Today I wanted to be vulnerable and transparent with you on some things that I’ve done wrong in my business. Some mistakes that I’ve made a long the way, that will hopefully help you from making similar mistakes in yours.
So here goes nothing:
Big Blunder #1. Not setting up my e-mail mailing list from the beginning.
I’ve heard it said over and over… and over, the money is in the list.
I’ve had my design business now for several years, and have always wondered why my business wasn’t thriving as much as I wanted it to, or as much as it could. The bottom line is that I’ve done a poor job of communicating with my followers. I have been working to fix this issue the past several months, and now have an opt-in freebie that I think helps other small business owners tremendously in exchange for their e-mail address. This allows me to e-mail my fans on a more consistent basis, and enables me to send them special offers and upcoming fun stuff.
So, needless to say, I’ve been way behind on building my list. My advice is to start your list from the beginning. Don’t wait for everything to be perfect, because perfect will never happen.
Big Blunder #2. Not having insurance.
I didn’t have insurance from the beginning because I couldn’t afford it. Yet, when my house got broken into and all my photography gear was stolen, I also didn’t have money to repurchase my equipment. It’s much worse to not have any equipment at all than it is to pay the small fee for insurance every month. I’m happy to pay that fee now for the peace of mind it gives me!
Seriously, before starting your business, take the time to get all of your ducks in a row. It pays off in the long run.
Big Blunder #3. Letting my blog go for months and months without posting so much as a word. (Then doing the same on social media).
Again, communication is key. One of my favorite business heroines April Bowles-Olin always says that just because you build it, doesn’t mean that people are just going to show up to your blog one day and start buying from you. Seriously, there’s a bazillion websites out there on the internet, and how in the world are people supposed to find you if you aren’t putting your voice out there? I’ve made this mistake in both my design and my photography business!
Take it from me, if you want people to know that you’re open for business, then you’ve got to open the doors each day, hang new signs in the window, change out old stock, move things around for the seasons and specials, etc. just like you’d have to do for any brick-and-mortar business. Even if you’re in a service oriented field like my businesses, you still have to do these things to drive traffic to your site.
Try to be consistent with it, even if that means you only blog once every two weeks, or only post to Facebook once a week. Something is better than nothing, and sometimes is better than no times.
Big Blunder #4. Saying yes to too many things.
Who am I kidding?! This is still a struggle for me. I definitely have a hard time saying no, but I’m working on it. Just try to remember that it’s okay to say that maybe you don’t have time right now, or to suggest someone else who may enjoy the job more (and who is more talented to do it).
Don’t feel like you must take every job that comes your way, especially if it’s something that you have no clue how to do. Rather, take some time to perhaps do some of your own personal work. For instance, if you are a photographer and feel like you might want to add to your portfolio, but really don’t want to photograph (let’s say) birthday parties…don’t. Instead, take the time to find or create a photo shoot that you want to do and push yourself in your own work. You will still get experience, you will still add to your portfolio, yet you won’t be taking on something that you don’t really care to do.
Well, those are four of my biggest blunders in business. I know that I’ve made other mistakes, and I will continue to make mistakes as I learn and grow as a business owner. The greatest thing, though, is that business owners who survive are the ones who’ve been willing to make the mistakes and fail. So, hopefully this post was helpful for you.
What mistakes have you made thus far in your own business? What things are you afraid to do wrong? Leave your comments below!