3 Mistakes I Made When Starting My Business

  • Everyone has a story. Everyone has to start somewhere. It’s important to remember that the greats in the world weren’t always that way. It’s all about growth!
  • Sometimes, when disaster or loss happens, we have to shift our focus onto what makes us happy and fulfilled.
  • Loss can also cause us to create our own path. My divorce led me to quit my current job out of dissatisfaction and start my own business which led me to where I am today.
  • Be careful when choosing your business name. Using your own name could cause further consequences later on.
  • It’s important to put thought into your business. You need to understand your goals, your services, your mission, etc. This allows you to be strategic and more fulfilled in your business. You don’t have to say yes to the things you hate to do.
  • Think about your future. What processes or rules will you put in place for when you begin to grow? It’s easier to do this now than change your current processes in the future.

You’ll have people who don’t understand what you’re doing. Your own family might question your decision to start your own business. Find those people who will inspire you such as mentors or those knowledgeable in the industry. Find those individuals who will be excited about what you want to do, instead of those who question your abilities.

  • I never wanted to run my own business – 05:03
  • No money, no help and no job – 11:33
  • Mistake #1: I used my name as my business name – 13:16
  • Mistake #2: I didn’t think about my business – 17:14
  • Find people who inspire you and lift you up – 21:01
  • Mistake #3: I didn’t futureproof – 23:08
Transcript below


Hello and welcome to Episode 34 of the social media marketing Made Simple podcast and I am your host Teresa Heath-Wareing. So tell me how is your day going. I hope it’s good and productive and you’re achieving great things. You might listen to this on a Monday which means you’re at the start the week. Or you could be through the week. But wherever you are I hope things are good for me it’s been a great week. I started off not so great if I’m honest. Monday was a little bit quiet and I didn’t really feel in the mood to do much. Do you ever feel like that and do you think you want to shake yourself and be like C’mon you’ve got stuff to get on with. But sometimes your mind just isn’t in the game. So Monday started off like that for me. However it’s Mayfair’s day and I’m feeling so much happier about it. I’ve done some great things this week. I’ve recorded a great podcast interview yesterday which is going to be out next week with Chris Strub that’s going to be read exciting. Then later on today I’m recording another interview with the amazing Brian Fanzone. So I’m super excited about that. So we’ve got some really good content coming up for you. The other thing that’s super exciting that’s just happened today is I’ve just been sent the first version of the Ted x talk I did. Oh wow. I couldn’t wait to watch it. Now normally when most people see themselves back on camera and this includes me you kind of really critique yourself and you look at yourself and you think oh god was like pulla face or do that or be like this. But actually the Ted x experience was so amazing and so exciting watching it back. All it did for me was made me think What an amazing day that was. I am so excited to get this aits you know as it stands at the moment it might be different when the podcast is life. It’s not ready to be shown to the general public. When you do at. Now I know a little bit about it. There are an awful lot of rules that the licencee and the organizer has to conform to and one of those rules is that obviously everything has to go through tax and Tadd first. So what’s going to happen as far as I’m aware is the videos are going to get approved by the speakers and then they go to Tadd and upload uploaded to Ted and hopefully fingers crossed they get put on the YouTube and the TED Web site.


Now you know it’s not actually a given that your video is going to be put up. If there’s something in it that they deem isn’t true they have rules and like that there are a lot of rules which is completely understandable. But if there is something on there that they’re not overly happy with or whatever then they can actually say your video is not going up. Now as far as they know everything on mine should be absolutely fine. I’m touching a lot of words here as I’m talking to you because I would be devastated if the video didn’t go up but it is awesome. So hopefully when it does go up keeping everything crossed. I can’t wait to share that with you. I’ve been talking to lots of people over the last few weeks in terms of the interviews I’ve been doing and one of the things I’ve been asking them is to tell me their story because I don’t know about you but for me. I love listening to the stories about how people got to be where they are today and do what they’re doing today. I find it fascinating. The other reason they like hearing their stories is because so often we look at the Amy port fields of the world than the Pat flans. And we think oh my gosh that is an amazing achievement. I’m never going to get there. But the truth of it is there was a time in their career in their life that they didn’t even know they were going to get there. So for me I find it really inspirational to hear the journey there come through and the lessons they’ve learned.


