5 Mistakes I Made in My Business

Starting a business is no joke. Coming up with the idea to start your own business may be easy, but actually making it happen is another story. While I have been doing this for a few years, I have made my fair share of mistakes. Some have been minor, others have been pretty major. I am breaking down my biggest mistakes in my business and how you can avoid them for yours. Learn from my mistakes, okay? Save yourself a few headaches and finish this post.

 
5 Mistakes I Made in My Business
 

Mistake #1: I answered emails past 5pm.

I kind of hate myself for this one. During my first few weeks as an entrepreneur, I was certainly working my business as a side-hustle and had to write a late night email or two to get my to-do list handled. Since I wrote them emails all throughout the night, they thought I was available 24/7. Major mistake. My availability was slim at the time, but thanks to my email habits, my clients thought otherwise.

How to avoid this mistake:

This could go one of two ways. You could just not open your email at all like you should, or you could check out Boomerang. This Gmail plugin is such a lifesaver. I could write an email at 1am and the client wouldn’t receive it until 9am the next morning. YES PLEASE. If you have a bad habit of the late night email send out, first of all, STOP. Second, get Boomerang. Now.

 

Mistake #2: I didn’t always have a contract.

This one is probably the worst on my list. I still sometimes don’t always stick to fixing this mistake, but I am making a self-declaration, never again. I do not care, you make a contract with your clients. I do not care if they are your mom’s best friend or even YOUR best friend. You create a contract. The clients that I didn’t have sign a contract, always found a way to take advantage of my services and make me work way beyond my means. Don’t get me started about payment either. For clients that didn’t pay invoices, that was the worst. Since I didn’t have a concrete agreement to present to them, I didn’t have much room to demand that they get back in line on our agreed upon terms. I found a way to get paid, but the stress could have been avoided altogether.

How to avoid this mistake:

It’s simple. HAVE THE CLIENT SIGN A CONTRACT. I do not care how big or small the project is, get a signature before ANY work has begun. You may have just started or you are years into the game, you need a contract no matter what. Save yourself the stress and get this into your business immediately. Your contract may evolve over time and that is totally okay, but get something in place now.

 

Mistake #3: I was timid about my business.

When I first started, I was shy about what I did and who I worked with. When the question, “What do you do?” came up in conversation, I stumbled on my words. I didn’t know how to articulate what I did and who I served. I felt stupid that I started a service-based business that wasn’t in the direct field that I studied in school or that I worked for myself. The concept was new to me. I thought the goal in life was to work for a large company, not work for yourself. Boy was I wrong. Owning a business is an adventure and a blessing. As an entrepreneur, you have a ton of qualities that the average cubicle worker doesn’t have. You have drive, determination and passion.

How to avoid this mistake:

Encourage yourself with some self-talk. Remember why you started a business in the first place. Develop your elevator pitch for those conversations that start with “What do you do?” Having that one to two-line about your business memorized can make you feel extremely confident in those situations. Also thinking critically about your elevator pitch can help you work through the true meaning of your business.

 

Mistake #4: While I helped my clients, I neglected my own business.

When my to-do list doubled when my business grew, I stayed up late working on client work but didn’t do a lot for Keeping the Creativity. I posted social media on a whim and let the receipts pile up instead of keeping up with my expenses. I had ideas for blog posts, starting an email newsletter and getting a referral program off the ground, but I never set aside time for it all. To be honest, I still struggle with this, but I am becoming way more aware of this.

How to avoid this mistake:

Create a CEO-checklist. What are the weekly tasks that you need to complete to run your business? Need to strategize with your social media? Schedule it! You know, just like how you schedule client meetings, schedule a business work day. Block of time and make it happen!

 

Mistake #5: I felt weird celebrating my wins.

When the stars started aligning and my client roster starting filling up, things got really exciting. At the same time, I was developing a little bit of paranoia. What if after a while, clients thought I was a joke? What if I failed at the project? What if it all went away? My fear took over and I was scared to share the good stuff because I didn’t want to jinx it. In hindsight, this mentality was totally silly, but at the time it was my reality.

How to avoid this mistake:

Treat yo self. While Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle have this concept down pat (Parks and Rec, anyone?), it’s time to follow their example. Sign a major new client? Ice cream, please! Finish that project that took weeks? Date night or girls night out is a must. Figure out your version of “treat yo self” and celebrate the good stuff. Also, SHARE with those around you. Whenever I get a new client or sign a project, my husband says “Babe! That’s awesome. You’re going to be bigger than Walmart!” Not only is he a mega-goober, but it makes me happy to receive some encouragement from loved ones!