was telling you about a new venture that was bubbling into my projects portfolio called The Vagabond Monkey. In a nutshell, my friend John and I thought it would be a fun side-hustle to organize photography trips for people who wanted to travel off the beaten path.

Death of a business project: The Vagabond Monkey
I ended-up taking the first Vagabond Monkey trip alone and had an amazing time in Ireland!

John is a talented photographer, I am a nerdy organiser, we are both avid travelers… a perfect recipe for success. Or not.

We wrote a business plan, we offered a few trips (two of which I ended up taking alone and having a blast) on a website, even did a Facebook ads campaign so see if we could create some interest. But, most of all, we realized that if we were not able to embark our first circle into our project (which were the people we wanted as our clients), it was clear that building trust with strangers to come on a trip with us was going to be very difficult.

Plus, being on two different sides of the Atlantic Ocean was probably not helping either. So, we called it quit a few months in. As it turns out, I’m a lot more excited about participating into one of these trips than organizing it myself. So I’m happy to let other people take this load.

RIP United Job Nation

Another example in the death of a business project series is United Job Nation, a project that I was invited to co-create in 2017.

Closed weekends

Inspired by the boundless creativity of some of our students, and really wanting to help make the world a better place, several professors at one of the school I was teaching at decided to join forces into creating a start-up studio. The goal was for us to brainstorm around Social Responsibility subjects, come up with ideas, test them, and if they had a bit of traction, to put together a team of people to bring them to life.

I loved the idea of brainstorming ways to change the world. And I loved that I was mostly doing coaching and consulting on the projects, and not the day-to-day grind. Oh and I loved that I got to spend days putting post-its on walls, leading design sprints and building business models.

One project, hoping to help non-French-speaking populations (refugees mostly) get a better chance at finding a job that fit their potential and not their current resume (once a janitor, always a janitor) moved pretty far and even won a few start-up contests.

Unfortunately, without any of us realizing it at first, the project died a slow death when two of the co-founder got pulled into new professional ventures.

Those are two quite recent exemples of project failures. And I’m really glad that I had the opportunity to work on each of them. I never felt like I was wasting my time, on the contrary, I got to learn and grow from them.

Today, I’m still exploring new business ideas, new subjects of interest to dig a little bit more on and new ways to satisfy my insatiable craving for adventure while doing my social duty toward our planet and global community. Stay tuned to keep up with the upcoming projects!

Photo by Patrick Perkins