“Imagine if you could fail…what wouldn’t you do?”

Time to Read – 4 1/2minutes

I received the following email recently – extract:

I am thinking about quitting my full time job and starting my own business as a consultant.

This is something I have always wanted to do and not had the courage to do it before now! I know the economy is not very healthy at the moment so it might not be an ideal time to be thinking about it, but I think starting your own business is a bit like planning to have children. If you waited until you could afford to have a family, you would never have one.

Anyway, my question is this! I am motivated by the “Imagine if you couldn’t fail” question you pose at the start of the book, but the small voice at the back of my mind is saying “what about all the other hopefuls that start out in business and fail, surely they started out with a lot of confidence about the bright future they were about to carve for themselves?”. I don’t have an answer at the moment for the little doubting voice, so I thought I would send you an email to see what your take on this was.

The sender wishes to remain known as just Alan, so, thank you Alan

My thoughts:

1. Follow the fastest way to be successful – find out someone who has already achieved success and do what they have done. If you don’t know what they did, ask them. This increases your chance of “success” dramatically.

2. In The Naked Millionaire I advise not to give up your day job until you have got another income coming in – this prompted much response, my favourite being – “Who do you think you are, my mother? I will do whatever I want.” Excellent – I do know this from personal experience, if you have responsibilities and you simply have to earn money, you will.

3. Have you ever noticed that those people in life who say “never give up on your dream” never give up on their dream, and those who say “give up on your dream” always give up on their dream, and they regret it until the day they die. 

My advice: Go for it

Can you help Alan – please share your advice here.

With my best wishes to Alan and my love to you all



  • David Pawley

    Be aware of the small voice and use it as a positive force. My view is better to try and then not be as successful as you would like than never try and regret the missed opportunity. Failure only happens when you quit. Good luck and good fortune.

  • Nigel Sandbrook

    Tricky one this – as a banker I have seen lots of people fail, but interestingly more successes than you think!

    I would liken my approach to setting out as going for a swim in unknown waters, what's your natural instinct?

    Do you dip in a toe and take it gentltly or go for the big plunge.

    Both have their benefits but it's how comfortable you are with risk?

    If you have need of an income have you got that covered?

    Have you tried your hand at consultancy already.

    Best advise – take the plunge but think it through…..

  • Steve Woods

    I agree with David P here. What are the doubts? Recognise where the doubts come from and work on that area to ensure that you can answer those voices. There will always be worries and concerns but if the doubts persist perhaps you plan has flaws. Work out what is a worry and what is a doubt. Dispelling (or should that be de-spell-ing) the doubts will take work but will provide more peace of mind.
    I am currently following my own advice and working towards setting up a business in Croatia. Yes there are still worries about money etc but I do not have any doubts that I have the chance to make a difference which could last well beyond my lifespan.

  • Mike

    I want to share my experience in settin up in business. Firstly, you must believe in your self and your trade. Secondly, you must have passion for your trade. Thirtly, you must be very good at your job and have the admin skills you trade requires so you can believe that you can succeeed. Finally, if you do not take risks you never get anywhere in life.
    I took the risk and i now have a very successful accountancy business.


  • David

    Everything that you do in life carries a certain degree of risk of failure. To reduce the risk and succeed in business you need a good idea, careful planning, hard work and a certain amount of luck. Once you have the first one focus on 2 & 3 and the last will follow!

  • gill_kincavel

    Decide what you want to be, do and have – live the dream and challenge your reality, I did, it works!

  • You should attempt to set up your consultancy firm, but still remain in employment until your part time role starts making more money than your 9-5. There are many losts dreams in this world. You have found yours so make sure you breath life into it. Get up an hour earlier and work on your business for one hour a day. Once you start the ball rolling it will snow ball into action. Success does not come from easy choices all the time. If you never took risks you would never have learnt to crawl, walk, run etc. This game of life is for runners and risk takers.

