The Things I Got Wrong in Business
When we start something new, we all start off “not knowing what we don’t know” and business is just the same. That doesn’t mean we are stupid, failures or not cut out to run a business. It’s normal to feel a bit at sea. And it’s not just you – it was me too!
So I thought I’d share with you some of the early mistakes I made when I started my business, to help you avoid doing the same. And so that you can see that you don’t have to get it all “right” – you can make a lot of mistakes and things can still turn out OK!
Watch the video below or scroll down to read the blog.
6 mistakes I made in my business
- Selling my “tools and techniques” instead of the end result
At the beginning of my business I went out networking and called myself a “Transformational Coach”. Then later on this became “Business Coach”. I still attracted a certain number of clients – because people bought into me as a person and because I was confident about sales. But I didn’t understand at the time how important it is to sell my clients what they really wanted, which was a solution to their biggest problem. It was only when I started to specialise in teaching heart-centred business owners how to get more clients in ways that feel authentic and comfortable that things started to take off for me – that was over a year after I first started in business.
- I ran low priced workshops without an “upsell”
After I started specialising in teaching authentic sales the main thing I did for about 9 months was to run 1 day workshops. In fact running workshops was my main “business model” (though I didn’t have a clue about business models at that time!). I charged £47 for those workshops which I shared with joint venture partners. And I couldn’t work out why, after paying the venue and the splitting the profits, I wasn’t making more than a few hundred pounds… a year!
I didn’t know that I needed to do one of two things:
- Price the workshop to be profitable in it’s own right. Which would have meant pricing about 10 times what I was charging.
- Offer an upsell to 121 sales coaching – I would only have needed 2 people to buy from me at £1,500 for those workshops to be a profit-making venture.
- I grew my mailing list for a whole year… but didn’t send them a single email
For a full year, my list grew. Mostly from live speaking engagements and podcast interviews online. I was doing some things right – I offered my free giveaway in exchange for their email address – but after people signed up I didn’t email them at all. Not to add value, not to nurture them and keep in touch, and certainly not to invite them to work with me! In the end I had over 300 people on my list – some of whom hadn’t heard from me in a full year.
The truth is, I was too scared to email them. The day in early 2013 when I sent my first email out was one of the most knee-knocking moments of my whole business journey. You can imagine my relief when I started getting replies saying how nice it was to hear from me and how useful my content was. And years later I know how important nurturing the list you’ve worked so hard to grow is.
- I didn’t hire a PA or get my systems organised until it was too late
I had a virtual assistant very early on, but this was just basic email management because I didn’t feel I could afford more support. My business grew very quickly in 2013 mainly because I’d started investing in getting help with the “what I don’t know” part of running a business (in my case this was quite a lot!).
From the outside it looked like everything was a great success, but it was chaos behind the scenes. I was so focused on the sales and marketing side of things, as well as the delivery to my clients, that I didn’t focus on the back-end until it was really too late. I ended up with a business that was like an out of control train and it was a lot more stressful than it needed to be for the first few years, contributing to me burning out more than once.
So my advice is, as soon as you start seeing the green shoots of your business growth, start investing money in getting these systems and support in place – the ideal time to do this is before you feel ready!
- I was in too much of a hurry to “succeed” – and it slowed me down!
I launched my first high end mentoring group in 2013 only 6 months after first launching my first online programme. I did this because my mentors at the time told me that it was the only way to make money. And it did work. Offering high-end mentoring was what catapulted me straight to a 6 figure turnover. That would have been fine if I wanted my core business model to be my mentoring programme – but it wasn’t really my dream.
My big dream at that time was to reach thousands of people globally with my online programme. But so much time and effort went into delivering the high-end mentoring programme that there wasn’t much time left over to do what I needed to do to increase my reach with the online programme.
I now know that if I’d been willing to be patient and let things evolve financially a lot more slowly I could have achieved the vision that was closer to my heart a lot sooner. And if I’d taken more time to get clear on what I really wanted right from the start, I would have been more likely to create the perfect business for me – not what someone else told me I should do. Like so many small business owners I was too busy rushing to achieve “success” without realising it was someone else’s version of success and not mine.
- I tried to focus on too many things at once
In 2013 I did my first “joint venture” launch of the online programme, ran my first live event, launched my first mentoring group and started a second, put on another two live events and created two new online courses. I had all these ideas and was trying to do them all at once. The end results was that I burned out and made less progress than if I’d focused on one thing at a time over a longer period of time.
It felt like a race. It felt so “urgent” to bring all of these creations into reality, as if time was somehow going to run out on me, that I felt an enormous pressure to do them all at once.
I wish I’d realised then what I now know – that I’m in this for the long haul. And if I don’t get that new programme created this year, or that evergreen sales funnel set up that’s OK, my business still works. And I always have next year, and the year after that.
I’m now much better at knowing what the highest priority outcome is that I’m working towards, and what I need to focus on to get me that outcome. And I’ve learnt to be OK with putting everything else on the backburner – no matter how shiny and exciting it is.
I’m also much better at knowing that it’s more important to enjoy the journey, than to tick off all the “business successes” right now – there’s plenty of time. I’m not going anywhere.
How About You?
I’m hoping that reading this will reassure you that it might not be as important to “get everything right” as you might be thinking. I guess on reflection the important lesson to take from this is that I was in action, and in the end all the stuff I didn’t do so well did come good – and of course I started getting more things right too, which certainly made things a lot easier for me.
As a result I’ve had a consistent 6 figure business for the past 5 years. I’ve also helped hundreds of heart-centred business owners to start to grow businesses that are really working for them. Mainly by helping them to short-cut some of the “don’t know what don’t know” problem, and also helping them create a business that they can really love to run – rather than following someone else’s model or system.
Want to avoid making the same mistakes?
If you’d like my help and guidance with the “what you don’t know you don’t know” aspects of running a business, or with getting clear on your vision so you can build a business model you can fall in love and stay in love with, or with knowing the most important things to focus on and in what order, then I’d love to invite you to join the Business from the Heart Community Membership.
This membership has been in “beta” since January with 114 founder members and I’ll be launching it officially later this month – it’s a way to get the same support I used to give my high-end mentoring clients, but for a very low monthly investment. Just keep an eye on your emails over the next few weeks to find out more.
Join me for an open Q&A and Discussion
Each week I do an open discussion and Q&A on the topic of the week’s video. Join us tomorrow (Thursday 10th May) at 5.00pm (UK) in the Selling from the Heart Community Facebook Group, where I’ll be taking questions about how to avoid making the same mistakes I made, including the things you need to think about from the very beginning to make sure you are on the right track. Click here to join us.
With Love & Gratitude,