Because actually we’re going to learn from those lessons too. So today I thought I would do things a little bit different. And I wanted to share my story. This isn’t a story of look at how amazing my journey has been and what I’ve done. This is a story of how I got started and the mistakes I made because boy did I make some mistakes.


And my thought process around this is if hopefully you listen to some of these things and think I’m not going to do that or it makes you go back and revisit a couple of things then great. And actually although I love talking about social media marketing I do also love talking about building a business running a business and how we can all succeed because some of these messages they will span over any business in any industry. So I am really hoping that you will enjoy my brief podcast interview how I got to get started and what I did wrong. So I guess the first thing I should tell you and admit to is I never actually wanted to run my own business. Never not once I had worked in marketing. For oh about 10 years I think it was I done my degree in marketing and I joke that I was a great employee. I loved working for other people. I always worked really hard. I wanted people to think that I was really good at what I did. And I worked really hard to get that respect. I often work longer hours than I needed to. I was very ambitious. I climbed the career ladder fairly quickly and moved to a lot of different jobs. If it meant that I could then get promotion or get to the next step. So it had quite a varied career in marketing. I had worked for huge companies like Landrover. I worked in their head office and I manage their corporate marketing for them and that I worked for teeny tiny companies who had hardly any budget and I used to do everything so I give them myself a really kind of rounded view of marketing and then one of my last jobs I was in a marketing agency. Now I just want to say quickly before I started this marketing agency I was a director for a care company. I started off in that care company as the marketing person. However again I got promoted through and I ended up becoming a director of a service. Now if you’ve ever worked in a care company and this is a company that has children that are in care and we used to home those children and provide them support now as you can imagine this isn’t a 9 till five five day a week job. This is completely and utterly forlorn. This is children who have a lot of challenges and a lot of things going on their lives and they are being looked after 24/7. So for me I had a young daughter she was in fact I was in that job in the marketing role when I had my daughter. So she was sort of you know 1 or 2 years old by the time I became the director. And I had this young daughter and my entire life was spent on the phone traveling working. And I was missing out on huge chunks of her life. And it kind of came to a head where I’d been working really hard for this company and I was up in Nottingham city in the UK and I was doing some training. And one of the young people we looked after had a daughter and I had to go and spend some time with that young person because the person who is meant to be seeing her was ill the person above that person should have gone next they weren’t around anyway. There was no one to do it. It fell on me. I had to do it. I ended up going to see this lovely young girl with her lovely daughter and her daughter was about the same age as my daughter and I’m sat there at 7 o’clock in the evening having promised my ex husband that I would be home having promised him I’d be home so I could put my daughter to bed. I am sat then playing with some toys with someone else’s daughter and I thought what am I doing at that point. I decided I no longer wanted to travel around the country and be gone for such a long time. Not just physically gone but mentally gone because I was so preoccupied with what was going on with these other young people that I couldn’t spend that time with my daughter so I decided I wanted to get a job locally back where I lived and I wanted to get more back into marketing because I hadn’t done well. I had done a bit of marketing but I hadn’t done solely marketing for a couple of years. I applied for a job at a local agency got this job and that was great. I loved it. I loved the variety.


Working with lots of different businesses on lots of different things and the fact that I got to use so many different strategies and tools and campaigns gave me a really good understanding of marketing in its entirety. I’d been with this company for a few years I really enjoyed it and at this point in my life and I’m going to get quite personal now.


So I apologize because it really isn’t like me although I put myself out there a fair bit I do tend to keep sort of personal stuff private but this is part of the story so it’s important that I share it. My husband left me and I was living at home. I stayed in the house and I paid for the mortgage. I looked after my daughter. I paid for the car and I had this job which afforded me to do this which was brilliant and then kind of out of nowhere.


