Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Launched My Business

Animated character running down a path down the side of a mountain - Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Launched My Business

Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Launched My Business


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Wish I knew sooner!

These are the five things I wish someone told me when I first launched my business.  What are your top 5?


00:00 Introduction

00:20 No one knows what they’re doing

03:55 Take advice with a grain of salt

07:12 Watch your cashflow

09:44 It’s okay to say no

10:21 Sometimes you HAVE TO say no


The transcript is below if you would prefer to read this yourself instead of watching the video!


Hi and welcome back, or welcome to Sidekick COO. I’m Sandra B, your Sidekick COO and today I will tell you a little about “Five things I wish someone told me when I first launched my business”. 

And you know what? Somebody may have told me these things and I just didn’t listen. 

I don’t know. But here are the five things anyway. 


#1 – No one knows what they are doing

Literally! Nobody really truly knows what they’re doing. Everybody has really great guesses. They have models that they’ve based things off of. They have common business practices that they’ve based things on. They have stats and they have advisors, and they have all sorts of information they base their business, their actions, and their decision on. 

But really, there’s no guarantee.

Nobody knows for sure that anything that they’re gonna do is going to work out. And the reason that this is important as a thing to know for when you’re running your business is that, if you don’t realize this, then you might take advice from somebody thinking, 

oh, that person is the key. That person has done it a million times so they must know and I better listen to them”.

You might take that advice and run with it and think that it’s gonna solve all your problems when in fact it doesn’t. Also, you might then end up blaming that person when in fact it probably wasn’t their advice that was the problem. It was just that for some reason it didn’t work out. Because honestly, there are so many factors that are going to affect your business.

You can’t possibly account for all of them perfectly. You’re going to have ups and downs. You’re going to have times in your business where everything’s running brilliantly and then all of a sudden something’s going to change and you are gonna have to pivot, or make some hard decisions, or shut down, or start something else, or put out a new offer! 

It’s also really important to know that nobody knows what they’re doing because people are constantly trying to sell you this formula or this roadmap or this equation, or whatever it is, this tool that is going to make your business successful. And again, all of those things are just good practices, other ways of doing things, other tools that you can use, none of it is a guarantee. 

You can, as I said, take the data that exists and put it into your business and you will increase the likelihood of your success but, there is no guarantee of that success ever. So just remember that when you see those people that are trying to sell you a course or tool or anything

(even when I’m trying to do it)

I need you to really think about it and make sure that this tool or course or program is actually something that you specifically need. Make sure you understand what it is that tool is going to address for you and then ask yourself whether you need that addressed. It’s really easy to just buy the belief that there is an answer, and many of us fall for it all the time, but I just wanna make sure that you know that really it’s impossible for somebody to know for sure, and with certainty, that if you do X, Y, and Z, you will get success. There are way too many factors involved to guarantee that.

All right, so gonna step off my high horse now and move on to the next thing. 


# 2 – Take all advice with a grain of salt

This obviously relates to the first one, making sure that no matter what advice you are looking at or you’re receiving or you’re soliciting, you take it with a grain of salt. Look at it through the lens of your own business, your own personality, and what’s happening in the world at large right now, and then decide if it is a piece of advice that is worth implementing in your business.

Quick story

A few years ago, I met a guy who has built and sold many, many high seven-figure multimillion-dollar businesses. This person knows what he’s doing. He knows how to build and run and exit a business profitably. I happened to be at an event with him and I happened to be in a little circle where he was handing out advice. Everybody got to pick his brain. And when it came time for my turn, I explained to him what I’m looking to do in my business and he looked at me and he didn’t ask any questions or anything, he just looked at me and said,

“Why would you do that? That’s dumb! You shouldn’t do that. This is the business model you should be going for. This is what you should do”. 

I spent an entire year…because I thought, Hey, well he knows, he must have seen that this business model doesn’t work, so I guess I should go this other way and maybe I am just scared of it and that’s why I don’t wanna do it”. 

So I spent a year chasing that business model that he suggested and it almost killed my business because it just wasn’t for me. It’s not what I wanted to do, it’s not what I was trying to accomplish and it was miserable. I hated every minute of that year, but I don’t blame him because, had I taken my own advice, I would’ve sat with the information and I would’ve really let it percolate. I would’ve asked myself questions and I would’ve reminded myself that he didn’t actually have a full scope of (or a full understanding of) me or my business or my goals or anything. He didn’t ask for any of that information. So he was just saying what he thought was the easiest path to success, and that’s not always going to be the right answer. 

So, you know, I can’t knock him at all for doing his job but at the same time, it was not great advice and it was kind of silly for that to be doled out without any further information. But we do it all the time. Everybody is always keen to help and to give you advice and to tell you what to do. So I wanna tell you, take every piece of advice, even the advice that I am giving, the advice that I am giving you right now, take it all with a grain of salt, really evaluate it on your own level, and see if it makes sense for you. So this is the one piece of advice that I would say you don’t have to take with a grain of salt. You could probably just do this one. But anyways, it’s over to you.


