Lessons Learned: Why My First Business Failed

Lessons Learned: Why My First Business Failed
A number of years ago, I was working full-time as a designer and received a lot of requests to design sites on the side. At the time, I knew very little about business ownership, but always felt an entrepreneurial pull and it seemed like a good idea to start a web design company. Needless to say, I learned quite a few things from my initial venture, and thought I’d share a few of them with you.

Lesson #1: All marketing isn’t created equal.

I can’t even tell you how much money I wasted on ineffective marketing. From a massive mailing to local companies that I never qualified, to a decal on my car, to flyers that sat stacked on my desk for two years, I had my marketing focus all wrong. Not to say any of those things won’t work, but they certainly didn’t work for me, at least in the way I was executing them. I thought that by doing something, I was doing the right thing, but all I was doing was wasting time and money by floundering around with no idea of what to do next.

The lesson is not to market your services for the sake of marketing or because an idea sounds good. You need to be focused and intentional in all marketing activities. This is accomplished by defining your business and your goals, and then researching until you uncover the most effective way to market to your target audience. There is a right technique for every business, regardless of marketing budget. Take the time to figure out the right way from the beginning.

Lesson #2: Systems are necessary.

After being scattered, disorganized and stressed with the administration of my business, I learned that you need systems; you need processes; you need standards. Having a set way things are done in your business — from billing, to data management, to your work process — is necessary because it enhances productivity and allows you to take on more. Plus, if you ever want to work with subcontractors, hire employees or otherwise expand personnel, you need documented systems for everything that make your business move.

Lesson #3: Don’t let financial pressure derail you.

Shortly after starting my business, I was laid off from my job (an Internet startup who joined the ranks of failed dotcoms). Then 9/11 happened. I was plunged into full-time business ownership in a matter of weeks. I found myself starting to worry about money, and I took a series of part-time jobs. This was the exact opposite of what I should have done, which was to take my fear of financial shortcoming and turn it into the fight to make my business succeed. I lost precious time at part-time jobs that were completely unrelated to my goals and should have spent that time working on my business.

Financial pressure is tough to deal with when you’re self-employed, but if you’re serious about being successful as an entrepreneur, you can’t let that push you off course. Whether for you that means taking another job, cutting your rates or taking on work that doesn’t support your business goals, it’s a vicious cycle that can hinder your success.

Lesson #4: Be honest with yourself.

In my struggle with my first business, I learned some valuable things about my passions, my skills and my dreams. What I realized was that I wasn’t satisfied with design alone, and my desire to support small businesses in other ways lead me to change my business model. The most successful entrepreneurs regularly check-in to make sure they are staying true to themselves and their business goals as they change over time.

Over the years, I’ve collected a number of resources that have helped me with various aspects of business. Here are some that you might find useful, too:

Image credit: Sanja Gjenero

Replay

Category: news Time: 2009-03-14 Views: 1
Tags:

Related post

  • How can I learn why an application is failing on launch if no log report is created? 2009-09-01

    I installed Adobe CS4 Master Collection on my MacBook Pro after a clean install of Snow Leopard and Flash CS4 crashes on launch. Usually, apps that crash cause the OS X to create a crash log that can be found in /Library/Logs; however, Flash CS4 is c

  • Is there a "security fail forum / website" with lessons learned? 2015-02-03

    I have done some searching, and cannot seem to find this. Does anyone know of a "security fail forum" that lists embarrassing and / or damaging results from lack of security practices? I would like it to serve to educate everyone on how importan

  • Why does javascript evaluate multiple AND criterias if first criteria failed 2016-02-15

    Is it really true that javascript evaluates further into a multiple AND criteria statement, even though the first condition failed ? I have the following statement: if(data.equipment_notifications != "undefined" && data.equipment_notific

  • Moving to new server - lessons learned 2014-01-04

    Following are some of my random observations, tips and lessons learned from my move to an ISPConfig "Perfect Setup" server. I recently moved to a new dedicated server and thought I would try to capture some of the things that made my move as eas

  • Lessons Learned from Corporate America 2010-03-02

    Before giving into the steady and impossible-to-resist entrepreneurial pull, I worked a typical 9-to-5 job in the "real world," a few different 9-to-5 jobs, actually. I didn't love any of those jobs, but without a doubt, each one taught me a val

  • How to really force unmount a filesystem (without manual investigation why is it busy) 2010-08-12

