Another of our loyal supporters during the 2011 Small Business Influencers voting that led to our being honored as one of the top 100 Small Business Influencers of 2011 was Died on the Vine, the brainchild of Jason Platnick.
Died on the Vine is an outstanding site with a unique, compelling concept, and Jason has some excellent insights about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur — and what to do if you fail. Both realistic and encouraging, the site offers a place for entrepreneurs to learn, grow, and share. Enjoy the interview, then head over and check out Jason's site!
Your company, Died on the Vine, is a very unique concept. Can you sum up what it is for our readers who aren't familiar with Died on the Vine?
Died On The Vine is a place for entrepreneurs to learn from failure. The mental obstacles can be the toughest road to success for most entrepreneurs and statistics will tell you that failure is in the cards for most of them. Our goal is to help those who want to learn and grow be able to separate their emotions from those experiences and use the past as a tool in the present.
The realization and awareness that failure is just the beginning and a part of the process to success is very liberating. Once an individual can adopt this view they can try new ventures with a whole new attitude and approach. Without having all your emotional eggs in one basket you are free to not be afraid, be more confident and overall see things more clearly. We are all about telling people it takes time to get the recipe right, use your past as an ingredient to become successful. It shouldn't be something you run from.
Your site helps people relate their stories and learn from others. What has been the biggest challenge in building your own business, and how have you overcome it?
The biggest challenge is failure itself. Most people associate a very negative stigma with the whole concept. It's hard for most to look at their debacles and honestly assess what went wrong. The biggest part of learning from failure is taking a long hard look at yourself and being honest and that simply is not something a lot of people want to do. We also face all the same issues any blog/website does, is our site optimized properly, are we utilizing a newsletter, do we offer social proof validating what we do and making it ok to contribute. The list goes on and on, and it's all been a learning experience.
We are far from where we want to be, having identified our many mistakes that we have made with regards to our site and online presence. We know a lot more today about marketing, SEO and what makes a good site than we did when we started. The only way we could have learned was by doing, fail and then adjust based on what we experienced. We hope to be able to implement a whole new approach to our concept soon.
How is your company different today from the original concept?
The concept remains the same as far as our site is concerned. As I said we learnt a lot from the mistakes we made with the site and are eager to make adjustments. We originally had a vision of the site and the overall look and feel. But after six months we learned the site simply is not set up properly to draw people in. If we were to do differently tomorrow the site would lead with daily guest blog posts relating to business. The stories themselves would be a part of the site but not the sole basis of the site.
We would overall add more value, provide an active newsletter, give away a small eBook to get people to opt in to our newsletter and utilize social proof to validate what we do. Definitely would keep the site fresh and active, similar to our Facebook page. Our FB page has really been great and has become a very robust and authentic community, and we need to emulate that same experience on our website.
What are your future plans for Died on the Vine? What's your vision for the future?
We hope to implement the changes I mentioned and retool the overall concept. We still whole heartedly believe there is tremendous value in learning from our failures. Our vision for the future is still the same, create a niche that really doesn't exist and in doing so help many people shift their mindsets and find success.
What three pieces of advice do you have for young entrepreneurs interested in starting their first business?
1. Take Action; but do something that you are truly passionate about. Don't "pick" something and do something because you make a lot of money. To be successful you really need to love and believe in what you do.
2. Have a Plan and a clear focus, and always remember to help others. Providing value is critical to succeeding.
3. Be Confident and don't be afraid to fail. Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart, be willing and open to learn from every experience you have and always continue to grow and evolve.
How do you personally define success?
Finding fulfillment in whatever it is that you do. If you make millions of dollars but are miserable and stressed are you truly successful? I would say not. Being happy and content while deriving satisfaction from what you do is so much more successful than a miserable millionaire. Living honestly and following your heart and true voice is success.