Jarrod Robinson’s Story: My 3 Epic Fails and What I Learned from Them

You might already know my own success story going from a PE teacher to an entrepreneur. The process was tough at times but also had its delightful and rewarding moments.

But, in today’s piece of my story, I’ll focus solely on the totally wrong moves I had made and the lessons I learned by doing them.

 

Thinking more is more.

Prepare yourself for many LOLs but get ready to take some notes as well.

For starters, the bulk of my problems came from not being focused.

What does that mean?

Let me paint you a picture: can you imagine a classroom filled with a bunch of kids running around without control, wreaking havoc, and tearing the place apart?

If you have teaching experience, you probably can.

It’s the same in business. Just replace children with business units.

I’d been running a website that is completely focused on PE teachers, in order to help them utilize technology in their classrooms more effectively.

It took 3 years for that venture to actually bring me any money.

And, when it did, I earned exactly 93 cents!

So, I naturally assumed that mass production equalled more income:

 

“More is more, and less is less!”

 

It was actually a disastrous failure and I’ll explain how.

My first eBook made me some money. So, why not write 7 more? Okay, I now have 8 eBooks on the market – I’m bound to generate an income from at least a couple of them, right?

Hmm, why not get them translated into Spanish and Cantonese as well? I’ll reach a wider, more global audience!

Do you feel that classroom filling up with kids yet?

I’m only beginning.

Ebook

Somewhere along this track, I had been bouncing around the idea of building apps.

It seemed like an excellent plan. So, I made 60 of them.

More is more, less is less! The more I do, the more I’ll make.

Don’t get me wrong: some of the apps were useful and brought money in. But, some of them were pure disasters and hadn’t earned me a single cent.

Down the line, someone emails me: “Hey, Jarrod Robinson. Why don’t you make Android apps?” And, I make 20 of those as well.

 

Related: How to Improve the Mobile Friendliness of Your Site

 

Is someone still counting?

That would be around 80 kids in my metaphorical classroom already, each one seeking attention; and me, all tangled up in secondary tasks, neglecting the work I did best.

What do I do next?

SAAS Startups. 4 of them, actually. Each one a $30,000-plus venture.

Add another four attention-craving kids into my messy classroom.

It went crazily out of my control, but (and, here’s a LOL moment) I hadn’t realized it yet.

I forgot to mention that I was also visiting countries and doing training courses on a weekly basis.

I’d hop on a plane from Melbourne to Dubai and go back in the same weekend.

It was the most profitable venture I’d undertaken so far, but I hadn’t leverage it enough because I dedicated an equal amount of attention to every other project of mine.

Next!

10+ video courses. Some never actually seen by anyone.

40+ podcast episodes.

A T-Shirt line.

Yes, you’ve read correctly. Wasn’t it a marvellous idea? Teachers need t-shirts, right? Never sold one.

A comic book.

Got them all authored. Spent a fortune of time as well as money away from other main sources of income. Registered a domain, PEComics.com, and everything.

Produced an album.

Seriously.

I made an album for PE teachers. The worst thing you can ever imagine.

I hired a guy in Romania with orchestras and all.

No one ever downloaded or bought it.

All this in a 100-hour work week, since I did my regular job as a teacher along with all this.

So, welcome again to my metaphorical classroom.

Having fun?

 

Related: 8 Simple Productivity Hacks for Ambitious Teacherpreneurs

100-hour Work Week

Every single one of my projects was a side hustle.

I had a hundred students running around in the real classroom with me each day between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m

How much time did it leave for me to pursue my “side hustles”?

A period of about 7 p.m to 11 p.m. #nolife

I managed, for about 3 years, to live like that.

100 hour work week

It came to a point where I could write the book 100-Hour Work Week: How To Kill Yourself.

You see, I really thought that I was doing well for myself.

I had a whole bunch of projects, and I talked about my business with every teacher that I could. I was a teacher myself, and so, was geared towards other teachers all of the time.

I offered products, and, in spite of me not selling any of those, I thought they were very good.

Then, I met James Schramko.

So, I told him what I told you.

Instead of saying, “Impressive work! Well done!” and patting me on the back, he said: “Jarrod Robinson, you need some help.”

I was wasting my best effort on too many different ventures.

It had to stop.

So, we started with how much I earned per hour.

The effective hourly rate is one of the best measurement tools to calculate how much your work actually earns for you.

So, let’s do it for me then, shall we?

calculate your earnings

 

I earned $250,000 per year. It was a solid amount, and I was content.

But, when we take into consideration that I worked 5000 hours per year, my pay amounted to:

$5 per hour.

Divided across t-shirts and comic books, it really was a waste of effective work.

James then changed his statement. He said: “Jarrod, you need some serious help.”

And, we proceeded to the much needed fine-tuning that my business required.

 

Sticking to my Sinkhole Assumptions

So, when I looked over my work, I found that roughly only 20% of my effort went into things that paid off.

It came down to this: I’ll have more impact if I actually get out of the classroom.

I would reach more people. My work would benefit more people. If I don’t do that, it would be my audience that would suffer the most.

I quit my job, and it was one of the best feelings ever.

 

Related post: How to Ditch Your Day-Job Without Ruining Your Career

 

What assumptions are you holding onto right now about your brand and business?

I myself thought that in order to teach teachers, I had to remain a teacher.

It was a complete fallacy.

Another misconception that I believed was that I had reached my peak in terms of servicing my ideal customer which, back then, was a maximum of 20 people at once.

The solution was very simple: take what I was doing right now, and apply it on a grander scale.

For example, multiplying my workshop attendance.

My efforts stay the same, but the difference in results meant the world to me.

Simple as that, and with the free time I got, it was much easier than my 100-hour work week.

learning from failures

When I look back, I realize all of the epic failures I’d clung to and kept repeating.

But, I’ve learned so much from them.

Thanks to those failures, I’ve achieved a level of success that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to attain.

Never mind your failures as long as you learn something from them. It’s what makes the best Teacherpreneurs.

 

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