Most dictionary entries would define failure as the simple lack of success. While this makes plenty of sense, I'm logging an official protest here and now regarding the common use of the word failure on the internet.
I know you've seen the websites that go to great lengths to remind you of the "95% failure rate" among internet marketers. No doubt you've seen more ads than you can count that tout a "new and revolutionary" product guaranteed to free you from the certain failure you, as an average networker, are sure to face.
While it's true that most networkers don't succeed, let's be honest about why this happens. Most networkers don't achieve success because they quit.
This pretty much sums it up. There is no great mystery to be solved. In fact, the act of surrender is the biggest reason people fall short of their ideals in just about any venture, business or otherwise.
Sure, there are other factors that can be named. Lack of clearly defined goals, too much self doubt, and overwhelming financial obstacles are all good examples of why many people are purported to have failed in business. On the other hand, most successful entrepreneurs have dealt with these exact struggles, and overcome them by refusing to quit.
Progress toward individual (and collective) success is a journey, and is therefore dynamic as opposed to static. While it is reasonable to assume that we may not meet every objective along the way, how can we label our mission a failure if we are still working toward the final destination? If you haven't quit yet, then you have by no means failed.