This is the last thing you need to be a success.  It is something I excel at.  I continue to do it on a regular basis and it makes me more successful each time.   That all important thing is...

FAILURE
Failure is, by far, the best test by which people can figure out success.  If you can fail, then you are half way to succeeding.  I opened up a basic shop in 2006 in order to try and build my empire.   It was a goofy idea for a novelty search engine.  You ask it a question and Mongo comes back with some monosyllabic response like, "You don't have chips... why should I care?"   Yeah, I know, dumb.  Well, I didn't have the capital to fund the venture and since hosting a site and doing the work would cost money I wanted to brand the idea of Mongo in order to maybe sell some shirts or buttons and make some money to put back into the site.  

Well, I failed.   I lacked the faith in my ability to pull it off, the discipline to actually work on making it come alive, I had no concept of what my audience would be or how to reach them and because of all that, I never had business cards to hand out.  But, it was that failure that pushed me to keep staring at that silly face in the mirror.  That Mongo face.  That snarled up lip and beady little eyes underneath that huge brow.  The things that made Mongo what he was were still there and soon Mongo became an inspiration.  I railed against everything in the vacuum of the Internet and began blogging.  Mongo became my co-pilot.  My voice.
But still, no money came in from my rants.  All I had was that stupid little basic shop sitting there for three years because it was, well, free, tied to a blog that no one would ever read.   Then one day something happened.   Someone found Mongo and bought a shirt.   Two shirts to be exact.  I was like Janine Melnitz slamming a manicured hand down on the buzzer, "WE GOT ONE!"  Then I looked at Mongo and he kind of smiled and said, "Do it.  Go fail again."  So, I dropped my credit card on CafePress and opened up a premium shop.  In two weeks, I made back the money I spent on the premium shop fee and the rest is Google Cached History.

But each week I'd experience a number of failures.   For one, half my designs were considered too close to trademarked designs, even though they were parody in nature, and they ended up being pulled from the stores.   For another, I took a day and just went through my shops and found SO many mistakes in artwork that I couldn't believe people would actually buy the stuff.  I started to realize that I needed to take those failures and learn from them.   I started working on honing my design skills, researching for better methods.   I began to think about how to write tips like this for my blog posts.    I saw more ways to turn those mistakes into good ideas.

Now, I'm not saying I'm an expert at anything but I know what I know and so far, some of it really works.  Then again, some of it doesn't.   There are people who are far more successful than I am in this and I continue to seek them out for advice and add new skills everyday.    So, if a guy like me can turn a sense of humor and Internet connection into a profitable and virtually free overhead business, anyone can.

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