The Magic of Turning Flops Into Opportunities - by Jen Hatzung MotherHustle
“Whenever I question whether to pursue something, I don’t think about if doing it will be a mistake. I instead ask myself if I will regret not going for it.”

Most of my big life changes have happened in the morning.

If I’m pondering a life or business change, I will have anxiety about it for a few days — and then one morning I wake up and know exactly what I need to do. It’s as if my head comes out from behind a cloud of worry and doubt and I have complete clarity.

I used to think every choice I made was going to lead me to think I had made a mistake, in both life and in my career.

But looking back on all the choices I’ve made, I can see how every career or life choice I made was setting me up to be prepared for my next opportunity.

I opened an etsy shop in 2011 (maybe even 2010, my mom brain can’t remember). It was a complete and total dud.

BUT, because I tried something new, I realized that I loved the social media side of having a handmade shop/running your own business. So I began to go to events where I met more people who were in the online world. To give you a bit of perspective, in 2011 none of my real-life friends blogged or had an interest in being on twitter etc. (I had been blogging since 2009!)

In 2012, I tried to start a website and community. It was a complete and TOTAL flop.

But when I was planning to make this great website, I knew I wanted it to be on WordPress. I was clueless about WordPress, and my own blog was on the blogger platform.  My mom knew the basics of WordPress, so I remember asking her a ton of questions and then somehow teaching myself the basics. Knowing WordPress has proven to be helpful in so many ways that I can, without doubt, say that the purpose of my flopped site was to learn that skill.

Not soon after I decided this short-lived website was a flop I was presented with opportunities to manage the social media for two businesses, a non-profit and a company that paired brands with bloggers. Because of my knowledge of and excitement for social media and my new skillset knowing the backend of WordPress, I was qualified to do these jobs.

These opportunities came because I was willing to do things that might be a mistake.

I was willing to put myself out there and go to events where I met women who would eventually hire me for these two jobs. 

I was willing to try new things that my friends and family didn’t fully understand. What some people might have thought of as possible mistakes I thought of as opportunities.

These two jobs allowed me to learn a lot about myself. They taught me about running and managing a business, and, most important, these jobs gave me the confidence to think of myself as a business owner.

When it was time for me to move on from these jobs (at separate times), I had a few days of stress and anxiety. I was questioning myself. I kept asking myself if it was a mistake to walk away from a job that was paying me to do something I enjoyed.

And just as it always happens, one morning I woke up and I knew what I had to do. The doubt was gone and replaced by it was this strong feeling that I had to follow my gut and go.

If you’ve grown as a person and learned new things, then nothing is a mistake.

Anything that I have done and walked away from I have never regretted because I know it was meant for me in that specific season. Sometimes we know that a new season is coming, so we can confidently make a change. For me, that is usually not the case.

When I left my non-profit job, I was working two jobs and clocking about 50 hours a week of work. I decided it was time for that door to close when my husband came home from a 9-month deployment. The plan was to celebrate the holidays (Thanksgiving & Christmas), go on our post-deployment trip to Europe, and then in 2015 I’d be focusing on adoption stuff, my other job, and starting a podcast with my biz bestie.

The reality was I would become pregnant in early 2015 and very quickly deal with the worst morning sickness. Had I not walked away from that job 5 months earlier and let myself explore other things in life, I think the first first half my pregnancy would have been even more difficult. When I left my cool job at the non-profit, I knew I was getting ready to enter a different season, but even I didn’t know what that season was.

I joke that I am an expert in starting things and then quitting them.

I used to think every time I wanted to quit something I was failing and it was a mistake that I had even attempted it. But the reality is, trying new things means you’re willing to learn, you’re willing to be vulnerable, and you’re willing to possibly fail.

Isn’t this what we want to teach our children? To go all in, to try, to be vulnerable and to learn from our “mistakes?”

When I look back on the things I’ve said yes to, I never think of them as mistakes. What I do think of as a mistake is all the things I didn’t allow myself to try. So whenever I question whether to pursue something, I don’t think about if doing it will be a mistake. I instead ask myself if I will regret not going for it.

MotherHustle panelist Jen Hatzung is a business strategist + podcaster (podcast currently on hiatus) who lives in Norfolk, VA with her naval officer husband, toddler and dachshund. She can be found drinking copious amounts of coffee or wine (depending on the time of day) while making lists and strategizing when she can fit in her next run. She currently co-leads her local MOPS group, has her own direct sales business selling lipstick, and does the preschool/naptime hustle helping small business owners with their online engagement. If there is any time left in the day she has her nose in a book or watching HGTV. Find her on Instagram.


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