How to Overcome Failure
with Ben Kaplan
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In this episode, Josh talks about entrepreneurial failures and how failing isn’t always the end of the line. There are so many times throughout life we run into challenges and we run into different hurdles and we don’t take action on them.
You have to shed those doubts and believe in yourself to keep moving the needle forward. He also interviews Ben Kaplan, CEO and founder of Wigo, about his young start to entrepreneurship and his rise to success. Ben built Wigo into a viral college social network worth over $15 million in less than one year. Ben shares his insights on dropping out of college to go full time with his business. You’ll hear how he overcame the doubts, fears, and pressure to become such a success.
I am Josh Felber host of the Making Bank Show. Today we are discussing failure and how failure limits our growth. How failure limits our potential and what to do about it. There are so many times throughout life we know run into challenges and we run into different hurdles and we don’t take action on them. That’s because we’re limited by fear. Fear is right there always in the back of our brain and it’s like, “Don’t do this. Don’t go forward. Don’t make that happen.”
What we have to do is we got to stop listening to fear. One of the things that happened to me is I lost millions of dollars in the Dotcom Crash. Afterwards, I was paralyzed. I was paralyzed by fear to reinvest money in the stock market to move forward with starting another business.
I didn’t know what to do to get do it. For me, it was just I was scared and I was angry that could have happened to me. Then just that fear of failure. One of the things that I brought myself back to reality. I was thinking was everybody has that innate ability in them to overcome fear. We were all kids. You were kids, I was a kid and there was many of times that we just went and did things. We weren’t frozen, we weren’t paralyzed by it and we took whether we climb a cliff and whether or climb the tree and jump out of the highest tree branch. There was so many things as kids that we did. We never thought about fear like, “Oh, well this is just not going to be good for me.” We lose that as we grow old into adulthood. I think it’s from the different … Could be from our parents that get instilled in us, teachers, different coaches and things.
It’s just that piece that we lose. One of the things that we have to do is entrepreneurs as we have to move forward then we have to find that kid in us again to go out and go after and start crashing fear. I want you today to start going out and crashing the fears that you have whether it’s small, little ones. Start with those in little steps. One other things, I want you to think about is for example Warren Buffet. He’s one of the richest people in America in the world. He got rejected by Harvard. If you think that rejection of … Failure who not get into Harvard, stop them you wouldn’t be worry that today. Richard Branson, he was a high school drop out. If dropping out of high school, Richard Branson would have let that hold him back, he wouldn’t own Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Airlines, Virgin Hotels as well as SpaceX. Take people to the moon and then to outer space.
Some of the signs that happen for failures with perfectionism with everything has to be perfect and we keep working at that knowing if we can kind of keep working at being perfect, we’ll never going to fail. The low self-esteem or low confidence, we have that low self-esteem or confidence in us. As well as you maybe self-sabotaging yourself as coming up with different ideas why not to do things or not scheduling something tasks that you need to do and put them in your calendar on purpose to not move forward. Those are just some of the signs that you may become aware of with failure and how to get through that. Some actions that we can take one as identified the root cause. What is that root cause of failure? A lot of the reversed back to how are we raises kids, parents could have been too strict or a teacher too controlling or maybe a coach.
You hear that word no all the time in your life and hearing that word no makes people like, “Oh, man. Shall I take that next step. What happens if I fail? Are they going to be mad at me?” For me, that’s a tough balance. My kids, my two boys are four and my daughter is six, you try to watch what you say and trying not to tell them no to not want to limit them. Number two is simplified break it down into actionable parts. Break process of what you want to do and overcoming that failure down into actionable parts. Number three, you have to realize fear is inevitable. We all are experiencing it. You experience, I experience and if you’re going to get anything out of life that passion, that meaning, that purpose it’s time to embrace fear.
