Virtually Anything

Archive for May, 2008

What Not To Do When Running A Business

Posted by collinsadmin on May 14, 2008

We all make mistakes when starting our own business.  Yes, some of them are mistakes to be ashamed of but nonetheless they were honest mistakes.  As long as you learn from your mistakes, you can be successful in running a business.

I have made my share of mistakes when dealing with clients so I am sharing them with you so that you don’t make the same mistakes.


In the past, I have had potential clients contact me via phone.  This is great news right?  Not always.  At times, I have been so excited that I allow my emotions to take over and become as giddy as a high school girl who realizes her crush feels the same way. Of course, once I get off the phone I then have the opportunity to sit back and realize what I did wrong.  So no matter how badly you need the business, do not let your emotions overtake the conversation. Be yourself but be professional as well.

Trying To Be Someone You Are Not

We’ve all seen it on the internet, in advertisements, in conversation etc.  It’s that ever so popular saying “be professional”.  Dress professional, act professional, speak professionally, etc.  Professional is open to interpretation.

Now I’m not saying go out in public wearing holey clothes, run around public places acting like you are a monkey, or using words of the English language that you wouldn’t want your mother or children to hear, but I am saying be yourself. You don’t have to have a masters degree, you don’t have to be a genius, you don’t have to use big words to look professional.

That was one of my major hang ups and I am gradually getting to the point where I can be myself.  See, I am a very laid back type of person but I was trying to be uptight (for lack of a better word) and all that was doing was making me feel nervous, anxious, and just not myself.  I also realized that by taking on this mindset, I was attracting the wrong personality trait that I am interested in working with.  Remember be yourself and you will attract the people that you are most compatible with.

Never Be Afraid To Ask For Payment

I remember one of the biggest mistakes I ever made in running my business was being afraid to ask for payment.  One of the very first potential clients I had contact me, wanted some information about my services.  We discussed how I could help him and what he needed done then it came to giving him my rate. It all went downhill from there.

I actually said “This is the part that I have a hard time with, my rate is $25/hour.”  Once I got off the phone I said to myself, what the heck was that. To be honest with you, I have no clue what I was thinking at the time.  I was very afraid to ask for payment but I have since realized that I am worth every penny that I charge.  My time and expertise is precious and I work hard for every penny that I earn.  Remember, never ever be afraid to ask for payment   If you think you are charging too much sit back and re-evaluate your business and what you feel you are worth and change your fee accordingly.

Always Know Your Limitations

This happened as early as the beginning of last year, I have definitely learned from this mistake, and lucky for me my client was very understanding and has since become my best client.

I  received an email from a potential client asking me if I could do a database for him (in Access). He told me what he wanted and I told him sure there would be no problem because I knew Access (at least I thought I did) and I was in need of some business.  I told him it would take a couple of days.  Well once I got more into the project I realized I was in way over my head.  Luckily for me, I found a person from the UK via an Access forum who was gracious enough to hold my hand and walk me through the whole creation.

I pushed my pride aside and told my client that I was in over my head but that I said I would do it and I would work at it until I had it to his satisfaction.  It took me approximately 2 months to complete the whole database but my client was happy with it.  However, I would not ever do that again.  If it is something that I have never done, I tell the client up front and then they can decide if they still want to use my services.  I will never take on a project unless I am 100% sure that I can handle it or without telling my client that it may be beyond my expertise.

If you aren’t 100% sure that you are able to help your client with his/her needs tell them upfront.  Do not say that you can just to get business because you will get more respect from a potential client if you are honest with them than you will if you sugar coat things.

So here are the top mistakes that I have made in my business and I hope that if any of these mistakes are ones that you have found yourself doing you will learn from them.  I also believe that if one person learns from my mistakes before they make them, then this article has served its purpose.



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Is Honesty Too Much To Ask Anymore

Posted by collinsadmin on May 5, 2008

Recently it seems that my trusting nature has gotten me nowhere but the shaft. I guess anymore you should expect to be taken once in awhile (which is very sad) but what gets me the most is the type of people who are doing it.

Recently I was giving something away for free and I had a short form where all I wanted was the email address and the name of the person and company who was asking for it (nothing extravagant just something to keep track of where it went) and wouldn’t you know it, I got somebody who left some pretty vulgar names in the form. Now I am not one to get offended easily but what irritated me most was that I put my time and energy into this item without asking a penny for it and I had somebody who was ignorrant about it. I don’t always expect to get real email addresses or names but I do expect to get respect.

I let that pass and just chalked it up to somebody who was just plain ignorrant (there is always one bad apple in the tree). Then, again within the last couple of months somebody on a forum was looking for somebody to make a form for them. They had many people who tried to create the form like he wanted but for whatever reason the people didn’t know what he was asking for. So I decided since that is one of my services that I would offer to do it for him. I told him it would be $10 and since my policy is that I make sure the client is happy before I charge them, I created the form and sent it to him for his approval.

A week goes by with no response, so I figure he’s busy and wait for another week. I then email him and ask if he was satisfied with it. Again no response. So I wait another week and email him again and he emails me back that he has been extremely busy and hasn’t had the chance to look at it and that he would get back to me as soon as possible. Needless to say, I haven’t gotten a response. Sure I could keep hounding him but I have better things to do with my time then track somebody, who obviously doesn’t have common courtesy, for a measly $10.

One of the things that I have learned from this experience is not to be so trusting (although I really hate to feel this way). Just recently I got a request from somebody who wanted to review an excel sheet that I created (which I am selling) but instead of me just emailing him the excel sheet that does all the calculations, figuring if he was interested he would pay me, I put it in a PDF format and emailed it to him. Had it been a few months ago that he asked me for the sheet to review, I would’ve sent him the regular one but I’ve been burned too many times and unfortunately, I have to keep my guard up all the time.

My question to all those reading is; Is honesty in this ever-changing technological world gone? Is it only going to get worse with the advancement of technology due to the anonymity it gives?

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Friends are the backbone of society

Posted by collinsadmin on May 2, 2008

Recently I had a death in my family, it was expected but also a shock, and I took it kind of hard but I had a great friend who was there to help me through it. No it wasn’t my next door neighbor or somebody close to my location it was somebody clear across the country. Her name was Laura Wheeler from Firelight Web Studio. 

She listened to me when I felt I needed to talk and she offered as much support as she could.  Now, I know that she has a busy business to run but she took the time to respond to my emails and just offer me support. To me, that is a great friend.

With the advancement of technology and how busy peoples lives are we often forget to sit back and think about all the non-material things that we have in our lives. What I mean by that is family and friends. All too often you find people who are more concerned about themselves and the latest gadget that came on the market instead of taking 5 minutes to listen to somebody who needs a shoulder to cry on. I guess that’s why it means so much when somebody who you haven’t ever met face-to-face (and you probably never will) takes the time to hold out their hand and say I’m here and I will help wherever I can.

My hopes in writing this post is that you will take a couple of minutes and sit back and think about what you have in your life besides all the gadgets, money, material things etc and thank god that you have it. If you have somebody close to you that you haven’t called or told them that you love them, now is the time to do it because you never know when that person will be taken from this earth. Remember, without friends and family you are just another person on this land trying to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders and you don’t have to be.

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