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4 Lessons I Learned From My Mistakes When I Started My Own Business

I’m one of those people who loves to search for blogs, podcasts and any form of content I can consume in order to improve as a business owner. The market I’m in, like most businesses, is constantly evolving and I want to make sure I keep up with the latest trends.

Running Total Guide to Manchester has been the best challenge of my life and I am loving every second of it. As any business owner knows, there can be mistakes made along the way. I wanted to share my experience and hopefully others can learn from it or remind them of their business journey.

I’ve come across some brilliant content over the years, however I often see lots of motivational stories or tips to improve my business and not the difficulties behind it all. That inspired me to share some of the mistakes I have made since starting my own business. 

1. Being busy but not productive 

It’s amazing when you start working for yourself how quickly the days go by. My days went from dragging as I watched the clock until I could shoot off home to now looking up and seeing half my day has gone and thinking what have I achieved?  I found that it was really easy to feel like I was busy and that I was working hard but I wasn’t working smart, I was trying to do everything at the same time which meant I wasn’t being as productive as I could be.  I now like to think about the purpose behind each task, a bit like any strategy in your business, are you doing it for the sake of it or doing it for an actual purpose. 

2. To do lists 

Now bear with me on this one as I don’t mean all to do lists. This one is just a personal mistake.  I would write a to do list maybe at the start of my day or week with all the tasks I need to get done, it sounds sensible right?  The problem was I would start with the tasks I enjoy doing or maybe with the quick wins just so I could tick a few things off, but this meant I was putting off the tasks that I don’t like doing.  My day drifted by and the longer I didn’t do those tasks the higher the chance I would push them to the next day and the next day.  Now I set the important tasks as blocked out periods in my calendar at the start of each day. 

 

3. Not having a structure 

It’s almost like the line from Spiderman (my inner Marvel geek coming out here) “with great power comes great responsibility”. I was suddenly in control of my own time and shot off in every direction with so much enthusiasm and wanted to take on the world (well take on Manchester).  My excitement was almost my downfall as everything became a distraction, starting one thing but then getting excited when a notification popped up.  I now have a structure in place for each day so I know what I should be focusing on each hour of the day. 

4. Thinking nothing comes for free 

I used to be skeptical when people offered their help in the early days of my business, in the back of my mind I was thinking what do they want in return?  These people are successful in their own right and someone's time is valuable.  The fact is there are just some great people out there who might see something in you or just want to help/mentor.  A personal example of this was on my second day in Manchester, I met Paul Mirage who runs GM Business Connect at an expo in Manchester Central.  Paul took his time to learn about my business and point me in the right direction of useful contacts.  Now over a year later Paul still checks in on how things are going and we catch up for a beer frequently. 

These were mistakes for me personally so they might not be for other people.  I’d love to hear from you in the comments and learn what mistakes you have made as I’m sure plenty of people can learn from them. 

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