It is your calling to go out and embrace fear. One thing you have to realize as you’re going to fail more times than you succeed, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, he empowers his employees to fail because that’s going to innovate. One of the things I want you to know is that failure is temporary. Failure’s only a temporary thing and at any event, it’s never you as a person is failure. Number six is shift your perspective. How you look at things. Look at failure as a blessing, negative periods of time or actually learning periods. Then the biggest piece is taking action. For me, I was paralyzed after the Dotcom Crash to move forward to do things. Getting out and taking action and doing is going to accelerate you pass fear. When we come back, we’re going to have Ben Kaplan who was a college dropout. His company is now worth $50 million in less than a year and I Josh Felber host of the Making Bank Show and Whatever It Takes Network.
I am Josh Felber host of the Making Bank Show. We’ve been talking about failure and been able to overcome that. Right now, we have Ben Kaplan, Founder and CEO of WiGo. Ben started WiGo out of his dorm room as freshman year. He built it into the college only viral social network worth over $15 million a year in less than one year. Ben, I’d like to welcome you to Making Bank.
Ben Kaplan: It’s nice having here, Josh.
Josh Felber: Awesome. Ben tell us a little bit about how you got started a little bit about your company, how you came up with that concept and what WiGo is?
Ben Kaplan: Yeah. Sure. We pronounce it WiGo.
Josh Felber: WiGo.
Ben Kaplan: We are going out and all go. During my freshman year in college two years ago, just my classmates asking the same questions throughout on the weekend. Who’s going out? Where we going? That start of thinking why is it there a platform social network where it’s onto my support and that’s why I setup to create with WiGo.
Josh Felber: Awesome. What is WiGo actually accomplished? What is it do?
Ben Kaplan: WiGo at the same school quickly figured out who’s going where every night and allows you to kind of collaborate in a photo kind of long touch of your night. Not only you quickly see what time people are going to which bar. You can also post pictures you kind of build the height of the event. Then kind of wake up in the morning the best moments from the night before. Then a very safe trusted network of only college.
Josh Felber: Awesome. How did you create this whole viral aspect with it and just be able to drive it to such success in the short amount of time?
Ben Kaplan: Yeah. We’ve done a lot of things strategically then I think a lot to bring on but at the end of the day really comes down to word of mouth kind o growth. It’s the idea that college students get excited about. I give them one or two answers but I tell people that it’s either damage stolen idea this for two years now or I can’t believe I’ve started it. It’s such a good idea. We’re always asking every Friday, where should we go, who’s and where. It’s a problem most college gets really relate to and get behind. What they hear about it is it’s kind of more about finally not like, I don’t know if I should trust that. I do a lot of things that kind of build the hype around the ask for example.
Each school is locked and tell a certain amount of students of that school were on the wait list at which point we unlock it so that kind of it’s a lot of a viral. That’s just an example of a tactic we use. Which exclusively lead to almost post the image and make it more desirable.
Josh Felber: Awesome. Yeah. It creates that excitement and the students and everything just like wanting to have that and be able to utilize it. That’s definitely awesome.
Ben Kaplan: other schools while they’re on the wait list so not only do they say I don’t know what this is but now they can see how, “Wow. University of Maryland or Coast of Carolina University,” or whatever. They’re all having responding, “Come on. We need to unlock it ASAP because we’re missing the outcome of that promo factor.
Josh Felber: Right. One other things, I remember is you guys have you drop let people in the different schools or you hire people at the different schools that you’re looking in to go into. They go and kind of start promoting and creating that excitement for you guys, right?
Ben Kaplan: Yeah. We really kind of like to go after the top wonders of social media at the school so make things classes going out after 3:00 so kind of find and have to turn . Or one of the things sports teams on campus and game through those guys and girls who start tweeting about it, Facebook posting about it because it’s kind of circle down effect of purpose social ladder there, so we definitely take that pretty seriously. We have over 200 campus webs from the schools across the country helping providers right now.
Josh Felber: Excellent. Ben, with this you’re out of college when that started or are you dropped out of college or what, fill me in.
Ben Kaplan: Yeah. I dropped out. Yeah.
Josh Felber: Okay. When were you in your freshman year or?
Ben Kaplan: I dropped down this past summer and it was after my sophomore year.
Josh Felber: Okay.
Ben Kaplan: I do to move up college before dropping out.
