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How not to run a business

This is a post from 2016 and believe me, I’ve made even more mistakes since then.
I’ve had a fair few of businesses in the past and some were even successful! But I have had some clangers too 🤔
 
Here’s a whistle stop overview and a couple of lessons learnt on the way.
 
It all started when I left Uni and wanted to have my own web design company 💻
 
It was 2000 and the internet was still built on hand coded pages and there was a smidgen of CSS. I wasn’t bothered about that, I just wanted to have my own business 😎
 
Living up North had it’s benefits back then. Business Link wanted to give me *all* the training courses. I walked to the other side of town every week to sit with other wannabe business owners and was taught “business” 🤓
 
The first contract fell through and it hurt. I was crap at coding and I couldn’t solve the problem the company hired me to solve 😞
 
My first business failure was that I focused on building a business without having a sound product. Fucksticks 😡
 
I ended going back on the dole then getting a job at the Early Learning Centre… and I hated kids 😩
 
2003 – I had another go at business. I thought that getting a Masters in Online Business 🙋🏻 would help. It did 🤓
 
I was reasonably successful in building a clothing company 👕
 
I did everything! I built the website, I designed the t-shirts, I got in magazines, made some great friends and met my heroes 🚲
 
But I didn’t make enough money for it to grow past a bedroom business 😢
 
My second business failure was that building lifestyle brands could get you fame but fame doesn’t mean money. (Translate this to the modern day equivalent – Having a massive social media following is shit unless you can turn it into cash.)
 
Another job and a go at being a career girl commenced and I retreated back into the work force 😑
 
2010 – I 🚶🏻 moon walked out of my corporate job and started in business again. I followed the freelancing route and built websites for DJs 🎤 and Lifestyle Companies.
 
My third business failure was that I ended up being a dogs body and it smashed my confidence.
 
Pricing yourself correctly is essential. I had no idea how to position myself as an expert and I became another web designer 👤Fail!
 
2012 – Tried my hand at selling on EBay and Amazon. Pure sales copy and marketing 101.
I made money on my first day! 💸
 
I did this for three years. Every day, I packed and posted products, and sold over 5,000 units 🗃WHOA!!! I saved 10,000 pairs of shoes from going to landfill. Yup, eco-warrior shit right there.
 
My fourth business failure was not picking a product that enough people wanted and the product didn’t retail for much cash. I made pocket money not mortgage money. Another fail!!! 🙁
 
2015 – Another stab at web design. This time I had a great product, a problem was being solved, I got clients, priced myself correctly, I was an expert and made some money! Yippee! 💷
 
My fifth business failure was doing it ALL myself and becoming a Technician as Michael Gerber puts it. Bollocks! I hit the earnings ceiling and I was working hard to do that. 💣
 
2016 – Productise my services… YES! Solving the problem of pressing the buttons myself was done by selling courses on web design! This was IT! 😁
 
I sold ONE! One course. I worked my arse off for £100. ☠️
 
My sixth business failure was not being everywhere. You can have a great product but unless it gets in front of the right people, it’s useless.
 
Spring 2016 (I’m failing faster!) – I ditched the product idea and went back to web design.
Someone released a similar course and made five figures. 💀
 
My seventh business failure was not being patient. Nuff said.
 
Summer 2016 – Today – Here’s my list up to now…
1 – Have a decent product. 2️ – Focus on the selling not the fame. 3 – Price it correctly. 4 – Ensure it makes enough money to fund your lifestyle (cos that’s why most people are in business!) 5 – Build and outsource your business systems as soon as possible. 6 – Get it in front of the people who want to buy it. 7 – Be patient.
 
Now hustling hard to make it eight lessons.
 
✨ And I guess that’s the eighth lesson – You’re always gonna fail but my GOD, you’ll learn how to do it better next time ✨

Carolynne Alexander

👩🏻‍🎤Ex-corporate Fixer → CEO Mentor
📈I transform overwhelmed CEOs into levelled-up Leaders of the Future
🧠Writer | Host | Nerd

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