I think the best part of being my own boss is that I can take risks without having to answer to anyone. I can try new things and if anything doesn’t work, I can stop and change direction. I realize that this is a rare but essential privilege for any business person. No matter how supportive your work environment may be, it’s a lot easier to bet the farm when it’s your farm.
In other words, I’m allowing myself to make mistakes so long as I learn from them. And, trust me, I make plenty of mistakes.
That’s why I really appreciated this article on Bootstrap Website Advice, for example. While Steve Matthews focuses on websites, his advice to those bootstrapping their endeavors applies to many projects. I especially appreciated these tips:
1. Give yourself permission to launch a ‘Version One’ website. Nothing online is permanent, including this site.
6. Good enough. Along the same lines as the previous item, you don’t have time to be a perfectionist. Most new entrepreneurs wear lots of hats, or ALL the hats. That means you don’t have weeks to spend on your logo, or to perfect your business image coming out the door.
7. Know when your startup period is over. Whether it’s 6-months in or 18-months in, your ‘Version One’ website has a limited life span. Simply put: kill it and upgrade your home base. If you’re using that same website in Year 3, there’s a problem. New businesses are forgiven for bootstrapping; established businesses look cheap, and turn away work without knowing it.
Not only did Matthews remind his readers that mistakes and trial periods are okay, but he also reminded us that there is a limit to the mistakes we make. Entrepreneurs are still responsible business people, not simply the reckless black sheep of the corporate world.
But, back to my mistakes. I’ve decided to create a column here where I admit to some of the mistakes I’ve made along the way. (…probably after I’ve taken some time to stop kicking myself over them.) While I’m not sure if it’s the smartest thing I’ll ever do – admitting my mistakes freely and publishing them on the internet – I’m hoping that other people will also learn from them and also remind other entrepreneurs that they’re not alone.
I’ll try to include my mistakes and also how I went about fixing the problem. I’ll appreciate any tips or supportive comments in the comments.
And, yes, there is already a backlog of mistakes that I want to write about so look for the first installment soon!