A long time ago, I learned what not to do.
I love being an entrepreneur and owning my own business. But there were times my business appeared successful when it truly was not. Rewind to 2012 when I owned a business where we made homemade skincare in our basements. We loved making people happy.
We started out making body butter and lotions and every time we went to a show someone would ask “can you make lip balms? Can you make soap? Can you make this in 5 other scents? Could you make perfumes?” The list went on and on and pretty much every request we received, we made it…I shake my head when I tell this story today because we were so crazy! Why did we try to make everyone happy?
Do you see the problem here?
We had a zone of genius and we kept moving away from that. It seemed like all we did was make more and more and more products, but we still had so much left that wasn’t selling. (insert pulling my hair out right here)
People loved our products, okay they loved whatever product they asked us to make, but we sold stuff everywhere we went. But we were always purchasing ingredients, containers, labels, etc., so money would come in and go right back out just as quickly.
We couldn’t sell the stuff all alone so we finally added consultants and paid them a commission, but okay let’s be honest here we just wanted consultants so we could add more products to our line to continue to make our customers happy. Even if it wasn’t best for our business. (insert shaking my head)
It was so frustrating to continuously do the wrong thing over and over and just not see it at all. Now I do of course, but back then…I couldn’t see past making people happy since it was all we focused on.
When we were bringing in all this money but only able to pay ourselves around $500 a month/each we finally had to realize this was not a business that was going to pay us for our time and effort. I still at the time didn’t see what I was doing wrong, but now that I am away from it, it’s all so clear.
But I finally learned!
What I’ve learned since then is that:
- #1 I cannot and will not ever try to make everyone happy again. First, it’s impossible, but also it makes you unhappy in the process.
- If we had had a coach to guide us, we would have been so much further in our business. We had zero guidance and really just flew by the seat of our pants most of the time.
- We mixed our business and personal money too much, this caused a lot of problems and made it hard to realize how much we were really spending.
- We invested in what our customers wanted, not in learning to be better business owners. Hindsight, it’s easy to see but at the time we thought we knew everything., Today I realize I’ll never be the smartest person in the room and I’m okay with that, I love learning and I want to continue learning from those that have been there and done that.
- I’m a firm believer had we nailed down who we were marketing too, we wouldn’t have let all the customers sway us to make more products. I am such a firm believer in this that I ask all my clients to nail this down as well. Either be so firm in who you are marketing too or know without a doubt who you aren’t marketing too. Either way, be solid with this knowledge and not wishy-washy!
Hard heads make soft a$$e$$, right? I’ve since learned, and I’m better because of it. I didn’t fail, because I finally learned from my mistakes.
There were so many learning opportunities and I’ll experience more along my journey as I continue to grow, but I won’t repeat the same mistakes anymore. So that my friends…is what not to do in business! Invest in your business, not making more products. Take my mistakes and learn from them, get a coach, hire a strategist and do things the right way!
Need support with this? I know people and can connect you with them.