I had a couple of difficult weeks and I think when you go through something as horrible as a divorce or a partner leaving you suddenly start to really pay attention to I’m only going to do things that make me happy because actually that was a really tough part in my life and therefore I really want to make sure that I make the other areas of my life as easy as possible not just easy but as nice as possible so that a couple of difficult weeks at work. And I decided you know what I don’t think I can work here anymore I’m going to get another job and being slightly rash which isn’t like me. I handed my notice in that I’d given the the company eight weeks notice and in my head very arrogantly I have to say I had actually thought I’ll get another job easy I’m good at what I do I have lots of connections I know lots of people I’m sure another agency locally is going to snap me up. Wow. Seriously how arrogant was I anyway after three weeks of approaching other agencies and getting good feedback but forgetting I was on a fairly good salary and they would have had to pay that salary. I was basically just getting. We’d love to have you but we can’t afford it right now. And I was three weeks into my eight weeks notice and I was thinking what am I going to do. Like seriously this notice is going to come up and I’ve got to leave or I’m going to leave and I can’t afford not to have a job. So at the same time as this was happening a friend approached me and said Would I consider doing social media for their business am I put in a price that was really fair and actually very fair. Now based on what we charge now but I put in a price and they said yes and I thought okay this is interesting.


What if more people want me to do this or more people want me to help them with their marketing. So I had the most craziest thoughts.


I’m going to start my own business. Honestly it literally appeared one night and the next day I started tweeting things in action. But almost simultaneously my boss of the agency at the time kind of started to pick up on the fact that maybe I was thinking this and told me to leave and gave me one week left of my notice. So I effectively ended up leaving in a bit of a shock I have to say because it was literally I went in to do some work. And she was like you can go now. And it’s understandable I don’t blame in the slightest for that. And we’re friends again which is lovely but yet she was absolutely right to do that so she asked me to leave and I had effectively a month and a bet worth a salary. I had no husbands no rich parents no money coming from anywhere else no savings. And I had to earn over a thousand pounds a month in order to keep my mortgage being paid to keep the car running to keep my daughter in nursery to keep us fed and basically to live our life. And I didn’t have any money coming in from anywhere. I didn’t have anybody that I could lean on or go to. I literally just made the most craziest decision of my life and started my business. Now I was very lucky. I had a friend who obviously I had met through the design agency who obviously was a designer. So he came up with my logo. I made the most stupid mistake of choosing my name as my business name and I say this is stupid for two reasons. Firstly my company my agency is called T H W marketing. If you type that into Google Google thinks you’ve spelt that wrong and it defaults it to the marketing. So to try and find my agency Google is really hard. The second reason that this was a bit of a rookie mistake is because the t h w obviously stands for my name. Teresa Heath-Wareing but some of you might not realize that that is part of my ex husband’s name and I am since remarried and have a new surname. But of course I can’t use it for my business so I still have to be known by Teresa Heath-Wareing because if you Google me I appear there and my photos appear and my Web site and everything. So I have to stick with this name which makes for very awkward moments in my life when I broke into a hotel and my husband stood next to me and they go what names it under and I can’t remember whether I booked my business namei.e. my ex husband’s name or a book to undermine new married name. So yeah. Little bit awkward but like I said I started off and really quickly got my business going but because I did it in such a rush I didn’t think about things that I needed to think about so I never had a vision or a goal.


