No entrepreneurial journey is free of missteps. Even those who make it to the top swiftly can tell you tales of bad decisions, costly errors, and embarrassing moments in their business. I prefer to call these growing pains bloopers and I’ve had my fair share of them. Now, I haven’t had any Three Stooges-type bloopers where I tripped up the stairs in front of a large audience or slipped on a banana peel walking to the podium, but I’ve done a number of silly things along my entrepreneurial journey. And when I was living out some of those bloopers, it seemed the world was crashing in on me. There were even times I cried hysterically. In my rearview mirror, though, those giant bloopers just look like tiny speed bumps along my road to success. I am able to look back and laugh at them – at every single one of them. I’ve discovered that bloopers create character and they force you to grow.
Enjoy your journey through my blooper reel from seven years in business!
I failed to value my expertise.
I will never forget the pit in my stomach when I first started my business and had to tell a potential client what I charged. I seriously felt like I was going to throw up. At that time, I could not fathom someone being willing to pay me $35 an hour to organize their office. Well, my business has evolved, I no longer go to clients’ offices to organize them, and I charge hundreds of dollars per hour – not $35. Clients are willing to pay what your current expertise and services are worth! Don’t undervalue yourself. Charge in alignment with your value and what the market will bear.
I didn’t take advantage of technology.
When I first started my business, I’d wake up at 3am and drive all over Vegas to my clients’ offices. I didn’t have enough knowledge on how to make money virtually. Now, I get to sit in my cozy office and meet with clients all over the world without leaving my house. I don’t have to stress out in traffic, put miles on my car, or keep filling my gas tank. I don’t even have to put on pants if I don’t want to! I’m able to stay close to my son’s school so I can drop him off and pick him up when I want to for extra time together. Huge wins for my business and sanity. I also love how my son often walks in after I’ve been working all day and asks, “Where in the world did you go today?”
I let negative self-talk play a number on me.
Back when my assistant first started working for me in early 2014, I had her attend one of my presentations for a local association to pass out and collect forms. Afterward, I sat in my car with her while bawling at how badly I did. I’m sure that really boosted her sense of job security! I felt embarrassed and ashamed, like I wasted everyone’s time including my own. I questioned whether I was even cut out for speaking. The feedback however? Great! I even scored a couple of spin-off presentations from audience members! I am definitely my own worst critic but on that particular day, I really let my limiting, negative self-talk get the best of me.
I didn’t make it to my own webinar.
I had scheduled and promoted my webinar, then failed to show up. It wasn’t because I forgot to put it on my calendar. It was simply because I had asked my supportive husband to Iog in to the webinar to support me. What I didn’t realize come start time, was Joe had mistakenly logged in under my Gmail account which was connected to the webinar platform. Basically, he had logged in as the host but never pushed the button to start the webinar. When I tried logging in, I could not find the button to host. I could see hundreds of people were logged on, ready for the webinar, but I was nowhere to be found. I was there but no one could see me or hear me. I tried reaching out to support while in complete panic mode but while waiting for a response, I watched everyone log off one-by-one. Total nightmare. I wrote a very apologetic email requesting to reschedule but the damage had been done. I had a lot riding on that webinar and it was a fluke.
I sounded like a Valley Girl.
Back when I first started my podcast, I was just learning how to do on-air interviews and there was definitely a learning curve. Properly transitioning between segments, keeping guests on topic, pivoting to my questions, and replying to guests’ stories was all new to me. After one particular episode, both my assistant and audio editor made a comment about the number of times I used the reply, “Awesome!” I clearly sounded like a broken record! My audio editor even sent me a hilarious gif of a character saying, “AWE-SOME!” to make light of the situation. In trying not to offend me, my assistant sent me a comment which offered “suggested synonyms for “awesome” that would work really well as replies to guests’ stories.” Needless to say, I choose my superlatives more carefully now.
I used the wrong tech.
I used the wrong microphone to record my podcast three times. I didn’t even realize the damage until it was almost too late and I was up against my deadlines. I found out through my awesome audio editor via a Trello comment each time and inevitably dropped my head in my hands when I read those dreaded words, “You sound like you’re talking underwater.” Eek! I felt so bad each time because my thoughtless screw-up required my audio editor and his team to work extra hard to make the sound quality better.
I kidnapped my son
It wasn’t on purpose, of course. Erik was supposed to have a nice, relaxing summer playing with his friends in Vegas and chillin’ at home with our nanny last July. Instead, she quit due to a family emergency and without a sound backup plan in place, I had to drag Erik all across the country to business conferences with me. We were gone for almost a month. He would sit in the back of the lecture halls playing on his gaming devices with his headphones on while I invested in my business. Luckily, it turned out great. That trip remains one of my all-time favorites because it was such a great bonding experience.
