I successfully published my first of many books in 2016. And I completely failed at building a business. I was so focused on writing the book and learning all the steps required to publish it that I never once looked up from the pages to see the much larger picture.
You know the forest all those pages actually came from.
I had no budget, no monthly expense sheet- tracking my mounting bills- no marketing plan and no goals for how many sales would be required to cover the unknown and growing costs of creating and purging this book into the world. The book was aptly titled, Shattered Into Being, as was I shattered in the process of writing it, while trying to avoid any business responsibility whatsoever.
I sat down while I was sick last week and pulled out all my receipts and began compiling them for my new CPA to review. I logged in all the receipts I so dutifully saved into an excel spreadsheet. I then went to my credit card bills and added all of those additional expenses to my accounting.
My husband, who is excellent with money and saves like you wouldn’t believe asked me, “So how much did you spend writing that book anyway?” I delayed, explaining I hadn’t actually tallied the final sum. I knew it was way more than I was comfortable with, but was still avoiding actually having a verdict.
My husband took Annie to the park and I tallied the months of expenses. I discovered that I had spent over half my income on business related expenses. Not all of it was the book or creating a publishing business, but nearly. A small portion went to real estate expenses. The downside, almost all of my income was from real estate, which had the least amount of expenses. What a pill to swallow.
So what led to this situation.
A relentless drive and passion to create my book and a mounting fear of missing out on all the tips, tricks and do-it-yourself tools for self-published authors. I bought into every sales pitch, get it now for only $97, $197, $497 and maybe a few $67 thrown in for good measure; and look we have have bonuses, but you have to act now. I fell for the exact same gimmicks when I was running my personal training business. I couldn’t believe I had done it again. (Yes, I’m a certified personal trainer as well. What can I say, if I’m interested in something I follow it. Hence all the hiking and physical activity you see in my posts and on my Instagram account anastacia.jayet)
The question at hand: Why was it so hard for me, a detail oriented, regimented and disciplined individual- I mean I’m a Virgo learning Capricorn with a Taurus moon- to sit down and create a business plan, follow a budget, track expenses and set goals?
Well here you go: my top 10 tips and what to avoid when creating a start-up.
1. FOMO: Fear of missing out.
Get over it you can only buy what you can afford and have budgeted for, no impulse buys. If you didn’t plan for it, you don’t actually need it- it’s a want. Seriously they’re using psychology in their marketing on you, it’s not your fault. A budget and a plan will keep you on track. It’s like a diet, you have to have a plan for when desert is offered.
2. To AVOID PAIN at the end of the year track your expenses.
There is nothing more sickening than finding out in the end after you have paid for it all what you actually spent. You have no control and no ability to make informed choices if you don’t know what you’re spending.
3. GROW UP! There is no such thing as doing less and getting more.
If you want to succeed you’re going to have to work at it and that means doing the things you have to do before you do the things you want to do. Or as in my case wake up really early to get some of the things you want to do done before everyone else wakes up.
4. Be Controversial.
Don’t buy everything they say you have to have in order to be successful. I mean what’s better than proving you actually didn’t need their gimmicks to be successful. Trust yourself and just say NO. That is unless you had it written into you plan and budgeted for the expense.
5. Be Bold.
Don’t be afraid to call marketers out when they trigger your greatest fears in order to sell you something you don’t need and then when it fails offer their paid services to get you out of the situation. I mean seriously.
6. Do your own research.
Infomercials, webinars and Facebook groups do not count as research. Especially when a large part of the information provided is geared toward you buying their product in the next 48 hours. Do your own research. You have Google and the Internet what more do you need.
7. Pay attention.
When someone posts an article saying here are the top 10 things I learned not to do pay attention. Those are far more important than all the steps you should do. Just like what not to eat is far more important than the extra superfood supplements you add to your diet. It doesn’t matter what you add if you don’t first remove the things that will sabotage your success.
8. Pay a Professional.
If you know you really suck at writing a business plan then don’t. Pay a professional to sit with you and help you create a successful plan, goals and budget included. The same way you might hire a financial adviser to help you create a plan for retirement. And no I haven’t created a retirement plan. I’m just figuring out how important this all is now.
9. BE HONEST.
Stop the inner conflict by standing up and taking responsibility for your business and your success. No lame cop-outs that you’re a creative type, that left brained numbers and planning just aren’t your thing. If you want to create, you have to be responsible first or you might as well go get that retail job, waitress job or whatever- you fill in the blank.
10. CONFESS- tell the truth, ASK for help and then FORGIVE yourself.
You did your best, your mistakes are yours alone. No one else gets to nit pick them. Learn from them and then Let It Go. You can’t move forward while you’re busy looking back and beating yourself up.
I hope this was helpful. I know it helped me gain awareness and accept What Is and let go of What Was. Now to move forward into my new lessons.
Here’s to confessing and telling the truth. Like I said in my book, Shattered Into Being, I gave up on humiliation a long time ago. I mean with the stuff I’ve been through let’s not kid anybody here. I’m not pretending to be anything I’m not.