Failure Competition Finalist One

It is time to select the winner of this semester’s learning from failure competition. We have selected three finalists. We will feature one of them each of the next three days and then have a vote on Thursday to pick a winner. Last semester we had over 800 votes. The winner should be the story that inspired you the most and gave you the best insight into what failure teaches about success. Thanks to all the participated! The winner will get a letter from me about their story to show potential employers. Here is the first entry:

Student: Steven Bostel

Around 5 years ago my girlfriend (now my wife) went back to school to become a certified esthetician, which is someone who performs skincare treatments based on their unique skin types. I encouraged her to pursue this path because it was something that she was truly interested in. She enjoyed the classes, earned good grades, and graduated. She had high hopes of getting a job at a high end spa or plastic surgeon’s office since she was now certified to work in the industry. After intensive job searching and numerous interviews she soon found out it was not going to be so easy to get her “dream job”.

She soon began job hunting online and in her searching she found someone that was selling their skincare business that was located in a hair salon, at a price that we could afford. Now one might think it would be crazy to open a business with their spouse, some people thought we were even crazier to start a business since we were boyfriend and girlfriend at the time. However, as an aspiring entrepreneur I saw a great business opportunity for the both of us and everything just seemed to feel right. The hair salon was very nice, the people that worked there were very friendly and it seemed like a good fit, so we purchased the business.
We soon found out that there was a reason that the previous owner sold the business… because they did not have any business! It was just not in a good location for the services that we offered. We tried very hard to market and get things going but we simply could generate enough money to make it work. So after nearly two years of trying, we decided to call it quits, cut our losses and sell off the equipment we had purchased. The whole experience truly tested our relationship and our bank accounts. We ultimately felt like we had failed miserably and had nothing to show for it.

In the years to come we would soon find out how much value and experience we gained from our “failure”. My wife ended up getting a job at a dermatologist soon after we closed up shop. It was not the most ideal job but it helped the bills and build up her resume for the next job that she would get at a plastic surgeon’s office, and some spas performing skincare services. She moved from spa to spa for a couple years but then one day saw her “Dream Job” posed online. It was at one of the best spas in Brevard County. She updated her resume and applied for the job. She was selected as the best candidate for the job out of over 150 applicants.
All of her jobs build up her resume that got her dream job.

The foundation of that resume just so happened to be our failed business together. We did not realize it but 2 years of having our own business was a great resume builder for her. It also opened a lot of doors for her and had lasting benefits for both of us. After failing at a business together, without causing bodily harm to one another, we realized we could go through anything together and on December 31, 2010 we got married. We have a great marriage, made great friends along the way, and learned a lot about business in a small amount of time. She is now very happy at her current job and we are pursuing starting a photography business together in our free time. We will not make the same mistakes that we made in the skincare business. If we had not taken that risk five years ago we may not be where we are today. I am very happy that we tried our best and failed. No class could have taught us the lessons that we learned from that experience.


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