Over the years, I’ve had lots of people come up to me and ask, “Andres, what’s the secret to your success?” I guess it’s natural for people to wonder what a homeless man did to achieve the wealth and fortune that I have. If a man without any money, a stable job, connections, or even a roof over his head can attain billionaire status and become one of the biggest property developers in the country, anyone can!
What most people see when they see me is the success that surrounds me. They know that I started out with absolutely nothing, with a sandy beach for a bed and a backpack for a pillow. Seeing where I’m now, they assume that everything I do or venture into results in nothing but success, and they’re curious to know what I did so they can avoid failure.
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Here’s a fact: I’ve experienced my fair share of failure throughout my journey and I’m certain I’ll face more in the years to come. My initial 20+ business ideas didn’t turn into complete successes, but what I learned from those experiences helped me to create 19 very successful business opportunities. Let me tell you the story of my worst business failure.
My Real Estate Agency
The first business I ever owned was a real estate agency. I had just launched it after resigning from my position of sales director at the real estate office where I had started. My confidence was high. In my mind, I was on my way to incredible success, but I still had a lot to learn about running a business.
Several months into managing the agency, I started to struggle. I had very few clients and the sales revenue was down. I needed to pay my office rent, the suppliers I worked with, and my two employees, so I started to borrow money to pay bills and that was the beginning of a downward spiral.
However, I still wasn’t making enough money. My debts were starting to mount. I was two months late with the office rent and I couldn’t afford to pay my two employees. To make matters worse, I received a phone call from the building owners telling me to pack up and leave, as they were going to rent the space to another business. Eventually, I had to declare bankruptcy.
My Difficult Day
I had to face my employees and tell them we were going out of business and that I wouldn’t be able to pay them for their hard work. These employees trusted me, relied on me, and supported me. They each had families who relied on them. Breaking the news to them was one of the hardest situations I have ever faced in my life.
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When my agency officially closed, I started to ask myself a lot of questions. Why did this happen? Where did it go wrong? How could it happen? What situations led to this? What can I do to make it better?
After much-needed contemplation, I realized that my first mistake was renting an office space in a remote part of town where no clients or buyers would visit. I leased this particular space because it was big and cheap. I wanted to go big at first so I could occupy the office with more employees and resources as my agency grew, and make it look impressive for clients when they visited us.
However, I should have focused on lining up clients and customers before I started expanding. Marketing should always come first, impressive office spaces later. With no clients, you have no sales. Without sales, you have no income. With no income, you don’t have anything when it comes to business.
Reflection Led to Realization
What was my second mistake? I had stopped setting goals for myself. Without consciously doing so, I had quit my daily habits of affirmations, visualizations, and meditation when I opened my first company. I had stopped reading self-development books, listening to audio tapes and doing other things that motivate and inspire me.
Allowing myself to become caught in a mental prison, I had started worrying about all the things that I didn’t want in my life again. I had been focusing on sadness and scarcity instead of happiness and abundance.
That evening during my realizations, I took my pen out and started to write down all my goals and desires, from minor to major. When I had finished, I realized that I had not visualized in almost a year. Could it have had that big of an impact on my life?
I went to my backyard garden and sat on my old chair right where I left it over a year ago. It had deteriorated due to the sun and rain. It struck me that, just like the old chair, I had also become worn and tired from neglecting to do all the things that had brought me so much happiness.
I started to meditate again, and after just one session, I was filled with a sense of calmness and was much clearer on what I wanted to be, do, and have in my life. I wrote down my affirmations and applied my auto-suggestions backed by positive feelings. Once again, I was beginning to cover my walls in A4 sheets with strong affirmations written on them. Pictures of material things started to go up in my house and on my fridge, so I could start seeing the things I wanted daily. I was operating from an abundance mindset again.
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Although I had no office nor employees, I still had a small marketing booth at a local shopping mall. I started every morning in my garden thinking of how great it would be with happy clients who loved buying real estate from me. My deep morning meditations filled me with a newly awakened passion.
Things Began to Change
Two months before the next payment on my house was due, I started to get sales and earn an income again. It did not take long until I had a solid database of buyers and investors who urged me to develop a condominium project. I had gained their trust and respect after placing their funds in high-yield property investments. It was natural for me to say yes because I had long been visualizing the goal of becoming a property developer!
Failure both hardens your spirit and teaches you lessons. Success comes when you soften and apply the lessons. Although my first business went bust, I learned a lot of valuable lessons that contributed to my later success. Even if you follow my steps to success, you might still face failure along the way because your path might be different from mine. The important thing is to embrace the failures you encounter, for they will bring you to exactly where you want to be.
About Andres Pira – philanthropist, real estate tycoon, author, speaker, and global citizen. Andres Pira enjoys living in Thailand where his journey began from Homeless to Billionaire.
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