This post is part of the blog tour for One Woman Shop’s Solopreneur Success Bundle*, a roundup of e-courses, e-books, and subscriptions designed to help you succeed in all aspects of your solopreneur biz. Your chance to grab over $1,000 in products at just $99 is only here from September 14-18th – learn more and get yours now*!
I haven’t done anything more exciting and fulfilling in my life than start my own business.
That might seem like a bold statement considering I’m happily married, with one beautiful dog and a wonderful extended family… But it’s true.
Helping other people to overcome something that comes easy to me is very rewarding. I watch how they take what they’ve learned from me to help others in so many areas of their lives – building confidence, accepting their bodies, coming to terms with who they are, decluttering, exploring their creative side, build businesses, improve their finances, homeschool their kids, bring them closer to their faith, improve their health and wellness. The list goes on and on.
At the same time it’s extremely fulfilling, it’s also quite humbling. I just teach WordPress – they are teaching people how to change their lives!
As I look back on the past several months since I first launched WP+BFF, I’m filled with gratitude. And I also think of things I could have done differently. Not that I regret any of the decisions I’ve made along the road to solopreneur success – they are all opportunities to learn and grow – but if a mistake I made can help you grow that much faster, I’d love for you to learn from my mistakes!
Mistake #1 – Not settings boundaries.
I created a Facebook group to help my BFFs work through my free video tutorial series – which is THE BEST thing I’ve ever done for my business because there’s no better way to interact with your community. But (there’s always a but) I was so eager help and to position myself as an expert that I was in that Facebook group 24×7 – so much so that I had major anxiety when I couldn’t be online. “What if someone needs something and I’m not there to answer it? What if they go somewhere else for help? What if they tell people that I’m not responsive?”
I set the expectation from the start that you’d get an answer to your question within an hour. And I still have a day job that pays me to work for them between the hours of 8AM – 5PM. If I could go back in time, I’d set the expectation that I’d be in there answering questions twice a day, and now that’s exactly what’s happening. But it took some time to re-set those expectations.
Mistake #2 – Waiting too long to join a Mastermind group.
Just because I’m a one woman shop doesn’t mean I have to carry the weight of this business on my shoulders. I had come across One Woman Shop while researching ways to grow my business, perused their membership and didn’t do anything.
A few months later I was nominated for their 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs list. I perused their membership again and did nothing.
Then I saw how much money I was blowing on Facebook ads vs. how much traffic I was getting from that one blog post on their site and though “Hmm… Maybe my $30 a month would be better spent on a One Woman Shop membership since it comes with ad space…”
I didn’t know that it came with a monthly accountability group and one-on-one coaching. So I took advantage of that right away – and the very first thing Cristina and Sara helped me to do is set some boundaries (and they gave me language to use so I wouldn’t feel like a total asshole) gave me some tools and ideas to automate more and work less, and activate my community to help me market.
Seriously, they need to raise their prices. And you should join One Woman Shop before they do.
Mistake #3 – Creating a product that’s more advanced than where my audience is right now.
I started with a free 5 Day Website Challenge that teaches how to build a WordPress site from scratch to grow an email list. Then I built a course called WP*OMG – Operation Marketing Genius which teaches how to build an online course or membership site and how to create all the marketing sequences to automate getting people into the course.
Sounds like a logical next step, right? WRONG. I miscalculated. It launched to crickets. People need more help after they build their first site. There was too big of a gap between where my people are RIGHT NOW vs. where they will be when they need to create an online course or membership site or sell something. They need to hone their services, develop their brand, grow their list. They weren’t ready for OMG – even though they said they wanted it. I went too far past where they were.
Mistake #4 – Not sleeping enough (see #1).
Staring at a computer screen ALL DAY makes my eyeballs hurt. I shouldn’t be doing it. And I’m starting to see WAY more lines around my eyes and it has nothing to do with me turning 36 this year because I wouldn’t be aging at all if I was getting my beauty rest (that’s what I like to tell myself anyway).
I’m in bed at 9 but I’m probably not asleep until 10:30 – 11 (especially if The Profit comes on CNBC, I’m obsessed with that show right now). Then up at 5:30 to work out and work before I go to work. Insert lots of caffeine and it’s no wonder I can’t keep track of where I’m supposed to be when (I may or may not have driven downtown for a meeting on the wrong day). I’m still making this mistake. #workingonit
Mistake #5 – Spending too little time with my family (see #1).
I might be in the room or car with my husband, but I’m certainly paying zero attention to what he’s saying when my nose is in my Macbook or glued to my iPhone. Countless times he’s been talking to me and I listen to the first 5 words, then start typing again, then realize he’s waiting for a response and then say “Wait, what was that again?” I try feign misunderstanding, but he knows the truth – I just stopped listening.
He’s certainly supportive of me, but if I don’t stop doing this I think I’ll end up very regretful down the road. Because in my head nothing is more important than family, especially my husband, but my actions certainly don’t show it. #workingonit
Mistake #6 – Focusing on money and not on people (see #1).
This totally has to do with boundaries and a lack of confidence and a lack of clarity around my offer. I have people tell me all the time that they wish there was a way to pay me for the 5 Day Challenge. Or for the support they got from me in my Facebook group. And I would think man, if I had even charged $10 for the 5 Day Challenge I’d have $10,000 dollars.
Or if I create a course and sell it for $297 and I have to sell x courses to make x dollars – then I spend all my time creating that course and zero time nurturing and interacting with my group – and it all goes to shit. My list literally stops growing, I’m not even kidding. Then when I go back to helping people, my list starts growing again. This has happened at least 3 times since I started. I did turn my free Facebook group into a premium feature though – we’ll see how that goes!
Mistake #7 – Not paying for shortcuts.
I have a tendency to want to learn everything about everything and do it all myself – and I REALLY think it’s important to learn the tech that runs your business (#duh, that’s what I teach!) but once you learn it and understand it, it doesn’t always make sense for you to keep doing it.
I’ve been using Photoshop for a hundred years (okay, like 10) but that doesn’t make me a graphic designer. One of the most important things I’ve done for my business is to hire a graphic designer. A couple of them, actually.
And instead of spinning my wheels and spending a ton of time on trial and error on figuring out how to write sales copy or put together packages and services, I’ve invested in courses that will help me get there faster and do a better job than I could do on my own. I know it’s scary to spend money when you’re just starting out, but you must prioritize learning the skills that will support your business as you grow – sometimes that means paying for a course.
Or a bundle of courses worth over $1500 for just $99, like the Solopreneur Success Bundle #justsayin'
I’ve got some lofty goals for my one woman shop, and I’ve got quite a ways to go to reach them.
I’ve got a lot to work on, and I’m sure I’ll create many more opportunities to learn from my mistakes as I move forward. I’m just grateful for the opportunity to screw up!
I teach passionate solopreneurs who aren’t so passionate about technology how to create a dynamic website so they can share their talents with the world. Through my 5 Day Website Challenge at http://shannonmattern.com, hundreds have gained confidence in their ability to build their own website and feel empowered to choose whether to spend time or money because they have the ability to do it themselves.
*This is an affiliate link. Not only did I contribute my awesome product to this bundle, I also earn a commission when you buy it. I only promote products I use and trust, and even though I haven't used all 19 products in this bundle if they are coming from One Woman Shop you can be sure they are top-shelf.