10 Biggest Mistakes I've Made in Biz
Let's be real - the reality of working for yourself is not as pretty as this Instagram worthy photo above. It is not a beautifully curated experience. It's rough, it tumbles you around, and it can bring your most gut-churning questions to your feet on a daily basis.
Working for myself has taught me about creativity, resilience, communication, and valuing myself. But it has also taught me about doubt, uncertainty, fear, and distrust. These last few things were a bit less fun to learn about.
So, why do we feel so compelled to walk this path? Because, in short, doing the thing you know you were born to do is liberating.
In order to stay the course and keep following my path I've come to grips that mistakes are part of this package and will continue to come along for the ride. I've made far more than 10 mistakes in business. I've made hundreds,thousands if I really sit and think about it.
Mistakes are not the problem. Not taking the things you learn to heart is the problem. These 10 mistakes I share below are the ones that continue to be my greatest teachers. When something feels off in my work, I can usually pinpoint it to one of these 10 things even to this day.
1. I didn't treat my business like a business
I didn't do the things business owners do until much later in my business. I had services and sold things but I was also hesitant to own the identity, "I am a business owner." This allowed me to get away with things that came at the cost of my business growing. Things like tracking and organizing money, consistently market no matter who did or did not show up, plan my business goals in advance, and ask for support.
2. I avoided how much I was spending
The old adage that you'll 'save more when you make more' is a flat out lie. When I finally tipped my way into being a 6-figure business I am sorry to admit that I also tipped into being a 6-figure spender. If someone tells you that in order to be successful you have to spend money, run the other way. Yes, business costs money but not the majority of your income.
3. I spent money on marketing I didn't believe in
I know I am not alone in this one. Every time I doubted myself I would turn to quick-fix marketing and throw money at the problem. Facebook ads? Instagram sponsored posts? Networking groups? These are just three of the many I tried to market myself but never felt at home within. Finding my own marketing rhythm took many hours in my journal being honest and seeking out what I loved about being in business and using that as my guide versus what others were telling me was "the way".
4. I copied everyone else
OK, not 'everyone' because that is a lot of businesses but I did model many, many coaches and practitioners. I didn't do it because I wanted to be a copycat, I did it because I didn't trust myself and I assumed everyone was more successful than me. Turns out, this is a dangerous place to build a business from. It didn't leave any room to get to know myself.
5. I didn't create a schedule for anything
I worked when I was awake, weekends, after dinner, before the sun came up. If a client was available Sunday at 8am or Friday at 6pm I said, "Ok." Somehow I found space to write articles and panic about my marketing but mostly I ran my business moment-to-moment. I felt guilty about creating a schedule or boundaries on my time and energy. I felt so grateful to just have a client I wasn't going to tell them I didn't work weekends or after 5pm. The short answer is I eventually got there but not before I burned myself out trying to meet everyone's needs but my own.
6. I made a bazillion websites
In the beginning, I put far too much emphasis on my website than on getting clients. I would edit it daily if given the chance. I remember thinking, "one more pass at this about page will do the trick and then people will flood in!" Now, logically I know this was a false assumption but it didn't keep me from trying. It seemed like I was less of a life coach and more of a website meddler.
7. I didn't question my mentors
This is a tough one to acknowledge, even to this day. It wasn't that my mentors gave bad advice it's that I didn't listen to my gut and I took every bit of advice as The Truth (yes, capitalized). I remember a few months after a very powerful training looking at my website and not recognizing myself or my brand. I hadn't filtered anything - instead, I'd just taken their word for it and slapped my brand on their guidance. I missed that crucial integration stage which turns out to be a necessary step.
8. I let envy get the best of me
It's a little too easy to thumb through Instagram and move from, "That's a nice photo!" to, "Look at all the ways I don't measure up." This can flip in an instant if I'm not careful. This is a mild experience but there were moments in my business where I not only compared myself, I full on planned my business from this place of not feeling good enough. I set goals, created programs, and sought out marketing from a place of lack.
9. I held my cards too close
There's a popular saying - Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? I deeply dislike this saying. It's become a far too easy justification for not being generous. But I ran my business from this place for the first three years. I wanted payment for everything. Articles, consultations, to even have coffee with me! The trouble is, I am a generous person. I value giving and I wasn't honoring this value in my business. I stopped recognizing myself and I could feel myself dip into some territory I simply don't belong in.
10. I played small
Of all the mistakes I've made (some more than once) in business, this is by far the one that continues to teach me. Playing small for me wasn't about being unpopular, unseen, or even unknown. It was about not trusting myself and allowing fear and doubt to guide my business. I kept myself from trying things, from risking failure, and from listening to my intuition or inviting her to the table.
Even in sharing these, you will make your own mistakes. You will even repeat some of these! And, although I don't wish you unnecessary struggle in your business, I do wish you the gift of making mistakes for what they deliver you on the other side.
If you want to know how I course-corrected each mistake watch this class I taught last month here.
And if your calling is also your purpose and has led you to a service-business then I invite you to join my next masterclass on December 18th - Plan for a Successful 2019. Get on the list and be the first to know when we open registration this free class next week.