Five Biggest Mistakes I Made Starting A Business

kate gremillion business planning

Want to hear a weird confession? I love talking about my mistakes.

This wasn’t the case five years ago, but now it’s one of my favorite things. Why? Because making all the bad decisions and mistakes led me to figuring out the right way to do it. In fact, my whole job now is teaching others what I’ve learned from my mistakes in work and in business. How cool?!

And when I say mistakes I’m talking about HUNDREDS of them. That is no exaggeration! But today, I will share the biggest ones in hopes of saving you from the time, energy, and effort I spent spinning my wheels. Here we go!

1. Consuming more than I was Creating

In 2014, I was a content-consuming machine. You had a webinar? I attended it. You had a YouTube channel? I binge-watched it. You tweeted something? I was all over those 140 characters. #ScrollingScrollingScrolling

While my content consumption felt ‘productive’ at the time, it was actually just keeping me from the work I needed to do. Sometimes it even made it harder to create with impostor syndrome creeping in and feeling like everyone was doing it bigger and better than I was. I realized I had to turn off the newsfeed and turn to a blank page in my notebook to focus on my ideas and my work. Once I spent some time with my own ideas, I realized the creative juices and the confidence were there all along.

2. Wingin’ it Financially

So before I discovered my favorite financial tools, I basically had no idea what I was doing on the financial end of my business. I was in a total lack mindset, and I didn’t want to invest in software or an accountant to help me figure things out. Spoiler alert: this was a terrible idea. Because I decided to wing it financially, we continued to make bad decisions about our services, our expenses, and how to pay ourselves.

Understanding your business finances is an essential part of making good decisions in your business. If I would have started out with the information and tools I have now, I would have saved myself a great deal of time and money.

3. Tying my time to my money

There are only so many hours in the day, and even less if you factor in sleep. And yes, you have to sleep. This means if all of your offerings or services are tied to your time, you are capping the amount of money you can make.

Three years ago, we had a big time wake-up call. We realized that the only way we could reach our income goal was if we worked 85+ hours a week. We knew something had to change. We scaled back our client hours and diversified our revenue streams through different platforms including passive income products and events.

Don't limit your earning potential with limited hours in the day! Allow money to come to you in different ways through different revenue streams.

4. Focusing on the product, not the problem

When you’re building your business, it’s easy to fall in love and obsess over the thing you’ve created. Whether it’s a website or a pair of sneakers, we tend to become connected to the things we create and tune out any helpful feedback, advice, or information that might alter our product.

When we started Mavenly + Co, we were helping women navigate corporate career paths. Everything we created focused on helping women climb that corporate ladder. Many women (I mean, lots of women) came to us asking about alternative paths including freelancing, side hustling, and entrepreneurship as a way to design their career, and for a long time we didn’t stop to think ‘maybe this is what we should be creating.

Your audience is telling you what they need. Step away from your precious product and listen.

5. Not Outsourcing + Optimizing Sooner

You could say I had a little bit of a control issue when starting Mavenly + Co., and by little I mean I needed to have my hands in every single thing we were doing. I realized I had to get clear on what parts of the business required my time, attention and expertise and what parts I could pass on to ensure things could continue to grow.

Time is one of your most valuable assets. I didn’t understand this until WAY late in the game. With less on my plate, I was able to grow our business much more quickly by focusing on what I did best. The investment we’ve made in automating our business and virtual assistants has paid us back plus more. Stop holding yourself back by needing to be involved.

The point is your mistakes are part of your growth. They are necessary on the path to success. Don’t let them get you down, and certainly share your wisdom once you come out on the other side.


Can you relate to these mistakes? Share your experience in the comments below!