Saying Goodbye To A “Failure”

Hey there!

Almost every business has a failure along the way – in fact, so many companies have failures, or fail themselves, that TechCrunch has a whole area on their site called Deadpool that chronicles those failures (

Recently, I had to shut down a product I had started – and it was hard to do. But it was necessary.

Hanging on to things that aren’t working as well as you’d hoped is a lot easier, but it just delays the inevitable.

Here’s how it felt to kill one of my babies.

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Raw YouTube Captioning

hey there it’s David H Lawrence the 17th
and today I want to talk to you about
what it feels like to in a phrase kill
one of your own babies
to sunset or quietly shut down something
that you had high hopes for something
that you thought might be monetarily
rewarding or emotionally rewarding or
you know socially rewarding or some
combination of those but it just didn’t
quite work out and this happens all the
I mean tech companies will do things as
an experiment to see if they’ll work and
if it’s not doing well they’ll shut it
down a couple years ago Google tried to
add to the number of media channels the
opportunities for people to advertise so
they had banner ads and they had video
ads the hell can they what they decided
to do was to branch into traditional
media like radio and television and they
had the ability to produce radio spots
on the fly I was one of the producers
television spots on the fly newspaper
ads and it’s funny because for them they
shut it down because it wasn’t making
enough money I think in the first year
they had the Google ad creation
marketplace they only made twenty two
million dollars and so it wasn’t
valuable enough for them to keep going
and I don’t think they really you know
mourned the loss of that they tried they
saw and see if it work it didn’t work
for them maybe they’ll try it again in
the future who knows so it happens all
the time but that doesn’t make it any
easier to handle if it’s you that has to
stop doing something you know you decide
to quit a job or you decide to jump off
the board of your homeowners association
because it’s just not something you want
to do anymore
or you try to create an invention and it
just doesn’t work out and you have to
kind of give up on it it’s happened to
me about what we could go a little over
a week ago I had to make the decision to
shut down something that I thought was
going to be very helpful I learned a lot
from it so there was value to doing it
it was the beliefs
you’ve journey errs group we had done a
21-day live every day at ten o’clock in
the morning video on how to take
limiting beliefs we’d do a video
conference online via zoom on how to
take limiting beliefs that hold us back
as performers and figure out where they
came from what their meaning was why it
rewarded us to have those beliefs and
then to replace them with more enabling
beliefs that better served us and we did
that for 21 days straight and a lot of
people got a lot of really great use out
of it and I thought well maybe what
we’ll do is we’ll create a group to
continue this process to talk maybe meet
once a month talk about the struggles
that you have with limiting beliefs and
help each other get in a better place
and it turned out that it the engagement
just wasn’t there I created a similar
situation for all the other things that
I offer and it turned out that some
people were very highly engaged but most
people were not and I realized one of
the things I learned from it is that you
know unlike how to audition better or
how to do better technical work or how
to do better performance work which
comes up on a regular basis
limiting beliefs and that ilk that kind
of like hard to deal with emotional and
personal struggle doesn’t come up on a
regular basis it comes up every so often
and you kind of have to be there to help
or have someone reach out for it so it
wasn’t predictable in terms of a period
like every month we could talk about
things and I think it’s also hard for
people to talk about things like that
you know it’s it’s hard to declare okay
I’m gonna be a part of a group we’re on
a regular basis I tell everybody about
how I’m not good enough or how I how I
feel that it isn’t working right for me
and how I want to fix it so I get that
and what I learned from the process
maybe it wasn’t something that would be
an ongoing group but what I learned from
the process was that I need to add a
fourth tenet to the art Commerce and
science that I teach you know I teach
the art of voiceover the Commerce a
voiceover the building of the business
of voiceover and the science the
technology and what I need to add to
that is the mindset how we set ourselves
up for failure and success these videos
are very much a part of that and so even
though I felt that it was time to shut
it down in terms of a regular ongoing
and for pay for the people that were
involved a product that I had oh my gosh
did I learn a lot about what I’m going
to in sin Institute in the vo to go go
and the ACX masterclass and the
rehearsal Pro and all the other things
that I’m doing in terms of mindset and
so it was a great learning experience I
got a tremendous amount of benefit that
way but to be fair you know it was a sad
time for me because you know here I
thought oh I’ll build this big group and
it’ll be awesome and we’ll help each
other and and I’ll administer it and
I’ll take a small fee for that and it
just didn’t work out and so when that
happens one of the pitfalls that you can
fall into is to just go now let me just
give it a little bit more time and let’s
see what happens and you can do that if
you want to
but at some point you have to kind of
analyze you know what’s worked about
this what hasn’t worked about this is it
worth continuing are there other things
that I might be doing is there an
opportunity cost that I’m paying by
doing this as opposed to something else
or helping something that is successful
for me be even better and when this
happens you know you have a
responsibility to the people that are
involved you know a couple dozen people
put their faith and their money in my
care for doing this and so you have to
be fair with them and say look this
isn’t working out I’m sure some of you
feel the same way because you’re not as
involved in this as you’d like to be or
that I’d like you to be not blaming them
because it’s kind of my responsibility
to make sure everybody’s humming along
and doing really well but then I thought
to myself part of that is making sure
that people have problems to deal with
and you know I can’t I can’t control
that so you have to be fair you have to
tell people what you’re doing why you’re
doing it don’t just slink off go off
into the universe face people that you
meant to serve and you tried to serve
and tell them why serving them ongoing
isn’t going to work and you have to make
sure the money’s taken care of you know
if people have paid things you have to
refund that in my case
there weren’t any outstanding payments
so that was easy but then you have to
meet with them and say hey this is what
I’ve decided I want to thank you we
tried it just didn’t quite work out and
then you know move on I’m actually
leaving the private group that I created
for them open so they can continue to
talk to each other if they want to we’re
just not going to do the monthly
meetings there’s not going to be any fee
that kind of stuff
and this happens often enough in
technology in particular certainly there
have been plenty of companies who’ve
come out with products that have failed
miserably and there have been companies
that have come out and figured they were
going to change the world and they
entirely have failed considerably
TechCrunch has a an ongoing chronicle of
companies that have failed companies
that have had failed products they call
it their Deadpool and a friend of mine
PUD Phil Kaplan used to run a site
called f’d company comm I stabbed him on
the radio show all the time
and he kind of you know made fun of
companies that had really big claims of
their gonna change the world and didn’t
quite do it so you know I’m not asking
for Sheldon fraud you know I’m not
asking for you to be happy about
somebody else’s pain but be aware that
sometimes people put themselves out
there and it doesn’t quite work out and
we sometimes put ourselves out there and
it doesn’t quite work out and you have
to kind of deal with that so both from a
producer standpoint and a consumer
standpoint I guess my advice is to
understand what bravery it takes you
probably know this what bravery it takes
to actually say I’m going to try and do
something and then what bravery it takes
to say yeah it’s not it’s not working
out I have to shut this down and as a
consumer it can be very frustrating as a
consumer it can be like oh that didn’t
work out Oh interesting
so I guess what my my exhortation is is
when these sorts of things happen be
aware that the cleanup isn’t always
it can be if you’re open with either
your customers or with the business that
is shutting down
it’s just it’s it’s it’s a lot of loose
ends it’s a lot of tough things and a
lot of frayed emotions sometimes
certainly there are people who really
are emotionally invested in the success
of their stuff and it can be really
difficult for them in this case this was
more difficult for me than other things
that I tried didn’t work I really feel
for the people that were involved in the
believe journeyer group I I got to know
them really well I got to know some of
their innermost demons and and struggles
and I felt a great sense of joy and
satisfaction when somebody would say oh
my god this has helped so much so that’s
something that I very much profited from
and I really appreciate that tell me
about your struggles with things that
you’ve tried to do you’ve given it your
best but at some point you decided to
shut it down what made you make that
decision is there anything that you’re
still doing that you’d like to figure
out how to shut down but you don’t quite
know how let me know both of those
things in the comments below and
anything else about this subject that
might be interesting to you if you’d
like to subscribe to my channel that’s
something I promise I am NOT going to if
I can add all help it stop before the
end of the year go ahead and click on my
head over there if there’s no head
there’s a subscribe button somewhere on
the page go ahead and grab that if you
want to see the latest video I’ve done
click on that frame there because
they’ll play the last video I uploaded
for you I’m David H Lawrence the 17 and
I so appreciate you watching these
videos and I will talk to you tomorrow

