Last week I kicked off my Failure Competition and interviewed Justin Wetherill in the Exchange. Little did I know when I agreed to Jennifer’s request to interview Justin that the two events would be related. Let me explain…
Justin is a failed accountant. He came to the Dixon School because he knew getting an accounting degree would get him a job even in a down economy. It did. Problem was he hated the job. Life in a cubicle just wasn’t for him. He still needed to eat. So rather than just quit, he and his engineering friend started looking for another path. There were some dead-ends. A failed t-shirt company, more precisely a failed idea for a t-shirt company, still makes him laugh.
Then one day Justin broke his new smartphone. Sending it back to the manufacturer was both expensive and time consuming. So Justin and his buddy started tinkering with how to fix them. Once they figured that out, the business partners starting buying broken phones on EBay, fixing them and reselling them for a nice profit. The business wasn’t sexy, but it turns out that a lot of people break their electronics (you can ask my stepdaughter Isabella.) Soon they had a store. Then two stores. Then forty stores. Then they started franchising stores. uBreakiFix is now an international operation with a big valuation (click here). Ten years removed from UCF, Justin is doing really well. In fact he is doing way better than really well.
Justin would humbly tell you that you can do this too…that there’s nothing special about it. You just need to believe in yourself and chart your own course. Failing to find his passion in accounting took him down a radically different path with a network of friends and family who gave him the support and resources to make his business a success. In the process he didn’t just fix phones, he fixed his passion.
This story would seriously win the Failure Competition. So what are you waiting for? Admit that failure, plan that new course, write about that journey and win our failure competition. Maybe that $500 or letter of recommendation from the Dean will set you on a path where your passion meets your skills and propels you to success.