I didn’t think about the services I was offering based on what I loved or what I was really good at. I didn’t think about all of the other stuff that you have to do in running a business. All I thought about was well I’m good at what I do. But of course I didn’t think about it. There was admen and finance and things like hosting websites or managing your own social media. I literally just thought well I can do marketing for other people. I didn’t spend any time thinking about what am I going to charge. How is it going to work. What equipment away need. I literally just dived straight in and set up my business. I started one week later with a Web site. Honestly my friend was amazing. I don’t know what I had done with him. A very basic web site but I had a website site at a social media page and I had my business cards and that was about it. And you know it’s funny because I would never recommend that anybody sets up a business in that short space of time under that kind of pressure knowing that if I wasn’t earning that money literally within about six weeks time that I couldn’t afford my mortgage. However for me I am normally a very considered person. I am now in my business. I’ve been trying to launch a course for oh gosh I would say almost a year I’ve been about this and I am not going very quickly because I’m a very cautious person. There is a part of me that would like to bring back that incredibly rash person that decided to set up a business within a week to help me speed up a little bit. However I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that people do it within a week with the fact of having no buffer in terms of any money. But I think it was that that actually made me earn money and be as successful as I have become because I didn’t have a choice. If I didn’t earn money from day one and get myself out there and put myself in very uncomfortable positions in order of selling myself and selling my service I wouldn’t have had money to actually keep my daughter and I in my home. And that is a very real and scary prospect. So for me although like I said I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. I think that’s what drove me to build the business I’ve got today. Another mistake that I alluded to before was the fact that I hadn’t given a huge amount of time and consideration to what the goal of the business was what I wanted to offer what services I was going to offer what money I was going to charge for it.


I hadn’t really thought about that at all.

And what that meant in the early days was that I basically just said yes to everything. I literally was not fussy. If you said to me can you do this thing or that thing I would have just gone yep we can do that. I can do. I can do it. And it kind of meant that I was not as strategic and also probably some of the things I was doing I probably wasn’t the best person to do because that wasn’t my forte or my thing. But I suppose all I was thinking about at that point was I just need to survive here I need to earn some money. And if someone wants to pay me to write their blogs or them even though I might not be the best placed person to do it I’m going to find a way in which I can do it. If I was going to do it again or in some of the businesses or some of the changes to my business that has happened since I have spent much longer more than a week thinking about what is there I want to offer what is it that I love to do. Even if you have a business today I want you just to think about that just for a minute think about what is the one thing in your business that you love doing more than anything else. What are the parts of your business that you hate doing. What are the parts of the business that you are terrible at doing and why are you still doing them for me. Like I said the main issue was that I had to earn money. So instead of being brave and thinking okay I can earn money doing these particular things I basically just said yes to anything. And what that meant was it confused my message. It confused what I did for people and it confused me when I was trying to sell my services to people because I was like yeah I do that in a bit. There’s no but the other. It doesn’t make you sign very expert. It makes you sound like you’re trying to do everything for everyone and probably not doing them to the level you should be doing them but in the early days you’re not brave enough to do that. And I completely get it.


I’d lived. I did it. It took a while until I started to build the business that I started to get more clients and I started to realize that I’d got myself into situations where I was doing stuff that I didn’t want to do anymore. That actually I decided at that point I need to focus down a bit. I need to decide what is unready good out. What is it that I want to continue doing and that has shifted and changed over the last few months and years. Because it does. It’s an ever evolving thing. I think there’s always a core of what I do it’s always around social media marketing but there are things that come into you that I think I love this. I want to do more of it or things that I think you know what this is. That doesn’t make us the money we want or it’s more hassle than it’s worth. Or actually I just don’t like it. And then that goes as well the other thing you should know about when I started the business was when I told my friends and family they literally thought I had lost my mind.


All the comments I had were generally around things like oh wow you can give it a go and if it doesn’t work you can always get another job or literally coming out and saying Are you mad. How are you going to afford this. How are you going to afford that. How are you going to manage this. How is this going to happen. Putting every roadblock up that they could find. And like I said even the positive ones were more kind of thinking very cautiously about the fact that I was starting the business. I didn’t have anybody around me close to me. That was an entrepreneur. I didn’t have anybody in my world that had gone out and made a really successful business. Now obviously I had networks a lot. And I knew lots of business people. However I didn’t know them in the way that I could go to them and have a discussion with them. And also I hadn’t find my mentors and when people talk about mentors I often think when he find a mentor like you know how do you reach out and say be my mentor. When I talk about mentors I mean big amazing people that I watch and follow and consume their content. And I go I want that so they don’t even know that they’re my mentors Amy Porterfield, James Wedmore Mel Robbins who wrote the five second rule. They dont know that they are my mentors and I look up to them and I want to be like them and therefore I watch him pay attention to what they're doing. But the one thing for me in my business now that I feel is so important that I lacked when I first started is a knowing these people existed or paying attention to them and be having people that I can have these discussions with having people that actually when I say to them I’m going to do this. They’re going to be like amazing. Brilliant. How are you going to do it all. Let’s talk about the structure rather than immediately going now well you know give it a go and if it doesn’t work get another job. You know interestingly enough having now had my business for four years and having it grow to an amazing level and do the most amazing things. Some of those people won’t even talk to me about my business. They literally don’t even ask how it is because I don't think they ever thought that maybe I would make it the success it is. And some people have completely come around to it and gone Oh my word. This is amazing. You know you started off at this position and look where you are now but in the early days I could have really done with someone who had my back and was confident that I was going to make a really good go with this.