# 3 – Watch your cashflow

The third thing that I wish somebody had told me of or reminded me to do when I first started my business was to watch my cash flow. When I first started my business, cash flow was something that I always kept an eye on. I looked at my cash flow weekly.

I always knew because I had projected a year and a half in advance, what I expected to bring in, what I expected to go out, and what I expected to have at the end of every single week for a year and a half in advance. With budgets and everything like that, I was really strict with myself. I always knew what my cash flow was.

I would always just sit down with it every week. And every once in a while, I’d sit down with it for a bit longer and kind of do some projections if I had new offers or things like that that I was planning on. As my business grew, one of the things that I heard many gurus say is to offload all of your financial stuff to somebody else. Get an accountant, get a bookkeeper, and let them take care of all of that, and they can just report that information to you.

I was not keen to take that advice, but eventually, I got really busy in my business and I decided that that was one thing that I could just put off because I did have a bookkeeper and an accountant. Surely if something came up, they would let me know. 

Fast forward quite a few months later, I look at my cash flow and realize that I am very close to not having any money to run my business anymore. And of course, panic sets in and I have to immediately pivot. But once I did do that pivot, everything was fine. I ended up surviving obviously. It was all good and I have not taken my eyes off my cash flow since!

However, I am not the only person that has taken my eyes off my cash flow. And I have known numerous business owners who do not look at their cash flow ever, and then they have ended up in very similar situations. So, I always highly, highly, highly recommend that you keep an eye on your cash flow. If you have the money to invest in an accountant and bookkeeper who will look at your cash flow on a weekly basis for you, fantastic. But usually, they’re gonna be doing your books on a quarterly or monthly basis only.

So you’re gonna have to figure that piece out. I highly recommend that you make sure that you know what your cash flow is at all times. 


# 4 – It’s OK to say NO

Now, the fourth thing that I wish somebody had told me when I first started my business (it’s actually something that people HAVE told me numerous times since I started building my business and I just wish I had listened sooner). And that is that it is okay to say no.

I happen to be a bit of a people-pleaser. I have a hard time saying no when it’s something that I feel like for some reason I should be doing or I can do and therefore I should be doing. Or if it seems easy or if somebody’s really in a bind, I really do have a problem saying no, but I am getting better and it is okay to say no.

In fact, that leads to the fifth thing that I wish somebody had told me. 


# 5 – That you actually have to say no!

You can’t be saying yes all the time to everything that comes across your plate. That means you can’t be saying yes to every person that asks to pick your brain. You can’t be saying yes to every person who wants to hire you to do X, Y, or Z, and you can’t be saying yes to every single opportunity that comes along. You really have to say no. 

You have to say no way more often than you say yes. And how you decide when to say yes or no is really by taking the time to evaluate the question that is being proposed to you. And then thinking about

  • is it aligned with my business? 
  • Is it aligned with my mission and my values? 
  • Is this something I actually wanna do? 
  • Do I actually have time to do it? 
  • But most importantly, if I said yes, what will I be saying no to? 

We all have a finite amount of time and resources to dedicated to us. So if we’re saying yes to this, it means that time and those resources, that energy, that effort, our focus, that’s all taken up for this thing, which means we don’t have it for any of these other things. So you need to know what those other things are that you’re giving up. 

So those are the five things I wish someone told me when I first launched my business.

I wish I had listened to people as they probably told me those things while I built my business and I wish I had really, really lived these things a lot earlier in my business and a lot more consistently. 

So remember:

    1. Remembering that nobody really knows what they’re doing. There is no guaranteed path to success. You just have to use as much information as you have to make the best decision possible for you.
    2. Take all advice with a grain of salt. 
    3. Watch your cash flow. Never take your eyes off your cash flow. You should always know what’s coming in, what’s going out and what you’re gonna have left over. 
    4. It’s okay to say no 
    5. You actually have to say no if you wanna build your business successfully. 

So that’s it for me. If you enjoyed this video and heard something that you needed to hear today, please, why don’t you share it with another entrepreneur that you think might need to hear it? 

And don’t forget to like and subscribe!

Together we thrive. 

Have a great one.

Meet your host

Sandra Booker, Founder of Changemaker Inc. (home to Sidekick COO and The VA Studio) and creator of Scale Society and The Advisory Board, is a mentor, Fractional COO  and growth strategist. She specializes in helping overworked, overwhelmed, multi-hatted entrepreneurs become the CEOs of sustainably scalable, and powerfully profitable businesses. 

After helping local businesses thrive, and receiving accolades in her community (like the 40 Under 40 award) Sandra turned her attention to the world of online service providers, and her clients include familiar names like Chanti Zak, Tarzan Kay, and Laura Belgray.

In her (efficiently used) spare time, she teaches others how to build and grow their own 6-figure virtual assistant practices and is on a mission to create a million jobs by helping her clients and students scale their businesses.

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