My husband and I have started four businesses together and here are the biggest mistakes we’ve made and what we would do different. Lets start with these stats- in the first year of starting a business over 20% fail, in the first five years almost 50% of them fail, and after 10 years 65% of businesses don’t make it. Those stats can be scary, but in my case, they’re pretty encouraging and here’s why.
In 2008 I started my first business, this one, which started out as a part-time photography business, then I added graphic design and web design, and cut photography completely out when I wanted to spend more time at home with my growing family. Here’s where things really got going. Since 2014 we’ve started three more businesses, four in total. Only one of those businesses “failed”. In my head it really wasn’t a fail, we had some extra cash that we were ok with losing if it didn’t work, it was something that my husband enjoyed doing but wasn’t sure how he would like it as a business. After the first year he just didn’t enjoy it and didn’t see a future in it, so we closed it. Knowing when to walk away in a business is very important. I see people all of the times either investing too much into an idea or trying to hold on too long when things would have been much better if they would have cut ties earlier.
Listening To People Who Don’t Know Your Business
There will be people in your life who genuinely care about your happiness and well being and still not be fit to give you business advice. They may be smart as a tack in their expertise but not in yours. They may only know part of your business or your goals. They most likely don’t know the full scope of your business, ideas, financials, etc. You can’t let people who don’t know everything about your business, the industry, the financials, the short-term and long-term plans give you business advice. This is my first biggest mistake, listening to someone tell me I shouldn’t do something when I SO should have done the thing. I was listening to a podcast years ago and heard someone say this. It is so true.
Starting My Email List from the Beginning
I can’t even imagine how big my list would be right now if I would have started it in 2008. It is mind boggling to even think about what that number could be right now. Have you heard people say you don’t own your social media followers? There is so much truth to that. There are so many stories where people lose their accounts and all of the followers they’ve worked so hard to build. There are even some people who build their business’ home base on social media, yikes.
My husband just lost his account. Someone hacked into his Facebook account and changed the settings to make it look like he had passed away. He lost everything since he created the account in the early 2000s. These things happen every day.
I Wasn’t Authentic
When I started my business in 2008 it was a time when everyone business said you had to focus on one area or you would confuse your audience. Being multi-passionate was absolutely not going to work. For years I only showed one thing and hid most of what I did personally and my other passions. Today, it’s totally acceptable to be a multi-passionate entrepreneur, and even encouraged.
There are a lot of people who do what I do, and a lot of people who do what you do. Your uniqueness is why they choose to do business with you.
Staying Inside Industry Standards
In the beginning we ran our businesses by the industry’s traditional standards. Thankfully we didn’t do this very long. When we decided to break through the molds of each business’ traditions and tried new things, we grew significantly. Our audience or potential customers skyrocketed and more people took interest.
This is something I tell my clients all of the time. Thanks to technology we can run businesses in new and much more profitable ways than we could even 10 years ago. Finding ways to run businesses in today’s online world is exciting. The sky is the limit.
Here are my key takeaways: If you don’t have an email list start it today, even if that means just signing up with an account, I’ve used a few services and really enjoy Convertkit. Take yourself seriously and show up authentically. Take business advice only from those who are fit to give it. Open your eyes to the possibilities in your business, no matter the industry.