lessons learned

Episode 7: My $10,000 Mistake (a.k.a. What NOT To Do When Starting Your Business)

You know that old show “What NOT To Wear”? Well this episode of MYOTBiz is the OT business podcast version of that show. Here’s my list of what NOT to do when starting your business. A few of these I learned from experience (you’ll hear about my 10K mistake…I’m SO embarrassed to admit this one…and honestly, thought about editing it out of the recorded podcast more than once. But I kept it in to stick by my promise to always be honest with you all, even if it makes me not look good.)

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Drum roll please…..the 9 Things NOT To Do When Starting Your Business:

  1. Don’t offer too many types of services. The riches are in the niches, folks...and so is your sanity.  Start by offering ONE really good service and DON’T start another until that one is successful (or totally bombs).

  2. Don’t hire quickly.  Sometimes we are growing (a good thing!) and get desperate for help.  Hiring quickly just to fill the opening will usually be twice as much work in the long run.  Slow growth is not bad.

  3. Don’t think you can do your books on your own. YOU CAN’T.  Run, do not walk, to hire the nearest bookkeeper or accountant who can help manage your finances.

  4. Don’t price your services too low.  People value what they pay for.  We are all helpers by nature and want to help people.  If you want to give away services, offer scholarships...but keep your prices high so people will value your services.

  5. Don’t pay for an expensive website or logo.  I spent way too much on mine and almost immediately regretted it, even though I love it.  There is no way to tell if it was helpful to my business, but in retrospect, I think learning good copywriting is MUCH more beneficial than a pretty website or logo. Read “Building a StoryBrand” by Donald Miller and “This Book Will Teach You How to Write Better” by Neville Medhora. DIY website builders work great. I recommend Squarespace for aesthetics and for ease of use.

  6. Don’t wait to manage your cash flow. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: read Profit First by Mike Michalowicz.  WISH I had done this when starting out!!

  7. Don’t buy expensive equipment you don’t truly need. Constraints make us more creative.  Ask yourself: “Do I really NEED this?” before every business purchase. (Which, you might notice, I SHOULD have done before paying designers for a fancy website and logo.) :)

  8. Don’t be afraid to consult a lawyer. You must ask a lawyer if you’re in doubt about any legal issue. Get a good referral to an honest lawyer, ask your question(s), cough up the $300/hour, and move on with confidence that you’re legally in the clear. Here’s the NOLO Press book I used to set up my California corporation.

  9. Don’t be afraid to spend money on a business coach when you are just starting out. This was extremely helpful to me in the early years (and NOW…just did a session last week with a business consultant to advise me about scaling and expanding my business to multiple locations in different states.)

Will you be honest and share a mistake you’ve made in your business start up? What did you learn from it? Comment below!