Josh Felber: What pushed you to take that step because obviously that’s a gigantic step and a lot of people, “Whoa man I don’t know if I can head down that path.”
Ben Kaplan: Yeah. It’s definitely risk anytime you potentially like altered decision like that. I was fortunate enough to have a lot of support from them, my friends to kind of make that decision but then it was my choice. What happened Josh was I have to develop and launch it at my school during my sophomore year. I was at a point were over half of my campus was using the app, seeing request from other schools to, “Hey. Let us use it.” That sounds very cool, so I was kind of starts around where the manage like a team of people to take this be on my smaller campus. I knew it would be a full-time being and so I started thinking about apps and then at around the same time, John I’m pulling the student and author and kind of put me on my steady job.
It helped me go from the point of being so there’s a combination of getting the 500K and the initial student also that kind of success at kind of my school. That there’s a combination of things that made me really want to stay as top bringing national and had to borrow all my time and efforts so you have a chance.
Josh Felber: That’s awesome. What did you use for yourself to overcome those fears of taking that step and pushing past those limiting beliefs of, “Yeah, man. Am I going to be able to do this, what happens if it fails. What people are going to think of me?”
Ben Kaplan: Yeah. I think a lot of it is just kind of believing in what you’re building. Honestly, there’s kind of do that and that you and I could be a college dropout with no degree, no job, no app. Let’s be honest, Josh I believe of what I was building. I saw the traction that we built at my school, the app in just a short amount of time with really no team at all just myself doing my program. I was a believer that okay take this thing and it would work elsewhere. The number one for support thing is believing yourself. It was nice all along the way, “Oh, man. I made a huge mistake but college is either to go back to it. For me the most success just kind of jumping and you really just go after this.
Josh Felber: Excellent. Ben have you always known that you wanted to be an entrepreneur or is there something that just popped up when you started it in college?
Ben Kaplan: Yeah. I would say this is definitely like the most serious thing I’ve ever done in, but I think most entrepreneurs yourself included, is kind of like the spark in the back of your mind from when you’re little guys. I tried to try four years ago the world’s first floating yoga man, year before that I was going snacks and drinks along the page I’m kind of were. I’m always kind of scrappy and why to build stuff and change stuff but this was the first time I really did something on a big scale.
Josh Felber: Awesome. Ben, we’re going to be right back after this break and I’m excited to learn a little bit more about your path to entrepreneurship. This is Josh Felber on Whatever It Takes Network. We’ll be back in a minute. Welcome back to the Whatever It Takes Network. I’m Josh Felber, host of the Making Bank Show. We’re back with Ben Kaplan, Founder of WiGo and we’ve been discussing failure. Ben, I want to get a little bit more specific what was that moment when you’ve realized like, ”Man. I can lose everything,“ and you said you had some sleepless nights and everything. What pushed you pass, I know you said passion and you believed in it but just a lot of different people out there to have that passion and that belief but they’re just scared to take that next step. Give me your thoughts on that.
Ben Kaplan: Yeah. Our app, our whole platform on a very simple calendar with small limitations. Where every college students so they started nice. For example, they have an exam period where traction is pretty well supposed to Friday night before spring breaks. It’s definitely a roller coaster and you’re watching you down more to say engagement one. You’re high and next really well so that’s a really nice a question why is it going on and or why is it grow faster. I think I really does the fact to believing yourself, believing your team. I am fortunate enough to hire and unleash on tactic and market. I know that as we ride the highs and lows, we prepare ourselves back as well but it’s always where I think people who start company as you here Josh it kind of fill the rest. It’s exciting I have been wanting to take a steady job that I like, I would have done that after graduating school but I live with a resting and I love it.
Josh Felber: Awesome. Just to kind of give some our listener, Ben what are some of that emotional roller coaster that you went through and then how did you manage that on a daily basis to keep pushing yourself forward?
Ben Kaplan: Yeah. Like most startups are tacky, you know what I’m saying. Are we going to exist and there’s other times but it’s like, “Hey, Facebook come straight at you.” That’s kind of it’s arises the spectrum obviously there’s variance there. I think I don’t speak from my personal experience as a CEO of the company. I had a team and so I always try to learn by the impression that no highs too high and no lows too low meaning if I put it in the office, slow make down. Since I started the company I think they’ve with us, the people work on and someone’s recruiting. It’s the same kind of rejected that might go into the how they … Are they doing their job.
