What I Did Wrong
For the next fifteen minutes, the ball is in everyone else’s court. I’ve spent the past two days getting caught up on clients, projects, and the inbox. I just stepped back from the computer, and realized that I’m in a moment where I’m waiting for calls and emails to be returned, and feedback to be offered, and the moment, the very very odd moment, felt empty.
My brain jumped to a strange question: what should I do with fifteen minutes? What am I always saying I should do, but never doing, because I let the excuses own the moment?
As I was cleaning out my inbox yesterday, I came a across a few emails that all fall into an increasingly common theme. Will-be entrepreneurs email, give me their back story, and then, several paragraphs later, ask me what advice I have for them. I want to reply with a simple sentence: ask more specific questions.
There is no possible way for me to put all the experience I’ve accumulated into one email reply. And everyone’s back story is different, so it’s also pretty challenging to try to dissect where someone is at that moment, and give them advice on where to start. One thing that I know: the people asking how to get started have already gotten started. It starts with questions. And on that note, I guess my only piece of advice is to get more specific with the questions.
A couple of people have asked me a very interesting question this year: what would I have done differently? I sat by Emily Newman, from OnceWed.com, at brunch at Bliss & Bokeh last fall, and that was the question she posed. Even though it requires a lengthy response, it’s a brilliant question–one of the smartest you can ask any entrepreneur. I told Emily that I felt like the topic warranted a blog series, even though I felt like it would be painful and challenging. Admitting what you’ve done wrong to the internet is, well, not easy.
Because I only have a few minutes before the day takes over, I thought I’d brainstorm a quick list, and I’ll try to go back and write more on each of these. I’ll put these posts under the category of “Things I Did Wrong”, with the hopes that entrepreneurs that come after me can glean a bit from the error of my ways.
(If you’re just now joining us, the back story on this is that I closed my business after over a decade of business. On the opposite hand of doing things wrong, there were a lot of things I did right, but those weren’t the things that killed the business. The things that went right owe a majority of credit to a great team I worked with over the years, and I feel like it’s important for me to take responsibility for the mistakes, and give credit for the victories. I talk a lot about the things that went right when I speak at Stationery Academy and other workshops.)
On that note, here goes nothin’, and in no particular order, Things I Did Wrong:
- I lost sight of purpose.
- I let ego make decisions.
- I tried to be everything to everyone.
- I listened to fear.
- I lived in a scarcity mentality.
- I outsourced my core competencies.
- I sacrificed my creativity to the god of business.
- I tried to make money a motivator.
- I insourced things that should have been outsourced.
- I chased every single idea someone threw at me.
There are more, but I’m going to stop there for today. Looking at that list, the one that stands out the most is the one about scarcity mentality. Reprogramming my mind to think in an abundance mentality is probably the single most important thing I’ve done over the past year. There are days when it’s still really, really hard. Learning to identify the mindsets of less-than, instead of always-enough, has paved the way for some big personal growth for me.
I’m signing off with that. I’ll try to go back and expound more on these over the course of time. If you have a question about any of the above, feel free to leave it in the comments–I’ll try to answer it in a blog post in the future.
I’m really excited for you to write more on this topic! Last year I dove head first into what I thought was an amazing business opportunity, and so far it hasn’t been. I’m overwhelmed and feel lost sometimes. But I know I don’t have any other choice than to keep going. And I want to keep going, but I need to learn where to focus my energy to make the most of what I have and also get what I need. Thanks for sharing a somewhat scary topic for others to learn from!
Oh Whitney! You are just such a blessing and I hope you know that. I love that you speak in honesty and share your experiences. I see myself making some of these mistakes now. I need Authenticate to start today! 🙂
I agree … I’m excited for you to write more on this! I’m one of those people that emailed you (at least a year ago) and what I’d really love is to get coffee and pick your brain! Or! Have you … or anyone, really … answer the tough questions to get to the bottom of why I’m doing what I’m doing and how I can grow. I know I’ve done many things wrong in my short time of being a small business entrepreneur and it’s comforting to know that everyone makes mistakes, but we all have to own them and learn from them.
Can’t wait to read more on these thoughts!! I watched your interview with Hilary today and loved hearing you speak a little about this as well! One question I have is that I feel that I am in the midst of a turning point – people seem to like my products, and are purchasing them but I want to take it to the next step, streamline my shop and not feel so stretched thin, so meanwhile I am trying to learn all that I can (listening to the entrepreneur interviews, reading, etc.) I applied for the Stationery Academy scholarship but unfortunately was not chosen, do you have any other recommendations for retreats/books/seminars that may help in this arena?
Thank you, I really appreciate your time and all the honest, advice and suggestions you provide us!