It’s inevitable: at some point in your biz journey, you are going to make mistakes and walk away with some regrets. But that’s okay, we’re all human! Today, Cami and I are opening up about our biggest business regrets. Listen in to borrow our learning lessons so that you can grow your creative business faster, and avoid wasting your precious time and money!
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Elisabeth’s Biggest Biz Regrets
Not networking sooner.
One of my biggest business regrets is not networking in person sooner. And I mean, like beyond just the standard Rising Tide meetings that I was like going to on a monthly basis, you know, basically just to make friends that was like the purpose of it was just to make friends in the area because like when I first moved to Georgia, I didn’t know anybody but I didn’t go in with like a really good networking mindset.
I kind of bought into this lie or this belief of like, you don’t need to put yourself out there in person or network in person because you’re going to leave anyway which was like really like the dumbest thing if you think about it, like we were still trying to get like plugged in into church, we’re still trying to get plugged in with friends. Like why would I not be trying to get plugged in with a professional community and like the wedding industry here in Atlanta at the same time. I think my wedding invitation business could have been even bigger and stronger if I had started to do this earlier. So that is kind of one of my regrets and not being more intentional about that.
Not bringing my wax seals in house this year (kinda got derailed)
I had this whole plan at the beginning of 2020 to bring my wax seal designs in house because I’m still working with a third party company who produces them and ships them for me. And it just did not happen. So that might have to go on the docket for 2021. But I’m like, Oh, I wish I could have devoted more time to that. But then I look at the scope of 2020 in general. Just like where I was in life. Like emotionally. And I’m like, Okay, I know, I didn’t happen, but that is one that I’m like, dang it.
2. Not honing in on my “weapon of choice” sooner
So Cami and I use this phrase, “weapon of choice” in the free webinar that we did a few weeks ago. And basically, the idea here is that you choose one like social media platform or search platform or content platform, whatever it may be, and kind of stick with it. So at the beginning, I was trying to do like all the things when it came to content I was trying to do my YouTube channel, my Instagram trying to figure out Pinterest, I was blogging, I was like, doing all the things.
I was just like throwing spaghetti at the wall and just hoping it would stick. And I actually talked to like Davey and Krista on their podcast about content a little bit and I and I talked about this that I was like I did not hone in enough at the beginning. I wish I had just kind of picked one thing and I mean, my biggest thing for sure was Instagram, but I know a lot of times I even have said in other episodes, I look back on the time I spent towards Instagram. And I don’t even know if that was the right decision and all the time that I spent dedicated like hours to like creating blog posts. I don’t know if that was the right decision.
So I don’t know. I wish I could have just picked one thing and stuck with it. And I’m not even sure that I know what that would have been, you know, but I almost want to say like maybe if I was like, actually really consistent with my email newsletter on like a weekly basis, like, maybe that could have been like a difference maker for me. I don’t know, like, I know that you could, you can create content and you can disperse it on all of the platforms like equally you can always change it and adapt it for different platforms in different ways. But I don’t know, I just wish I had stuck with one thing.
3. Not keeping up with my YouTube channel
Where I was looking back and I was like, oh, I think I regret not keeping up with my YouTube channel. And I know that that’s like so random and weird because I was just talking about like, honing in and picking your weapon of choice and like figuring this out. But I think when I was sitting here thinking about it, I was like if I had been releasing like a YouTube video even if it was like one YouTube video a week that was like a how to for artists or how to for calligraphy or tutorial or something like that. I was like, I kind of stopped doing my channel and like 2017 I was like I could have had so much frickin content on there that I had been like using to like, push people towards like, honestly this birthday bash because I don’t really even offer resources through Eliza and anymore. But it was like it still could have been something that I kept doing like on the side to make revenue from YouTube. And I know that that’s so silly to be saying now but I was kind of sad that I stopped doing that.
Cami Biggest Biz Regrets
Website Redesign Debacle
My first one, which was obviously the one that came top of mind immediately when he said regret was the website debacle, which I talked about on here, how I was getting a new website, and I was super jazzed Who are these really fancy high end designers who work with people like Lindsey letters and Emily ley, and I was like I am doing it, I’m taking the lead. And it turned out to be actually turned out to be pretty much nothing because nothing ever really got done. And I just mostly regret paying more than what I needed to which got me in trouble down the road. Because I’m an eager beaver, like I only needed to pay, they only said I need to pay 25% up front. But I paid 50% up front.
But you also learn something great, too, because you have conversations with other creators whose websites you’ve loved. And you ask them questions like , “Who built your website?” And they told you like, “Oh, we hire out individual jobs for small code and things of that nature. Don’t ever work with a website designer, just hire out individual things.”