I was saying to compared as a really great and I loved it, so just me and my team we celebrate and do the high fives . There is going to be another assets so I tell keep myself going and keep going not like the high score and the low practice need too much because I triple out.
Josh Felber: Okay. Great. I know that’s an excellent advice especially from where you experience with everything is as being able to try to find that balance. Be able to push through those different days and understand like, “Hey. There’s someday that they’re just going to suck.” I know it’s just temporary and failure is temporary and just being able to push through that and move on to that next day knowing what is going to bring or what that outcome is. We’ve got an email in when we ask, what we’re doing for the show. A guy named Joe, he’s here in college and a similar situation as you. Has a startup that he’s working on and his question was how were you able to take and move through just being able to dropout and then know that you’re going to be okay.
I know you had an excellent team and I know we’ve talked a little bit about pushing through. What kind of advice would you give him and them empower him or encourage to go ahead and take that leap of faith and know that it’s time to go ahead and do that?
Ben Kaplan: I want to be clear that I don’t necessarily encouraged people to dropout of school. I got that myself and the two might like to go this hire and dropout of college sophomore so I encourage dropout of school to do this full-time. I think if the opportunity is you kind of … You have to take this serious done. For me I knew from where I was in this class celebrating about some presentations of our work on the class. I was sitting, listen to my professor and all I think about one year I also had to do once I found it. At that point, I have never seen a class again. This is now what I want to do. I want a job just to get on it because even if I do that I don’t know if I want to go to that after. For me it’s to that.
Obviously like it’s risky if I step by trusting it. I was locked in and I have to see waiting for me if I decide to do. You have to way all options the financial active like choice options what I going to be doing out here, it doesn’t work, it does work. I would say definitely make sure that there’s some traction behind the right performance side to drop everything. In my case, the app went very well on school and I do that and I just by doing that just. Because some idea on my experience I dropped high school and so you have the substance approve that you’re doing that ignore. I guess I’m very old, hear something cheap, let it break or learn from those. This time I’ll tell you a lot about your next four years as supposed to thinking about it before.
Josh Felber: Now that’s definitely an excellent advice. To go ahead and it’s all personal situation from what I gather to what you’re saying but you have to go back. I remember when I was a kid and you’re probably doing, you’re 8, 9, 10 you just … It really have that fear of anything. You go on and trying new stuff. You would whether climb the tree and jump out of the tallest branch or whatever it maybe. That’s part of that we have to get back to that and be able to empower and just take fear head on and just go after it. Knowing that things are always going to be better in the long run with making that decision.
Ben Kaplan: Josh. I have a quick answer to that. Jim Carrey has really resonate with me throughout this whole process and he was a pretty funny guy, comedienne but decided to take the job and become the financial guy. He did want to doing it the core were more same option. What happened was that I ended up getting fire from that stage of job. Jim Carrey realized you’re going to spend your whole life doing the same thing that’s still whole workout so you invite to take a risk and go. I kind of reap by that model.
Josh Felber: Awesome. That’s some great advice and Jim Carrey is a funny guy for most people. Within your time frame here of WiGo, what’s the best piece of advice you’d ever received that you want to share with our listeners before we wrap up?
Ben Kaplan: I would say that from this it’s being obsessed with the metrics. You can kind of one number set why we’re growing at this rate and I really understand how it’s being used, why it’s being used. For the more obsessed you are with the natural part and why is this more I guess and this is more I guess during the high that we both was going that. I think really focusing on what’s actually happening on this looks like it’s fine. I think the trends is almost transaction across the board. Just being obsessed and if you’re going to start a company you got to be obsessed with the numbers and obsessed with the product.
Josh Felber: Awesome Ben. I really appreciate you’re coming on today and I am excited to have you on here. Ben Kaplan from WiGo. I’m Josh Felber of the Making Bank Show. Thank you.
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