10 Responses to Saying Goodbye To A “Failure”

  1. Kirsten Kopp February 21, 2019 at 8:19 am #

    Wow! Thank you for sharing this. Your heart for people and helping is evident. As you shared, I was getting emotional for you! You invested a lot of your heart into that group and it shows. I am grateful that I can spend a few minutes with you each day – you have so much to share. For me, making the decision to set a date to leave a job that I loved was really difficult. My employers were willing to let me leave it open until my house sold, and it just wasn’t selling. As difficult as it was, setting that date was actually freeing in some ways too. Making the decision to leave was difficult enough, but setting that date seemed so much bigger as time wore on I was torn and waffled about whether I was making the right decision or not, but I did and once I did a weight lifted…. Yes, my house did sell almost to the day of my last day of work, and I was able to make the move I was trying to make.

  2. Ed February 21, 2019 at 9:58 am #

    Well that was a bit of a shock this morning. I have nothing but good things to say about Believe, the group, the concept, and the great effort you personally put into it. I did leave a bit early,but as I explained then it was no reflection on the group.

    I had decided to join VO2GoGo and I could afford neither the small monthly stipend nor more importantly the time, to the Believe Journey. I do not regret a minute of it. Kudos to you for doing it and even more for bringing the concept, phoenix-like, into your other teaching endeavors.

    To share our story of coming to grips with the inevitable. We started an interior decorating and home furnishings business in 2001. We invested and grew. What we couldn’t beat were three major hurricanes and the BP Oil Spill.

