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Mistakes - we all make 'em

 
 
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Kay
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:18 pm    Post subject: Mistakes - we all make 'em Reply with quote

Anyone care to share business mistakes they've made and perhaps help others to avoid the same pitfalls?

My biggest mistake was lending money to people. I trusted them at the time, but I never got my money back. It seemed like a good idea to help them but it very rarely works out so I'd say don't lend any money unless you can afford to lose it.

Another stupid thing I did was to give away or let a lot of good domains lapse. Some of them because I didn't believe any more that they'd be valuable in the future. And sometimes I did it just to help people.

These days I'm happy enough to help people with info or whatever, if it might be of use to them, but I don't lend or give away money or my Internet real estate.

C'mon - your turn now. What can we learn from your mistakes?
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paul
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I probably took on too many staff in my early days. We were churning out the work alright, but I found myself having to deal more with staffing problems and less with what I normally do, and probably not being as profitable in the process.

I also have a few regrets about not being entirely affiliate-based right from the start. That said, back then affiliate marketing wasn't around in the way that it is now so I possibly didn't have much choice.
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Kay
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's interesting about the staffing issue, Paul.

Isn't growth a conventional goal for a business in a capitalist economy? I personally wouldn't want too much growth (growth of the bank account would be good, though!). Then, as you say, you spend too much time managing it. I'd rather stay small and focus on the most profitable stuff.

Of course, the above is all hypothetical. My biggest mistake, and one which I keep making, is to spread myself too thinly. Then I have so many things to juggle I rarely do any of them properly. Rolling Eyes

I'm aware of the problem but I can't seem to stop myself from starting new projects.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not that I don't want to grow. It's just that as a small business I'd sooner do it by working with freelancers.

And yes, I have the same problem of spreading thinly. There are always so many interesting things to have a go at but sometimes it's the more mundane stuff that you're already doing that actually reaps the rewards.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, freelancers or hiring someone on a contract is probably a better way to go. I'm happy to outsource where possible, especially if I think the person will add more value to the project than I could myself.

I don't know if I'm a bit odd about this, but I never want to work with any stranger. It's invariably someone I've "met" and liked on a forum. I already have an idea about their personality, their approach, and their beliefs, and I think I can get along with them. That's important for me.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can see where you're coming from there. It's certainly a good way of sorting the wheat from the chaff.

Personally, I actually hire people without 'knowing' them in advance but I do so on terms whereby I can check their suitability in advance. For example, I'll ask that they submit a couple of samples of what they're going to be doing first. That soon gives me an idea of whether they're up to the job.
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Kay
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it's a straightforward writing job, I can see how that would work, Paul. Usually when I hire someone it's for something more complex where their personality and creativity really matter.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with working with contractors you know, I have a coouple of ex RAF colleagues that I farm out some of my work to, but I must say things have gotten a good deal easier getting a good part time secretary, he's worth his weight in, well copper at least, maybe silver.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Mistakes - we all make 'em Reply with quote

Kay wrote:


C'mon - your turn now. What can we learn from your mistakes?


Never do business with friends and relatives! I have an online business card company and everytime they want anything printed they want it at a big discount or even for free, I almost end up giving the stationery away at cost price! Which is not good for business. I can only hope they put in a good word for me to their friends.

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paul
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good advice, Jenny. Working with friends has never really worked for me.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I acquiesce with employed with contractors you understand, I have a coouple of ex RAF colleagues that I ranch out some of my work to, but I should state things have gotten a good deal simpler getting a good part time receptionist, he's worth his heaviness in, well copper not less than, perhaps silver.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scratch
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

too much multiple hat syndrome in my early days after leaving corporate life - too many opportunities that didn't hang together
should've taken a clearer path and stuck with it
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Jenny, too. Work and business will inevitably lead to stress and differing opinions, and if you're working with a friend, then those factors can really fracture your relationship with them. My friend is a graphic designer, and he had some bad experiences with working with one of his friends.

So...yeah, don't recommend it.
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Kay
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 4:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try working with a spouse. Shocked

I'm not sure I would recommend that either.
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