We are taught not to dwell on negativity, but I also like to think my biggest learnings have come from my business mistakes. It’s my tenth business birthday in June 2023, a huge time of reflection. To get to this point, I have to have made mistakes. Here are my ten stand outs, that also apply to anything in life, I guess. See what you think.
Not Listening to My gut
I have to start with this one as it’s something I always say, but don’t always follow as advice. Always, always listen to that little feeling in your gut, in your stomach that is giving you the guidance to say yes or no to that new work project or working relationship. Notably also a mantra for life and essential in all relationships, romantic and platonic.
I didn’t listen to my gut when I got involved with a sales coach, way back in middle years of Mrs Mummypenny. There was a momentary abundance of money and she knew how to play all the psychological selling games, promising me the world for very little risk. £2,500 down the drain. I wrote about it here to warn others, sadly I know that a lot of people have fallen for this same scammer, I get messages every now and again. But now when you google her, my article appears at the top of the rankings, so karma helped out a bit.
My gut was telling me that the product she was trying to make me sell wasn’t right and also that she wasn’t right.
Trusting the Wrong People
Following on from this, particularly in the early days I was dazzled by perceived fame and knowledge and became ‘friends’ with other people in my field who only had their own interests at heart. Very early on when Mrs Mummypenny wasn’t making nearly enough money I got involved in matched betting (read my full story here), because it was sold to me as a great way to make some money, but it also introduced me to the dark world of online gambling and addiction.
Be wary of people who try to latch onto you when you are doing well, or when you are on the rise. Go with your gut and only trust the genuine people who care about both you and them.
Working with brands that don’t align to my values
I have worked with brands in the beginning of Mrs Mummypenny that I certainly wouldn’t consider now. The first five years of Mrs Mummypenny were very tight financially and I made many decisions driven by money, not morals.
I worked with a fast food chain on a huge piece of content, taking maybe 2 days of time where they paid me £200. I wrote a post on what I would do with £1m which had a link to a lottery company. And I have accepted articles in the past where I have been paid to share content on my website, link buying.
The thing is when you are responsible for paying a huge mortgage, you have three children and are paying off £16k of debt you make questionable decisions. Some of it was worth it, but some of the decisions particularly when it was big brand taking advantage with fees, I should have just said no.
Trying to sell Products that do not feel right
I have been guilty of looking at what others have done, and appeared to be doing well at and thinking that I could do it as well. Example 1 being when I tried to sell a course on how to make money out of blogging. I had already written a book, that felt aligned with my morals as it only cost £15 to buy a book from Amazon, but that huge step up to charging £300 for a course was wrong. My heart wasn’t in it, so it failed. Lesson learnt.
I also tried 1-2-1 coaching, another product failure. I have tried blogging coaching and financial coaching. It just didn’t sit right with me and I would hugely struggle if the coachee’s didn’t take the guidance on board that I was trying to give them.
I now know ten years down the line that I rarely make decent money from affiliate deals, unless its a multiple years long relationship, Top Cashback and Sprive (just use MUMPENNY code to get £5 free into your new Sprive Account!) affiliate relationship DO work BTW, mainly because I’ve nailed SEO on these articles on my website. I don’t do solely affiliate deals anymore, it doesn’t suit my commercial model.
Not Pivoting Quickly Enough
I feel like I’ve always been slightly behind the curve with social media in particular. When Mrs Mummypenny was born, Facebook was king, I clung onto Facebook for too long when I should have moved over to Instagram. And now I can see the whole world moving over to TikTok.
But a wise person (Damien from Money to The Masses) has said to me a few times, go where your audience are.
Running Out of Cash, several times
I cannot tell you how many times I have run out of cash. Even after ten years business is so difficult to predict, you can go from a bumper few months to nothing. The trick being to keep a very healthy stash of business savings set aside to cover the lean patches.
I’ve got better at this, but I still fall for the cash flow mistake. I used to be guilty of spending too much money, now I don’t quite balance how much to save or put into my pension!
What I can safely say is that I’ve not had to resort to a credit card since I paid off that £16k debt back in 2019.
Employing Staff before I was Ready
In times of overwhelm and busy times I have got in staff to help me, with admin, with writing, with social media content. After about five years of Mrs Mummypenny I had an assistant to help me, but at £1000 a month I had to stop it after a few months. I went in too big too early.
Now after ten years of Mrs Mummypenny I do have help with writing, IT and production of social media content but can dial this up and down when needed.
Asking Too many people for advice
Running a business is a lonely job and it’s led me to seeking out advice from too many people when trying to make big decisions. Absolutely speak to a trusted guide or mentor and get a view point, but don’t speak to ten different people with ten different opinion’s.
Not having enough pride in my achievements
I can look back at times like now after ten years and think of the many things I have achieved or done (Ten Things I am proud of click here!) to make myself feel proud, but I don’t think I have shouted about them enough.
I should have talked about my book more, done more promotion. I should have promoted my Mirror Column more, and the hundreds of TV or radio appearances. From now on I will shout more!
Not having the Guts to go Big
Mrs Mummypenny’s growth has been slow and steady. I cracked 6 figures of turnover in year 9, but could have done this earlier if I’de worked harder or faster or invested more into the right things.
The thing is, I don’t want a huge business, with lots of staff depending on me. I want to run a company where I get to do fun work, work with brilliant clients and take time off to spend with my children when I want to. I don’t want to be working 12 hours a day. There was 15 years of intense corporate work where I put in all the hours under the sun, now is the time to relax back a bit and enjoy what I have built in my own business.
So maybe its not guts, its just a realisation of what I want in life and what I am content with.
So there you have it, ten mistakes or maybe not. Learnings, lessons, guidance from the universe that I needed. What I do know is that without mistakes you won’t grow, so bring them on!