So for all of y’all out there who like maybe do use, I think this is a great lesson to share with people that maybe you use Shopify, and you’re hoping to spruce up the code on the site a little bit, make it a little bit special. Maybe you want to change your menu design, maybe you want to change your footer, like you can go to places like, What did she say that she used to go? Like?
She used Fiverr, actually, but I used what I use, I have to figure out who I use for mine. Because I just found like this team of Shopify experts, you can just kind of like, get connected with one of them. And they do stuff for you. And I do not remember what it’s called. I need to go like with my email tonight.
Yeah, exactly. Like do something like that, before you take the step to pump a ton of money into like a web redesign. Like, I feel like I am honestly in the rare few that had a website design process, like a full web design process go so well, because I can’t tell you how many times I have heard stories like yours Cami of people who like do a full web design with someone and it should really just like really bad or really awful, like, mainly, like they might end up with a beautiful product. But the communication along the way is so bad that they’re like I don’t even know. Yeah, that’s basically what the person who said like, Oh, just outsource individual things. She’s like, we’ve been burned by website designers so many times in the past that I was like, Yeah, good to know. Good to know.
2. Not Using Paid Advertising on Etsy Sooner
I was always like, oh, my goodness, I don’t want to spend money on ads, I’ll just do it myself. But you guys, one thing I’ve definitely realized, especially in the product space, is that you have to spend money to make money.
Disclaimer: Risk Management is Important When it Comes to Ads
And also, I’m just gonna have a disclaimer, that you have to be very, very smart about the money you’re spending is it’s not just like, Oh, I spent it and now I’m gonna make it back. It’s not like a guaranteed. So I just want us all to remember a calculated risk, like, risk management is very important. But you do have to, like, spend money in order to grow a little bit so so paid advertising on Etsy I started using like, six months ago, maybe I started with like, you can do like limits per day, like a $10 a day budget, or $5 dollar per day or whatever. And I think I did like $1 per day at one point in my life, but that was like, nothing, obviously, like, that doesn’t mean anything. So I started doing $10 a day, like six months ago, just like see how it goes. And I would monitor it every day to be like, Okay, did I make more today from ads than spending on ads? And I was like, okay, like, I quadrupled or tripled from the front just like the ad spend so I was like, Okay, I’m gonna keep doing that. And then like, two weeks ago, I was like, you know what I’m gonna do, I’m gonna do $50 a day this and see what happens.
So I did $50 a day and the same thing it like tripled my ad spend every day just from from that because you can see when a sale comes through from an ad and you can also go to the ads manager on Etsy and say, it’ll say like, Oh, you spent this much today and you made this much today from your ad so I literally check that every single day and how’s every day has been, you know, a really really good positive in terms of ads and I’m like, why was I doing this sooner? Because another thing with Etsy too, is like the more sales you get, the more views you get, everything just kind of snowballs you keep building and building and building on Etsy. It just like starts just come in tenfold because Etsy does really prioritize the shops that have more sales and have more of you. So everything ultimately leads to more and more sales, like, the more sales lead to more sales. I mean, I know that sounds stupid, but like it really does. So I wish I was utilizing this paid advertising tool sooner to just kind of like, get that traction going sooner
3. Not being clear with my editing/revision boundaries with earlier clients
Oh, this got me in trouble a lot. I feel like I was just getting annoyed with clients when they would be like I want to change this isn’t this and I did not have my contract covering my butt. Before we made the custom stationery contract, which now covers your butt. My butt is fully covered, everybody there was no full moons.
But before it was like shenanigans, because I saw other industry leaders offering unlimited revisions for their stationery that I thought that was like industry standard and that I needed to do that too in order to be competitive or like I don’t know, be considered like a good high end stationer because they’re paying all this money. And I realized very quickly like that is not going to work within my business model and what I do so I wish I had taken control that very early on and just like being confident in holding up those boundaries and like, knowing to charge more when someone wants something ridiculous. Don’t just be like, oh, okay, whatever you want. You’re the client like being scared of the client. And now it’s just a lot of that came from like the beginning with like, the scarcity mentality and like I have a people pleaser mentality. This is like a therapy session now. Oh, my goodness, I have a people pleaser mentality. So like, just like, when you do everything right for the client, give them a great experience. But I can’t give the client a great experience if I’m having a horrible time and not being respected. So when I was able to put those boundaries in place and have a contract that covered that and like fully articulating why I do the things I do, it just makes everything so much easier. And saves me time and money in the long run and mental health because otherwise I lose my freakin mind, y’all.