Then the last thing that I feel I could have done differently when I started was I didn't pay much attention to kind of future proofing myself because I guess at that point I was literally flying by the seat of my pants. Oh its literally day by day thinking okay how am I going to pay the mortgage this month. Who can I speak to how can I get some work who can be a new client. So I guess my mind was so full with dealing with those things that I didn't think about how can I future proof. Me and my business and bring in processes and when I did think about it I tended to make mistakes because I didn't go to the right people to ask the right questions. I spent money on platforms creating things that I didnt need. So for instance when it came to things like admen and accounts I didnt set rules up at the very beginning which meant when I started to grow it was an even harder job to then set those rules up or to put that process in place. So again although in the early days it might seem slightly crazy thing to be thinking about you know when I am huge. How will I want to do this thing and therefore lets do it like that now. Actually when you do grow and when I grew my business it became twice as hard to then go back with all the stuff you've already done and try and make it conform to a new process that knife fits.


I have a great book recommendation for you actually that will help with this point. Its called The E-Myth revisited. A link up to it in the show notes just go to And this book basically talks about how you systemized your business and how you think about your business as the bigger business that it’s going to be and you get some of these things in place today. So even though you’re doing everything in day one because you haven’t got a team. Actually when you start bringing on those people or stop growing in different ways you are much more set up for that process so do go read that book. One of my favorites. Really really good book. So that’s it. That’s the story of how I started my business and how I made probably quite a few mistakes that I didn’t need to make but hopefully you might be able to listen to these mistakes. And if you are starting a business then great. Please take them and think about those things. If you’re in a business then just maybe have a think about them and think is that what you’re still doing today. Because I constantly readdress where I am what I’m doing. Is this right. Is it wrong. And I feel like macho I am coming out of the doing of my business and I am more starting to look over all of my business which I never did before.


And I love being in business. I love managing my own time deciding what I want to do and I want as many people to experience that as possible and never if I can help you in any way shape or form than say the word.


Because the thought of ever having to go and get a job or as Amy Porterfield call it a JOB just fills me with absolute dread. I wake up every single day grateful for the fact that I get to manage my own business. I’m not saying it’s all sweetness and light. I’m not saying it’s always amazing but actually overall I honestly am so grateful. So anything I can do to help someone else in their business or succeed in a business that is like my goal in life. Well thank you so much for listening today. I know it’s been a little bit of a different one and it’s been quite nicely actually because I guess I don’t really talk about this a lot. I do try to talk sort of strategy in tips and tactics and things so it’s been quite nice talking about my story and some of the mistakes I made.


Now next week we’ve got a great episode. We’ve got an interview again from Chris Strub who is one of the nicest man in the industry. I say that about everybody but honestly I don't mean I’d have someone on here if they weren’t lovely or amazing. Now he is super lovely. He’s got a great story to tell and actually he was so nice to me. I was lost for words.


Now if you know me you know that is pretty amazing because I can always talk but it was a really good episode. I can’t wait for you to hear it next week so please make sure you come back next week and listen to that one. And also as always if you haven’t hit the subscribe button on iTunes. I would love you to do that even if he wanted to give me a five star review. I would be so very very grateful thank you so much and I can’t wait to catch up with you again next week.