21 Things We Wish We Knew BEFORE Starting a Business (Learn From Our Mistakes)

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You know how they say hindsight is 20/20? Well, it certainly is when it comes to starting a business. This is what we wish we knew BEFORE we started in business so learn from our mistakes!

#1: No matter how hard you try, you can’t make more time – When you make a list of everything you want to do, attach a time because that is the #1 limiting factor to getting it done.

#2: What stands between you and charging what you are worth is YOU – Let’s face it – if you say a number that is way too low, potential clients aren’t going to tell you that they would pay more. But if you show the value and charge what is reasonable, the only thing between you and getting it is you. Just close your eyes and say the number!

#3: Three words matter more than any branding: KNOW, LIKE, TRUST – People do business with those that they know, like and trust. Period.

#4: Build your tribe – It doesn’t matter where they are or what you call them – subscribers, followers, fans. The key is building a loyal tribe and giving them an easy way to stay connected to you!

#5: Too much money makes entrepreneurs stupid – Bootstrapping is the best way to get started because it means you have to be creative to get stuff done.

#6: Dumping is not the same as delegating – It happens – you get busy, then overwhelmed and so you hire someone in a fit of desperation and dump it all on them, thinking your problems are solved. Not true. You need to properly train and systematically delegate.

#7: If you don’t have leverage, you just built yourself a job – Trading hours for dollars is simply working a job for many employers. If you want to build a sustainable business, you need to look for opportunities to create leverage!

#8: A penny saved is a penny earned – Just because you can call it a “Business Expense” and send it off to your bookkeeper doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep an eye on the bottom line. Every penny you save by seeking out the best deal is a penny you don’t have to earn.

#9: Invest in social currency – Relationships online are the same as in person – they take time to develop and the payout is often immeasurable and down the road.

#10: If the client doesn’t fit, don’t work with them – There is such a thing as a perfect client and no matter how tempting, if a potential client doesn’t fit the perfect client profile, don’t work with them!

#11: The key to networking is clarity – If you can’t explain what you do and how other people can either work with you or help you, they can’t or they won’t – and not because they don’t want to.

#12: People who want to “Pick your brain” will never buy – Don’t waste your time with people who want to pick your brain because it is always for free and never leads to you getting paid for your time or your expertise.

#13: For every “Yes”, there is an automatic “No” – Every time you say “Yes” to something, you are defacto saying “No” to something else – whether you acknowledge it or not.

#14: Marketing is your first and most important job – That means you, technicians – being good at what you do is just the start. You need to let people know about it.

#15: Give word-of-mouth marketing a little nudge – Remind your clients who are delighted with you to thank you by telling their friends. If you don’t ask for referrals, people won’t think to make them.

#16: The best test of your systems is to LEAVE – If you go away on holiday and everything goes sideways or you spend half your time managing your business remotely, start again. You systems suck.

#17: People matter. Find good ones. – Need I say more? In a small business, your people can make or break you. Be particular about who joins your team.

#18: First impressions matter and today that happens online – That’s a nice way of saying, “Think twice before hiring your second cousin who is fresh out of high school to do your web site for cheap.”

#19: Seek synergistic channel partners – The reason is simple: less effort, better results because you only need to establish a reciprocal partnership once for it to pay dividends again and again.

#20: Know that your business will change and evolve – And that’s a good thing. Just don’t do something silly like print 10,000 brochures that will be outdated in 3 months.

#21: Get clear about your strategic priorities – Know exactly what you intend to achieve in the next 30, 60, and 90 days and post it where you will see it every day!

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About Author

Carla Young, momeomagazine.com Publisher If there’s living proof that women can have it all – and then some – it’s Carla Young. Building her multiple businesses on a virtual work-at-home model, Carla is an inspiration to other mothers who want to start a lifestyle business. During her early days as a mom entrepreneur, Carla made every single mistake in the book (and a few new ones for good measure). Realizing that “doing it all” was unhealthy and unsustainable, Carla started by getting organized to the extreme, developing support systems for both her work and family. After other mothers started asking how they too could enjoy her lifestyle, Carla launched momeomagazine.com to support moms at work, at home and at play (because every mommy deserves a little me-time)!

7 Comments

  1. Good information – starting myself as a mom at home owning a business, I surely can relate to each and every tip – like you Carla, I did them all. Now with an office 25 years later, a lot of experience behind me — I love seeing this information put out there for others… Great work.

  2. Great insight, Carla!! Anyone in any business will benefit from this. Even if we already know it, it is a great reminder. Thanks for your continued sharing of information and content that is truly valuable to your readers!! I love it!

  3. Carla, I absolutely loved this!! I’m going to schedule to share it asap on my page. I love your edgy get-at-it attitude when you write. Full of awesome advice!

  4. I especially like your #9 because that has been one of my favorite tools. Knowing whom to contact witj specific problems works miracles when you’re in a bind. Thanks for all 21 points. Nice checklist.

  5. Here’s one to add: create a new personal bank account and order a credit card with a different number BEFORE you start accumulating business expenses. Even if it is a personal bank account and not a small business bank account, this will save you untold frustration. American Express will give you (or you can pay for) an “additional card” that has a separate portion of the account broken out for you until you get your company credit card.

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