Virtually Anything

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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