As a small business owner, we don't always take the advice of others. What's one thing you had to learn the hard way as a small business owner?

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Thanks for jumping into the conversation, Karen. :) I've thought about connecting with a business coach as well, but--like you--haven't for whatever reason. I'm impressed by your model, being an AC as opposed to a VA does have some serious challenges.

So can I ask...do you have a coach now? Or are you planning to consult one in the near future?

What? You don't have $15,000/day to blow? ;)

The conference sounds like a great start. Let us know how it goes!

For me the one thing that I have learned the hard way is that even though I hate direct sales there is a portion of it in every conversation I have with someone who may be interested in my services.

I can tell anyone about how I could help them to cultivate their own little/not so little empire, I am passionate about supporting other businesses as a VA and because I love it I could talk about it all day. Unfortunately, I also hate asking for things and what I have learned the hard way is that I don't have a huge team of people doing this aspect of the job for me. At the end of the pitch I can't just walk away and hope for the best or wait for someone else to follow it up with the golden handshake I'm the one that needs to say "I'd like your business I think we could work well together, do you want to work with me?"

It's not in my nature to just outright ask for business but out of all the prospects I've had the ones who I have managed to begin building an actual working relationship with are the ones I directly asked to sign up with me.

I don't find asking too awkward now but it was definitely a learning curve I wasn't sure I enjoyed!

In relation to the coach aspect I must admit I experienced that too and I too felt a little regret at not having gone ahead and worked with one, I have however been speaking to a wonderful coach who would like a VA and she has suggested bartering for the suitable exchange of each others services so as far as that goes I'm hoping the key word here is no longer regret but serendipity!

not everyone is willing to help...that was my big draw back in starting my business...

Thanks for your feedback, Amy!

Thanks for responding, Rosalyn. I'm curious if you're referring to friends and family or colleagues and other professionals when you mention that people weren't willing to help. I'd love to know a little more about your specific experiences.

Rosalyn Reese said:

not everyone is willing to help...that was my big draw back in starting my business...

In 2004, I decided to buy a bar.  I had no prior experience outside of being a patron of other bars.  I talked some relatives into helping me with the money and within 90 days, I was a bar owner.  I did everything wrong.  No beer license, no liquor license.  After some stumbling around at the city and county offices, I finally got the ball rolling.  I was lucky enough to find a liquor license that was for sale.  I was up and going by September 2004.  One problem - I did not know how to mix drinks.  But I kept going.  I finally realized that I was not cut out to run a bar so I re-evaluated.  I developed a plan to lease out my building and license to others who wanted a chance to 'own a bar'.  I am in my third year of leasing and am starting to see profit.  My profit will increase by March of 2013.  I am still learning.  I am trying to install a small kitchen.  I have all the state, city,and county requirements.  I'll post my lessons learned as I go along.

This one's easy to answer! When I was first starting out with my first niche blog I tried to do all the layout and set up myself. Why on earth would I take the time to try to figure out how to create a pretty header in the right size and upload it when I'm terrible at that sort of thing? And, I could have gotten someone on Fiverr to do it for $5? What a waste of time I could have spent writing and marketing. Well, I learned my lesson. It's also best to outsource one-time tasks that would take you a long time to do yourself. There's lots more I learned, but that's definitely number 1.

- Sharyn

Not to give stuff away for free. I started out naively thinking customers would enjoy a free sample small fish then then would come back to buy the larger fish. In most cases folk take the free then run. Then I think are too embarrassed to return even if they wanted to. Would have been better to have initially charged, even if a reduced fee.

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