by Melanie Spring, @Sisarina
Mistakes are not easy to admit to... we all like to say we learn from our mistakes but I wonder how many times those mistakes had to be made before we truly learned from them.
MISTAKE: COMPLAINING JUST TO COMPLAIN
When I re-started Sisarina, I jumped in with both feet and just started running. Working around the clock on a never-ending to-do list, I was overwhelmed but very satisfied with growing a successful business. I noticed a lot of people complaining about their long hours on twitter & facebook and although I had no problem working as much as I did, I joined in the rant fest. It felt good to have the empathy of others but I very soon realized that it was a big mistake. I loved what I was doing and had no real reason to say anything bad about it. Saying things like "Is it 5 yet?" or "Is this week over yet?" or even "When do I get some free time?" were feeding into how I felt about working.
Once I realized this, I started only being positive about how much I worked. Everyone knew I was busting my butt to make sure Sisarina was a success but they also knew that I was working hard to help others succeed too. It helped my attitude about work and kept me motivated.
MISTAKE: NOT HIRING AN ACCOUNTANT
All business owners know they need some sort of accounting system for tracking bills, invoices and knowing how much money they have at all times. We signed up for Quickbooks Online thinking we could do it ourselves and got started with invoicing & paying bills. Fast forward two years and I found that our taxes hadn't been done correctly, reconciliation was hardly done at all and so much had slipped through the cracks causing us to lose money in the beginning.
FIX: GET PROFESSIONAL HELP
Many accounting firms have pro bono clients like small businesses who have little-to-no net profit. Getting your accounting straight from the beginning will allow you not to end up being someone's charity case but will make sure you know exactly where you stand at all times.
MISTAKE: HIRING TOO QUICKLY
When starting out, it's easy to have lofty goals of taking over the world and growing your staff quickly. I had high hopes of hiring someone to help me take care of clients so that I could find more time to continue the marketing efforts I had well underway. After making a few hiring mistakes, I realized that I should have hired administrative support staff that allowed me to focus on my clients since the care of them was where our marketing efforts were best shown. Hiring is costly, emotional and can be financially draining if done incorrectly.
FIX: FEEL THE PAIN FIRST
Know what you're good at & what you're not. Only hire for the things you absolutely cannot do & work hard to complete the rest. Once you're over capacity enough to need someone to help, take baby steps and hire slowly. Sometimes a part-time administrative person is all you need to help you focus on what's necessary.
They always say that it's best to learn from your mistakes when in reality, sometimes it's better to learn from mistakes of others. I've made plenty of other mistakes in starting and growing Sisarina but I've also taken lessons from previous entrepreneurial employers that saved me a lot of time and money.