Streamlined Life: Business Stuff That Costed Me Thousands of $$$ to Learn

The week that was had been huge for my sanity... because I closed one of my businesses.

Maybe I'll reserve the whole shebang of that story for later. All I can say for now is that it's not that I gave up on running it, I just realized I opened the wrong one. And it took a big chunk of my courage to admit it. If you're on Ev Bogue's mailing list, it's very similar to the time when he realized and admitted he can't push through with his Hovercarding idea that he once was very excited to launch. After a lot less moolah, and a lot of honesty to my self, I also learned these things on the journey:

Please note that I haven't attended business school, I never had a business mentor, and I came from a family who never had a really successful business so if what you're about to read seems pretty basic for you, pardon this newbie.

1.) Marketing should be on the front row. I fell in love with the concept of the product too much and with other more romantic stuff like branding that I somehow pushed marketing plans at the bottom of the priority list. It took me months to learn how to run what I'll call "sustainable marketing", how to often it needs to be refueled and how much does it really cost.

2.) Imagine pitching the idea to an expert in the industry. This is such a simple exercise that will save many multi-passionate people's ass in the long run. Imagine yourself pitching your product or service to someone who really knows the industry of your product well. Pay attention not to your knowledge in the topic but to your confidence, clarity and enthusiasm, you'll get a cue from this. This is great when you're deciding if you really want the entire idea of the biz or it's just one of your many "passions", not meant for monetizing. I pitched the idea only to friends, the very supportive ones. Not a very wise decision, obviously.

3) Time is Money. Whenever computation is involved like when planning how much to price a product/service, always, always, factor in time. People should pay for your for time. Now, I always remember this concept on my professional work as well. Yikes, I used to miss this one, too??

4) Pricing is branding. Price the product cheap, and it will brand itself cheap. Pricing is an art. Lowering the price is not a marketing strategy for me now, but lifting the buying experience for the customers. I'm still mastering this. So for peeps like me, here's a real helpful material from Etsy on the pricing pyramid. Also, this well-written article by Design Sponge is a must-read.

5) What brings-food-on-the-table-numbers matter. Don't busy yourself with growing less important numbers. You may have a lot of followers in Twitter but if none of them translates to sales, you're toast. If social media brings in the sales, then be always present there! I had an opportunity to sell a business to a potential investor. Seriously, he did not give a rat's ass about my social media count. He decided based on sales and profit. Simply said, the numbers that bring in the money matter. Focus on that.

BONUS: Don't get an office space right away when you're only starting. This tip is not from me, but from a friend who could have saved a year of nightmare paying rent if only she knew this important lesson. I repeat, for the love of all that is good, don't get an office space yet! Get resourceful if you really need one. If you haven't tested you're business profitability yet, tying yourself with a recurring bill is a no-no. Refer to tip #1 first. Rinse. Repeat.

If you're curious how I am after pulling the plug on my biz, my answer is that I'm happier. I know it sounds impossible but I was in complete peace as I went through its closing, as I know in my heart that I am being true for letting my wrong decisions go. With the hope that I'll do better next time, it is the only way to let new blessings in.


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