Success Leaves Clues

Success is not an accident. It leaves clues, and these clues can be found in the stories, habits, and strategies of those who have already achieved what you aspire to. Understanding this concept can accelerate your journey to entrepreneurial success by learning from the experiences of others.

The Essence of Learning from Success

One pivotal conversation with my mentor made me realize that there are no cookie-cutter routes to success. When I lost everything and asked him what to do next to become a success again, he said, “I can’t tell you that, Nicola, because what I would do to become successful again is not what you will do. You have to figure it out for yourself.” This advice underscored the importance of self-discovery and the individuality of each entrepreneurial journey.

Seeking Inspiration

During that challenging period, I began interviewing successful entrepreneurs for my podcast, "The Business Success Factory." Each guest shared their story and offered their most valuable tip around mindset, marketing, and money—three critical pillars of entrepreneurship. This experience not only opened doors for me but also helped me identify patterns of success.

Reading business books further reinforced this understanding. Two books that particularly stood out were "Getting To Plan B" by John Mullins and Randy Komisar and "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries. These books are traditionally aimed at startups seeking investment, but their principles are equally valuable for bootstrappers. They emphasize testing business hypotheses quickly and inexpensively, viewing each outcome as valuable information rather than a reflection of personal failure.

It was very empowering to learn that even someone who has been mega-successful in the world of startups, could fail on their next venture.  That even those success stories, starting again, had to create a hypothesis of what might work, for which market, and then make an offer and just test, test and test again.

Applying Lessons

The key takeaway from these resources is that no one can guarantee your business's success. Variables change, markets evolve, and even past success in one area doesn’t ensure future success in another. Therefore, it's crucial to treat your entrepreneurial journey as a series of experiments. Develop hypotheses about your business ideas and test them diligently.

For example, if you believe a particular product will sell well, create a prototype and get it in front of potential customers as quickly as possible. Collect feedback, make adjustments, and test again. This iterative process helps refine your offering and increases the chances of success.

Another critical aspect is to avoid getting too attached to outcomes. Success or failure in an experiment doesn't define you. Instead, it provides data that guides your next steps. This mindset reduces the emotional rollercoaster often associated with entrepreneurship and allows you to make objective decisions.

"The Lean Startup" book delves deeper into these concepts, offering detailed methodologies for conducting experiments and interpreting results. By adopting these approaches, you can make more informed decisions and pivot quickly when necessary.

Recommended Reading

To further delve into the concept of learning from success, consider these recommended readings:

  1. "Getting To Plan B" by John Mullins and Randy Komisar: This book provides strategies for testing and pivoting business ideas to find the best path to success.
  2. "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries: It offers a methodology for creating and managing successful startups in an age when companies need to innovate more than ever.
  3. "The E-Myth Revisited" by Michael E. Gerber: This book discusses why most small businesses don’t work and what to do about it, emphasizing the importance of systems and learning from successful business models.


Success leaves clues, and by learning from the experiences of successful entrepreneurs, you can accelerate your own journey. Treat your entrepreneurial efforts as experiments, focus on continuous learning, and don’t be afraid to pivot based on feedback. These principles will guide you towards creating a successful and sustainable business.

Inspired by one of 25 lessons from my new book 'A Better Entrepreneur'

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash


founder success, getting to plan b, iterate way to success, Lean Startup, new business, SUCCESS LEAVES CLUES, success mindset, test test test, which business

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