Three of My Biggest Mistakes in Business

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Like most of you reading this post, I started my business from an idea. I had been laid off from a position that I loved being at for over ten years. The job loss couldn’t have come at a worse time. I was 7 1/2 months pregnant with our third child.

Unlike many of you, being a business owner wasn’t anything that I had ever dreamed before I lost my job. But, it was obviously in the cards. As fate would have it, I ended up working from home for a bit helping colleagues (who were already running their own side business) complete small projects.

After having my daughter, I knew that I wanted to stay at home with her. The question for me was how?

As an entrepreneur, there is so much to learn. It’s a different world when you go from being employed by others to being your own boss. We’re good with our technical know-how that we offer clients, but there’s usually a gap when it comes to actually growing a profitable business.

That was me at the start-up phase.

So the first thing that I did was look for help. My search led to a few different resources including services offered through the Small Business Administration (SBA) and SCORE. They were able to answer general questions, but when it came to specifics, they suggested that I enroll in a course to learn how to start a business.

Before connecting with the SBA, getting additional training wasn’t on my radar. In fact, I had no idea that programs to help people develop a business were available. As odd as it sounds now, entrepreneurship was more of an exception than the rule a few decades ago. Nowadays, entrepreneurship has become the norm.

Back to the drawing board.

So I found a program that was meeting this need in my community. I went to the open house and heard testimonials from graduates who were running successful companies after finishing up the program. That’s when I made my choice to sign up, complete the 11 weeks and the rest, as they say, is history.

I was fortunate in launching my business, but there were hiccups along the way. If I could go back and do it all again here’s three things that I would do differently:

1. Collaborate. Start with the idea of collaboration. Working in conjunction with others is one of the fastest paths to growth. My biggest aha came through the power of meetups and business networking. Of course, you need to be sure that there is synergy as you build your network because the energy that comes from being with like-minded people is second to none.
2. Delegate. Hire others to do the stuff that doesn’t make you money. I spent far too much time handling the little things that I couldn’t keep my eyes on the main ones – which is, solving problems for clients. Use time wisely because how you invest it adds up.
3. Educate. Keep learning. Stay up to date with what’s going on in your industry. Lookout for innovative ideas and strategies and don’t just gather information. Use it.

Everyone has a path that leads to success that includes wins and, sometimes, failures. But there is a saying that goes, you only fail if you didn’t learn the lesson. What’s a lesson you’ve learned along the way? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.


What Smart Entrepreneurs Are Doing to Create Big Wins

An abundance of advice is available for entrepreneurs in every stage of business. You can grow yours, too and you don’t have to do it alone.

Can you think of a time that you heard advice only to dismiss it because of a very strong opinion you that you held?

I have.

In fact, I’m pretty sure that I’ve ignored words of wisdom hundreds of times in life. More often than I can think of, really. You see, when I was growing up, the adults in my life drilled in me the belief that I am smart. “You’re a very intelligent girl”, they’d say. “I’m so proud of you, Benita. You’re going to go a long way” were the affirming words that helped to mold my beliefs and self-confidence. But these statements also led to some epic fails. Why? For a large part of my adult years, I wasn’t smart enough to see that sound advice comes from many places, including situations I didn’t like.

Being likable makes it easier for you to put your guards down long enough to hear what others are saying. But there’s a difference between hearing and listening no matter who is delivering the message. Ever heard the saying, ‘When the student is ready, the teacher appears?’ Well, that applies to every area of your life. To hear, you only need to vaguely notice sounds in passing. Listening, on the other hand, takes more focus. It’s where you stop, lean in, and pay closer attention.  The same skill can make you wiser with money. Listening to those who have been where you’re going and are the person you want to become. Sound advice comes from many sources, too, like friends, relatives, and mentors who become your trusted advisors. If you can’t find a person to fill these shoes, ask people you to give you a referral and if that doesn’t work out, try topic-specific blogs, books, and magazines.

It’s been years since I wore the cape of Miss Know-It-All. As I have gotten older, my perspective has changed. I no longer let personalities get in the way of what I need to know because the goals are to become the best version of myself possible and live an amazing life.

How about you? Have you heard and acted on any smart financial advice lately? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

Next Steps

When you hear a good strategy, a life lesson, or a simple tip, listen. Ask yourself, “How can I use this to move closer to improve my finances, live my best life and design my future?” Then, do as my good friend says, ‘Eat the meat, my friends, and throw out the bones.’


How President Barack Obama Mentored Me in My Business



I caption this picture “The day he introduced me.”

The story (my version) goes a little something like this…

It was a lovely summer day at the White House in Las Vegas, Nevada 🙂

The reporters piled into the room in the oval office during an impromptu press conference. They were dishing out questions about his newly appointed cabinet member, an inner city girl from the west side of Detroit. The statements were coming one after another. Some said, “She doesn’t have the background for this and she’s never had experience for that” but in the president’s usual articulate manner, he gave responses that stopped them in their tracks.

He said, “You don’t know Benita Tyler? Well, let me tell you a thing or two about her record.”

Then he went on to say, “She’s published hundreds of articles on small business finance, guided thousands of entrepreneurs through their startup and growth phase and racked up tens of thousands of hours mastering skills in her profession… She’s done these things to make small business owners financially aware.”

As I stood beside him, it was like having an outer body experience. I could hear his words and fought to hold back my tears. “Was he really introducing me to the world like this”, I thought. “Did the President of the United States really believe that I was fit for the job?”

By the time the press conference was over, the reporters were fully satisfied and never questioned the president’s choice for Director of Entrepreneurial Finances again.

Now, of course, the meeting with President Barack Obama never actually happened. This picture was taken at the wax museum in Las Vegas many years ago (hence the reason that I’m casually dressed). However, this vision has played out in my mind countless times. In fact, I have the picture on my vision board with very specific goals around it. Does my family consider it crazy? Yes. Do my friends think it highly unlikely? Probably. But the reality is this. If others don’t think your dreams are bananas then you should be thinking bigger. The point that I want to make is that you have to stretch your imagination and get to work. Remember nothing comes to a dreamer but a dream.

Today, the United States closes the chapter of having it’s first African American president but it doesn’t close the chapter on hope. Like President Obama, I too, have the audacity to believe in the American dream of equality, fairness and justice for all.

As for me, I may not have been appointed to the cabinet at the White House but I have shown up daily in my business to do the work.  Why? Because the words that I’ve penned here aren’t just a story. It’s my goal everyday to get up and make a positive difference.

What about you? Do you truly believe in your vision? Are you being the change that you want to see in the world?