As 2005 comes to a close, I always look back on the year to see what I did well and what could be improved. Below, I share with you my mistakes, missteps and muckups that I experienced in 2005.
Many of these mistakes, missteps and muck-ups cost me money, so I share them with you so you can avoid these in 2006 (thanks to Michael Rasmussen of FreeAdvertisingForum.com for giving me the idea for this list).
- Mistake, Misstep and Muck-up #1 - Spending way too much time on my computer, instead of meeting people face to face. Networking online is great, however, it can never take the place of meeting face-to-face or having a conversation over the phone. Sending emails are so darn easy, but I found that I got too wrapped up with the ease of this technology. I even had a huge argument with one of my vendors because I tried to “break things off" with him over email. I should know better.
LESSON LEARNED - Compliment online networking activities with face-to-face and phone meetings.
- Mistake, Misstep and Muck-up #2 - Spending way too much time on the technical side of my business. I worked in the technology sector for close to 10-years and I pride myself in being a chick that knows her techie stuff. However, my digital knowledge kept me up late at night as I took responsibility for updating the content on my webpages, creating new autoresponders and creating new HTML pages for new products, instead of farming things out to others. For every new product or teleclass I would launch, it would take me 8-hours to get all the technical pieces ready.
LESSON LEARNED - Hire a techie expert to maintain my website. Let it go.
- Mistake, Misstep and Muck-up #3 - Not delegating my administrative tasks. There are certain things I hate doing in my business - updating documents, making them look pretty, writing content and writing sales copy for new information products. I just can't stand doing these things and it would take me eons just to write one sentence. Then, that meant I would have to rush and write something quickly because I sat on it for too long and the deadline was an hour away.
LESSON LEARNED - Hire a virtual assistant or copywriter to do all this stuff for me.
- Mistake, Misstep and Muck-up #4 - Spinning my wheels targeting the wrong market. When I first started coaching, I was on a mission to inspire women to create the career they deserve. Although I was making money, I didn't feel passionate about helping women climb the corporate ladder. It wasn't until my mother came to one of my speaking engagements in September 2005 that she gave me the clarity I needed. With her wisdom and her keen eye, she helped me craft my current mission - to help women start a business on a shoestring budget.
LESSON LEARNED - Really listen to what my clients (and mom) are telling me about the problem they're experiencing.
- Mistake, Misstep and Muck-up #5 - Creating a bunch of cool information products all at once. Just because I can bang out 5 special reports in a weekend, doesn't mean I have the manpower or energy to promote them all at the same time. I realized that in order to make sales on an information product, I really need to market them. Until I do that, they're going to sit on my website, look pretty and go stale.
LESSON LEARNED - Focus on one product for at least 3-months and use my affiliates to help promote the new product.
- Mistake, Misstep and Muck-up #6 - Attending networking events that weren't producing results. While networking is about building relationships, it should also lead to some quality contacts. Unfortunately, I attended too many networking events where everyone was like me - an entrepreneur looking for business. Although I made some great contacts, after attending the same networking events for 12-months straight, I noticed that my networking circle was stale and lacked any power.
LESSON LEARNED - Stick with a networking event for no more than 4 consecutive events, analyze the results, then move on. Also, attend more networking events that puts me in touch with my target audience.
- Mistake, Misstep and Muck-up #7 - Not spending enough on educating myself. As a solopreneur, it's so easy to forget that I have to invest in myself by taking courses that can help me learn how to do things better. In the first half of 2005, I didn't spend a dime and my progress showed for it. However, in the latter part of 2005, I started to spend a bit on educating myself on new techniques and processes. Doing this put me in touch with how to do things better in my business, as well as meeting some phenomenol people and trainers. Plus, I noticed a spike in sales.
LESSON LEARNED - Set aside at least 10% of all business income in a savings account to spend on educational materials.
These are what I consider to be the 7 mistakes, missteps and muck-ups in 2005 that cost me money and I trust that by reading this, you will avoid them in 2006.
Better yet, if you have a mistakes, missteps or muck-up that you experienced in your own business in 2005, list them, then write down the lessons you learned from that experience.
Leesa Barnes, Chief Divapreneur™, helps women start a new business or launch an idea on a shoestring budget. Through her coaching programs, speaking engagements and interactive workshops, Leesa is on a mission to help 10,000 women become their own boss by 2010, even if they lack the confidence or start-up capital to do so. Sign up for the Divapreneurs At Work ezine by visiting http://www.savialane.com and receive a F R E E ebook called The One Thing 85 Women (and One Man) Used to Build a Profitable Business (And It Ain't Money).