    How to unmount a filesystem in Linux without investigating why is it busy? I want to do it in one command. It should handle applications using that filesystem, submounts, containers (lxc-execute -n qqq <command>) and all other things. Just "unm

  • Lessons Learned from Migrating 1,000 Blog Posts to WordPress 2016-07-14

    A corporate blog is a major cornerstone of any digital marketing strategy, right alongside the rest of the website, analytics, and of course email marketing. Spinning up a blog is a crucial first step for many organizations looking to increase their

  • Virtualization Pitfalls/Lessons Learned 2009-06-10

    What are some pitfalls or lessons learned after converting existing hardware to a virtualized environment? Is there anything you tried to virtualize but will never do again? --------------Solutions------------- ALWAYS eject any virtual media (CD/DVD/

  • Should every programmer keep a "Lessons Learned" journal? 2011-03-01

    Every time I've finished a project, there is always something that I've learned (otherwise I don't find it very motivating). But I can't remember everything, and much later I may stumble across the same problem that I encountered in a previous projec

  • Why would sshd daemon fail a connection that manually started /usr/sbin/sshd permits? 2013-10-06

    The goal is to setup FreeNX. Following the advise from another serverfault user I was able to test various configurations of ssh and nxsetup connections to the sshd server as daemon or manually started instance of /usr/sbin/sshd. The daemon version w

  • why following script is failing? 2014-09-18

    #!/bin/sh declare -a LIST= ('a' 'b' 'c' ) is failing on Ubuntu on which /bin/sh is softlink to /bin/dash How can I declare list which will be supportable on all kind of shell ? --------------Solutions------------- The short answer is that you can't.

  • Any lesson learned or best practices on the UX of a 'Download' button? 2015-03-26

    My company provides a free edition of a desktop application we developed. Currently I have 'Download' button only on website, and I consider to replace it with one of the following three suggested images I got. Well I'm not asking what do you think i

  • Why does New-SCVirtualNetworkAdapter fail for VMs with names longer than 64 characters? 2015-11-29

    I have 2 identical VMs, the first has a relatively short name while the 2nd has a name with 65 characters. Why does New-SCVirtualNetworkAdapter succeed for the first but fail for the 2nd? New-SCVirtualNetworkAdapter -vm "TestVM_ced7319a-1159-4e8f-bc8

  • Why did shell redirection fail? 2009-11-03

    The command causing the failure, gpc xxx.pas > error.txt Because I want to upload the error message to the stackflow.com,but it turns out there is nothing in the error.txt,moreover the gpc still cried to the stdout and print the error message one the

  • Using "&&" is not effective for cURL submit form (don't execute second line if first line fails) 2011-10-05

    I'm submitting to my website using cURL. I make cURL post it in timely fashion. In below code; first line is curl submit; second line is for queuing: curl -b cookies.txt \ -d title="$(sed '1,/sblmtitle/d;/slpstitle/,$d' sedut.html)" \ -d taxonom

  • Success/fail tests for cURL (don't execute second line if first line fails) 2011-10-06

    According to Using "&&" is not effective for cURL submit form (don't execute second line if first line fails) In below code; first line is curl submit; second line is for queuing: curl -b cookies.txt \ -d title="$(sed '1,/sblmtitle/

  • In a Rule, how can I prevent executing subsequent actions if the first action fails? 2012-12-27

    In a Rule, how can I prevent executing subsequent actions if the first action fails? In my case, I want the order to be marked as Processing only if the order was successfully transmitted to the fulfilment center. I've tried returning FALSE from the

  • XRDP first login fails 2014-09-01

    I have configured Ubuntu 14.04 with XRDP as per steps mentioned in http://c-nergy.be/blog/?p=4168 with XFCE Desktop. It's working perfectly (including session resumption) except for a problem during logging in. The first login fails with unable to co

  • Why does nonce verification fail intermittently? 2015-05-11

    I have a strange re-occurring issue that has me stumped. Briefly, when writers are saving posts in the admin the nonce check fails intermittently and shows the message "Are you sure?". It's been frustrating because there doesn't appear to be any

iOS development

Android development

Python development

JAVA development

Development language

PHP development

Ruby development

search

Front-end development

Database

development tools

Open Platform

Javascript development

.NET development

cloud computing

server

Copyright (C) avrocks.com, All Rights Reserved.

processed in 0.990 (s). 13 q(s)