When I started Clue Consulting, LLC on December 12, 2012 I did not have a clue (pun intended) what I was getting myself into. This post is about a month late (I was dealing with bloggy issues and all), but the lessons learned are still very relevant. So, let’s get to it.
The Top 5 Things NOT TO DO Your First Year in Business
1) Don’t start a business based solely on being an expert at something. I’m a business management expert. And hell, I oughtta be considering I’ve worked in my field for over 16 years and have two graduate degrees to back up my extensive experience. As an analyst, executive assistant, and project manager I’ve worked alongside the most senior leadership in the organizations I’ve supported – and I became a master along the way. So, when I decided to start a business, an administrative consulting firm seemed like a natural fit. Except it turns out it wasn’t. After working with my first-ever business coach I realized that my true passion lied in supporting moms. Thus, The Mommyhood Mentor® was born. I still have my consultancy though, thanks to a few awesome team members who take on the work while I do all the managing. It’s a win-win.
2) Don’t be afraid to change. Speaking of number one, it took me months of agonizing and fretting over what people would think or how much it would cost to build a new site or how much I had already invested in Clue to finally decide to stop splitting my focus. You have to find what sparks your core and then light that fire. Your first year in business is all about discovery. Figuring out what you like, what works best, and dropping what doesn’t fit.
3) Never go to a networking meeting or event without having practiced your elevator speech. My first networking meeting, in January of last year, had me tongue tied when asked “so, what do you do?” I knew what my business was about – I think – but explaining it in 30 seconds or less, now that was a challenge. I hadn’t written anything down, I hadn’t practiced in the mirror, I didn’t run anything by my sister first. Big. Mistake.
4) Don’t order marketing materials until you are super clear on your message. I went sorta – okay, really. like totally nuts insane – wild with Vistaprint. Everything was so neat. I was ordering business cards left and right and then left again. I ordered labels, rack cards, post cards, well you can see where this is going. A couple of weeks after ordering my materials, I changed my message. And not just a word or two. The whole frikin’ thing. So, best to wait until you are totally sure and absolutely positive about what your marketing message will be before you start buying up the store.
5) Never waste your time on tasks that should be outsourced. This one is funny coming from someone whose business is to alleviate the burden from other entrepreneurs. But, we are always famous for not taking our own advice, aren’t we? It took me months to realize how much of my own time I was wasting doing everything myself. Just because you are good at it doesn’t mean you should be doing it. Anything that takes you away from the tasks that make you money should be farmed out.
I want to hear from you!
Tell me your top lessons learned your first year in business. Please leave me a comment below and let’s have a discussion.