3 *Big* Mistakes I Made As A First-Time Entrepreneur

July 22, 2021
3 min

Exactly 12 months after quitting my job as an innovation product manager, I reflected on three *big* mistakes I made.

Alice in wonderland looking into a multi-coloured broken mirror

1. I quit my job with the goal of starting my own company.

I naively set aside a year to build my own company. It set me up for failure in my own eyes. Building a business really is hard and you can't put a timer on it like that.

In hindsight, I actually quit my job to learn new skills, test some of my own ideas out and figure out my next step—maybe that's a company, maybe it's consulting or maybe it's a career switch.

I'm still struggling to forgive myself for not meeting my original ridiculous goal.

2. I spent the first six months building my projects in the dark.

I built my first few projects in the dark, too afraid to share my progress (and failure) in public. I didn't think anyone would be interested anyway because I hadn't "made it" yet.

I finally gained some courage six months in and started building in public and sharing my learnings openly. What happened next was shocking—not only were people interested in what I was doing and what I had to say, but they started asking for my advice!

Turns out, people are interested in how someone has taken their first few steps. Have done the thing also gives you credibility to advise on a topic much quicker than you'd think.

3. I fell victim to shiny object syndrome and didn't specialize.

The product ideas I've worked on so far span remote work, productivity, product management, e-commerce and idea validation. I've also learned a fair amount about landing pages, cold outreach, lead generation, social media marketing and copywriting.

But what I should have done is either pick a problem space and stick to it for six months or pick a specific skill and master it. I would’ve had a higher chance of building a successful product or starting a service business.

However, I regret this mistake the least because I got to experiment a tonne and learned a bunch of different skills. But going forward, I need to focus more.

GIF about focus

The most unforgiving part of the entrepreneurial journey is that lessons like these only become very obvious in hindsight. You just can’t see them in the moment because you’re lost in the heat of it all.

And it wasn’t until I reflected on my journey while writing Bye-bye Corporate World, Hello Entrepreneurial Rollercoaster that I realized where I’d gone wrong.

So my advice to you is this: write about your journey and challenges. Not only will it clarify your thinking and help you uncover lessons learned earlier. But you’ll also deliver insights to people who would really benefit from them.

I guarantee it.

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Lena Sesardic
Personal Brand Coach + Freelance Writer