    We weren’t the only ones. By the time we closed the doors last September, we were one of only two family owned stores in our market line in the region. Two regional chains and several family owned stores, some in business over 40 years had already closed.

    It’s one reason I got back in the voice business in 2010, the handwriting was on the wall. The business paid its bills, but the only people who ever made any money were our employees and suppliers. Are we better off? Certainly mentally and physically.

    Would I do it again, close up shop I mean? Probably sooner.

  3. Tamara Wexler February 21, 2019 at 10:02 am #

    Excellent post, David! Wow, I can certainly appreciate your emotional response to making the difficult decision to end your venture. I know how much you invest in your students and I also know that the support and motivation you provide, not just for that group, but for all of us, is invaluable. That’s not something that has ended, nor ever will. I was in the situation, several years ago, when I made the decision to stop teaching a kids’ acting class that I absolutely loved, because the studio where I was teaching took so much of my paycheck it wasn’t worth the time I put into it, which was a LOT. At the time, I didn’t have an option for another venue, and so I had to just say no. I did get a few private students out of it who continue to provide a lot of joy in my life, so that’s a win. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Chris Ansoff February 21, 2019 at 11:47 am #

    David, not to take way from the point of the video, I would say that I do not think the Journeyers was a failure. The 21 days was awesome and the follow up group was very helpful to me. I am happy that we still have the facebook group. The whole process helped many people including myself. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into it!

  5. Melissa Benson February 21, 2019 at 2:38 pm #

    It is quite evident that this journey was dear to your heart. That’s what makes it all the more difficult to extinguish the last embers of its fire. I participated in the 21 day Believe journey and I truly loved it. I looked forward to that 45 minutes or so everyday. I have retained so many of the concepts from that event and still have sticky notes everywhere reminding me that I am enough and my past mistakes make me an interesting person ;)

    The far reaching effects of that journey may be unknown to you, David. There were friendships created under your watch. I have become good friends with several other journeyers just from the initial 21 days. A few of us are going to meet in NYC next week.

    Your attempt to keep that journey going only show your goodness and kindness. I wasn’t able to commit to the follow up group but I was a little envious of those who could :)

    Perhaps reviving the 21 days of Believe every so often would make it like the McRib sandwich marketing plan. Make it scarce and then we’ll all be ready for it when it’s available again !

  6. Sheila February 21, 2019 at 4:07 pm #

    I have had a lot of struggles – with a children’s character I developed in 1989… and I let go for a while – but now it is time to update the book so I am working with a new illustrator and we will see where it goes.

    I am sorry that your Believe group didn’t work out as planned.. but everything in life can be trial and error.
    I wrote a verse many years ago that went Believe in Yourself and you can achieve all in life that you believe. And that belief is in you not everything you attach yourself to.

  7. Trenton Bennett February 21, 2019 at 4:32 pm #

    I didn’t like that my survival job overlapped the monthly calls, but I did have a feeling that if the engagement dropped, it wasn’t going to be worth your time to keep it going. I realize the lesson you’re trying to teach here, but I’m not even comfortable with you putting “failure” in quotes.

    Winding it down is accepting that “more of what works” is the Facebook group and “less of what doesn’t” is the monthly calls.

    Thinking of what you said this will change about VO2GoGo and the ACX Masterclass tells me this was a tremendous gain–when you repurpose the concept and apply it to those things, you are going to dramatically increase what sets your classes apart from others. I don’t think anyone could properly match the way you apply yourself to your training and this will make your personal commitment to helping people even more overwhelmingly obvious.

    The week before you closed things up, I’d passed a link to the Believe page to someone who truly seemed interested in it…the problem was, I wasn’t sure what comes next for those who weren’t there. I hope that, rather than have to commit 21 straight days of your time, you can package the existing set of your videos as instructional material that others can self-study. It could create demand for you to do it again for real.

    A few months ago, I’d told my personal trainer about the program. I gave him a link, and at the very least I think I made a difference in helping him understand *why* some of his clients shut themselves down the way they do, why they hold themselves back from progress.

    This morning, as I was talking to someone whose son was struggling to find a way in the world, I talked to him about limiting beliefs–because now I really understood them so much better. I think it will help him as he encourages his son to take chances and learn to try.

    Again, not to detract from the lesson, but…this wasn’t a failure (in quotes or otherwise)…it’s simply ready for another purpose.

  8. Carla Parkes February 24, 2019 at 8:07 am #

    Thanks David! I am struggling with letting go of a business I have had for almost 10 years that serves our senior population My biggest concern are my clients and employees and praying to do the best for them so they remain secure Your words have come at a significant time in this process.

  9. Alexandra Harrington February 26, 2019 at 7:37 pm #

    I just wanted to say that I appreciate your awesome efforts to keep the beloved journeyers group alive month to month, and want you to know that I still use what I learned from the group every day!!! Even though the monthly sessions didn’t work out, I hope you are considering a believe 2019 21 day journey!

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