  • Tim


    Is it, 'I cannot afford to do this?' OR 'Maybe I cannot afford to stay doing the 'day job'. (The costs / benefits are not always financial. The day job could be killing you, physically, spritually and emotionally.) It will be bloody, it will be frightening, but you will be awake and you will be alive. You only ever fail the moment you quit, up until that, you are still in the game.

    I made the transition you are (might be) about to make. There are 1001 reasons and people who will tell you this is the wrong thing to do and it will not work. There is a quiet voice inside you telling you what the right thing for you is. Only you really know what that voice is telling you. Do it, or don't. Whatever you do, it will be the right one for you.

    One question for you. When you come to the end of your career, what will be the things you were pleased and proud to have done, and what were the things you regret you never had the will or courage to embrace?

    Apprarently, the average American millionaire has gone bankrupt 6 times before they 'made it'.'

    Recently, a delegate gave me a wonderful mnemonic for what FEAR stands for, it is False Evidence Appearing Real. It is all in side your head. It is what stops you from acting. It is the paralysis that overtook , as a younger man, from asking that person out. Its what stopped you from speaking up in a meeting when someone was talking rubbish. It is what might be stoppign you from being the YOU, that you know you really are.

    Find your passion, find your reason why and with will and determination you will succeed.

    You will make your own luck, but as David gives us, I wish you all the love in the world.

    Go sparkle! Go shine!

  • Chris

    There is only really one answer. You have to follow what your heart is telling you otherwise you will live with that regret.You obviously have the knowledge already so it seems it's not that much of a big step. Make it work.

  • Paul Charlton

    Don't allow youself to ask the question, just go with what you feel. I expect if I had not gone out on my own I may well have regretted it and I have become successful in what I do. Belief in your own ability is a must here. It sounds like you have it so wipe away any doubts.

  • Alan

    Some great advice, thank you!

  • Alan

    I like the idea of using the voice in a positive way by trying to identify its concerns, then making sure I address these issues.

  • Alan

    Thanks Chris and Paul, I think the regret thing is driving me forward. I don't want to be at the end of my career and wish I had done something different with my life.

  • If you haven't already been a consultant then you might want to get some practice at the cycle of finding opportunities, bidding for work, winning it, delivering it, handling contract extentions, getting paid, creating case studies, obtaining client-endorsements etc. You could potentially do this as an Associate to an established consultancy. Charteris plc is an example of a consultancy that draws on Associates where specific skills and expertise are required in excess of the internal capacity.

  • Alan

    Tim, thanks for taking the time for such a full answer with some great advice. I like the FEAR mnemonic, I must remember that one!

  • Alan

    Thanks Mike, some good advice!

  • Alan

    Thanks Steve, all the best with your venture in Croatia.

  • Alan

    I like the swimming analogy Nigel, thanks for the advice!

  • Alan

    I would just like to say a massive thank you to everyone that has provided advice and positive vibes. I am overwhelmed by the response, so thanks to everyone that has contributed.

    I like the idea that you only really 'fail' when you give up and I don't want to get to the end of my career and wish I had given my dreams a chance.

    I think it would be sensible to at least start my business while I am still in full-time employment and that is the route I am going down at the moment, but I guess the difficulty is having the time to work on my new business as well as my job, so I don't know how practical it would be to wait until my business was generating the same income as my full-time job before giving up my day job to concentrate on the business. Also while I am working, I will be limited as to how I go about advertising my services.

    Thanks again to you all and I wish you every success in your own business ventures.

  • Thank you for all of your help and advice for Alan.

  • Alan

    Hi Everyone,

    Great news! Yesterday a new company called 'Chat Marketing' was officially born. My company!!

    Thanks for all your advice and best wishes which spurred me on to take the plunge.


  • […] if you could fail – what wouldn’t you do? An ingenious title for a Naked Leader Week from David Taylor which sparked an enormous response on the […]

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