- Jen Glantz is a bestselling author and the founder and CEO of Bridesmaid for Hire, a boutique services company that offers professional bridesmaids who “take care of all your wedding dirty work.”
- In her early years as an entrepreneur, Glantz made a series of business mistakes that she says cost her over $US10,000.
- Many of the mistakes were made by cutting corners to try to save money, which only ended up costing more in the long run when they had to be fixed.
- If you’re a new entrepreneur, Glantz says to avoid trying to do everything on your own and hire great people to help with day-to-day duties so you can focus on long-term strategy.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
One of my favourite questions to ask fellow entrepreneurs at a networking event or just when we’re one-on-one grabbing coffee is a question I used to be embarrassed to admit the answer to.
The question isn’t “How do you plan to scale?” or “What made you think of this interesting idea?” It’s one that can be doused in a little bit of shame and riddled with major regret:
“What’s the business mistake that cost you thousands of dollars?”
It’s the kind of question that doesn’t just break the ice, but allows the founder you’re talking to to quickly realise that they aren’t alone in their money mistakes.
Starting a business means that you’re constantly making decisions, and some of those decisions may turn into costly mistakes. For some, their answer revolves around buying too much product before they even had an audience that showed any interest. For others, it was taking on too much debt too fast, opening up credit cards to pay for an office space and lawyer fees, all before even having a viable business plan.
My answer to the question is one that anyone who knows me knew I would make when I started a business (I was just too stubborn to listen to them). That mistake cost me over $US10,000.
What was it? I tried to do everything myself. Because of that, my business wasn’t able to scale fast enough, and I made major errors that cost me even more money to fix. Here’s how the “do it yourself” mindset set me back with my finances and overall strategy.
I got burnt out fast
In my business, not only was I the founder and the one doing all of the strategy, but I was also the service. Which meant that I was already doing the job of multiple people. My work weeks turned into over 90 hours and I couldn’t take a break or find a moment to press pause, reset, and reevaluate the company’s direction. Even if I wanted to hire someone to help, I didn’t have the time to find them.
This initial mistake set me back over $US3,500 in just the first few months of starting my business because I had to turn down business opportunities and potential clients due to the fact that I couldn’t scale fast enough, and I didn’t bring on help when I needed it the most.
I tried to be a lawyer
One faulty way I tried to save money was by ignoring other’s advice to hire a lawyer or seek legal help. Instead, I created contracts and negotiated deals on my own. I have no legal background, and trying to be my own lawyer resulted in me signing contracts that weren’t in my favour and spending more money, years later, to get out of them.
While in the moment I saved money not hiring a lawyer, I ended up having to spend thousands of dollars later to fix those mistakes.
I didn’t value my time
Perhaps the biggest mistake I made – leaning into the fact that I didn’t delegate or hire anyone to help with my business in the early days – was that I didn’t put a dollar value on my time. When I was working over 90 hours a week, I didn’t understand how much money I was losing doing the work myself.
If I had put an hourly rate on my time, say of $US150 an hour, that would have been $US13,500 that I should have been paying myself weekly to do that work. If I had valued myself in that way, then I could have justified hiring a part-time assistant or even a handful of freelancers to help me with the things that ate up too much of my time, like social media or PR, and use my time instead to move the business forward
When other entrepreneurs ask me for advice, I keep it simple: Value your time, and don’t be afraid to hire people to help you. If I did that, I would have saved over $US10,000, and a whole world of stress.
Now, whenever I feel overwhelmed with my to-do list or notice that I’m working more hours a week than sleeping, I press the pause button and see what I can change. Five years into running a business means I can’t afford to make this mistake again.
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