I acted awkward when I met fans.
I know people listen to my podcast. I see the data. But when I met listeners in person, they shared their feedback, and they let me know their results implementing my strategies, I had a hard time knowing what to say and fumbled over my words. And this is an ongoing thing! I’m even awkward socializing with fans I personally know. I have three sets of couple friends who listen to my podcast together while they get ready in the morning, before they go to bed at night, and while driving to restaurant with the kids in tow. When I see them at functions, they’re eager to chat about my latest episode and I act like a blubbering idiot not knowing what to say - especially because they’re not entrepreneurs! I’m honored they tune in and find the content impactful but I guess I don’t have a great grasp on why which turns me into this shy, little girl.
I made typos galore.
If you follow my social media accounts or are a Productivity Straight Talk Insider, you likely know I’ve made a multitude of typos. Spelling is just not my thing. I know my strengths and putting the right letters in the right order is just not one of them. Audience members will occasionally tell me after a presentation that I had a major typo on a slide. Whoops! Funny enough, I have my assistant draft emails for me sometimes and then I make final edits before sending. Well, wouldn’t you know, even if I just change one sentence, that sentence will be the one I get feedback on as having a typo? I wish my assistant could review everything I type before it goes out but that’s just unrealistic and unproductive. I’ve learned to hire out for spelling and grammar editing where I can but also to embrace my spelling weakness. I am now able to laugh the corrections off so I can focus on my strengths instead.
I made up words.
I still do make up words and I don’t necessarily realize I’ve made them up until someone points it out – words like efficienize and verberize. In my defense, in my world of productivity, those words should totally exist! I also Google the long, Webster-approved words my assistant uses in my emails when I don’t know their meaning. I then switch out those words with ones I’d actually use.
I mispronounced words.
I have been known to (dare I say it?) omit parts of my guests’ bios so I don’t have to say words I would totally mispronounce and sound like a jack-ass on-air. If my assistant foresees me having an issue with pronouncing a particular word, she will write it out on my script exactly how I should say it, with hyphens an all, just like a dictionary. Last names are especially the death of me. Before recording the intro for an episode in which I interviewed my good friend, Chanie Wilschanski, I called her to ask how to say her name. I was totally embarrassed I had no clue how to pronounce it but even so, I wanted to get it right. Now I know, it’s will-shan-skee.
I hired the wrong person.
The first Ontraport Consultant I hired didn’t possess the knowledge or skill set to complete the work I requested of her without having to live in Chat Support. She always completed the work but it took many more hours than it should have to complete each task – hours which I was billed for of course. She simply wasn’t as competent at Ontraport as I needed my Consultant to be. I asked more of her than she could realistically handle which worked for neither of us. It stressed her out and costed me undue money. Her lack of expertise also led to screwing up a few campaigns in major ways. I finally cut the cord and wished I had done it sooner. My takeaway was to be much more thorough during each hiring process and do a trial run with each new hire. Trying to squeeze lemonade out of an apple never turns out well.
I stalked someone.
Somewhat recently, a potential contacted me, demanding that I stop texting her. That seemed odd so I checked Ontraport and sure enough, I had accidentally texted her the same message six times in one day. Six! I was mortified. I didn’t personally do it myself, of course. I’m not a psychopath, but my automated system did. What had happened was, when I lost my second Ontraport Consultant, I had to get in there and do some dirty work myself out of necessity. I obviously screwed something up with my automations because I would never intentionally text someone the same message two times in one day, let alone six. There’s probably no faster way to a potential client blocking you. I apologized and she was thankfully forgiving.
I was direct to a fault.
Anyone who knows me, is a client of mine, or listens to my podcast knows I’m pretty direct. That’s because I hate bullshit and feel it’s my duty to be straightforward and get right to the point. It’s served me well for the most part. Other times, it’s backfired. Recently, my new sales coach clued me in to a little unknown fact. She pointed out how in my emails, right after the “Hello!” or “Hey!” greeting, I got right down to business with the meat of the email. “Be less direct,” she said, encouraging me to use niceties like, “How are you doing?” and “Hope you’re having a great week!” in the intros. Eye opener! I reviewed some old emails decided I should definitely try being “nicer” to my subscribers that I appreciate so much.
Everyone has a unique entrepreneurial journey and surely yours will be speckled with your own bloopers of sorts. They’re pretty much inevitable. When you make a blooper, especially a big one, it may feel like your world is crashing in and you’re never going to recover. That is far from the truth. Don’t let your bloopers hold you down and keep you from getting back up. Make the choice to overcome whatever bloopers you make and your character will be better for it! Embrace your awkwardness, learn from your mistakes, and most importantly, enjoy the hard parts of your journey for all the learning and growing they allow you to do.