So many people seem to consider ditching the 9-5 and going for the entrepreneurial lifestyle. The key word here is “consider.” Five years ago, I was one of those people, until multiple illnesses pushed me out of the workforce. Suddenly, jobless, and insurance-less, I had no choice but to reinvent myself as a business owner. Before I got sick, I cushioned my mind with comforting reassurances: you have a job. You don’t need to go out on your own where it’s not safe. You are secure where you are you don’t want to depend on your commitment to a business to get paid.
No, I didn’t.
But without long-term Lyme disease and transverse myelitis, I never would’ve gotten my marketing business off the ground.
A new business owner will contend with obstacles, minus chronic fatigue, and neuropathy. A sick business owner must juggle the need to provide, to rest, to overcome mental barriers, and navigate medical appointments and treatment.
It’s safe to say fatigue, confusion, inexperience, lack of research, oblivious trust and excitement caused some of my worst mistakes.
At the time of these oversights, I was mortified and wanted to creep into a hole. Since these moments, I know that when we make mistakes we are being given invaluable information we would never get otherwise. If we were looking for the right direction to point our intentions, screwing up makes it abundantly clear: DO NOT GO THAT WAY.
Here are my top five fave business mistakes I have made over the years. I cringe even reliving them, but they were absolutely necessary to reach new levels. By sharing them, I am inviting you to do the same. Let’s start living our learning out loud. Let’s not be ashamed of what we didn’t know we didn’t know.
Running a business is such a sloppy process. When you are immersed in the trenches with mud up to your thighs you become an expert in every aspect of your business. That is necessary to run a solid business. You must know the intimate details of each role in your business even if you are not the one responsible for managing it.
Top Five Eff Ups
- That I overpriced a ghostwriting book by about $60,000. This, due to lack of research, credible resources, and the misunderstanding of how my skills stacked up against seasoned ghostwriters. I was told, “Out of all the ghostwriters we talked to, yours was the highest estimate by a LOT.” Lesson: estimating price has everything to do with your experience.
- That I accepted work for an offshore betting company. Go with me here…the assumption was that I would not be doing anything illegal as long as I was only working on the marketing. Still, it felt skeevy and I left abruptly, denied a week and a half of work I had undertaken. Lesson: when you want something so bad you cry in joy when it’s given to you, you will be soon crying for another reason.
- Unfamiliar overseas money transactions to a person named Princess Sunshine or something along those lines… And I repeat: “I still didn’t get the transfer, can you please re-send?” No. But I will block you. Lesson: listen to your gut and if you can’t confirm facts, wait to act until you can. Also, you have the right to put distance between yourself and anyone else.
- Believing the intention of people who want to help “fund” the business and doing no background checking. When a wealthy individual comes along and seems like the answers to your prayers, funneling clients to your door, and then you do research and discover this person has no footprint, it’s time to cut ties. Lesson: you can be a sitting duck to people even if all you are doing is toodling along and minding your business. And sometimes BECAUSE of that. If you appear desperate, beware of what “solution” may show up at your door.
- Charging an average of $37.50 per blog for 32 blogs in one month. Lesson: Don’t be afraid to say no and refuse what is not best for you…or even respectable. Stand your ground on your value. I had this gig for two months and at the end of it…what did I have to show for it? Bloody eyeballs.
Let’s break the business stigma and share our hard lessons to protect other people and save them from our pain.
Finally, it’s so helpful to remember that embarrassment won’t kill you…and you will have to face it again in your business dealings. Extract the lesson, chuckle or cry, then brush off your shirt and move on to better days.
In the midst of those lessons were some of the most joyful days of my life where I discovered the deepest well of my potential.
regerts regrets about that! 😉
Photo credit: Pexels/Gratisography