What is my regret in business?
Welcome back to this Sunday episode where I answer your questions. Now, if you have any questions, don't forget to send them in. The form is linked in the show notes. You can send me anything and I'll answer it. Isn't that cool? You can send me questions about life. You can send me a question about business. You can send me your questions about my business. Anything you like. Any who. Today, I've got a really, really big question that's come in.
What is your biggest regret in business?
Say, what a big question. Well, a big question. When I read this, I was sitting and thinking about, as I do, what is my biggest regret in business because I'm nothing super stands out like nothing massively stands out, nothing like terrible, nothing big because everything that actually I'll tell you two things, but everything that hasn't quite gone right, I wouldn't say was a regret.
I just say that it was just something that didn't quite go right. And I've learned from it. I've tried it again and I'll do it again. But there's two big things in my life that I would write I think have been really big lessons for me. So the first thing was pretty business, but I think it's a really, really important thing to talk about. And the second thing was while I was running my wedding business, so the first thing I talk about is not telling the truth. Now I am a stickler for telling the truth, but I didn't use to be. This incident happened and it really, really got to me. And ever since then I've been an absolute stickler for telling the truth as shit and as laid bare as the truth might be.
Like I am a stickler for telling the truth. Now, if I just give you a little bit of background context, it was such a small thing, but it ended up being such a huge thing and when this happened, it was around about the time when I was homeless and ah, sofa surfing. At this time, actually I wasn't in the hostel anymore, but when you're in that situation like this is No, I don't know.
Yeah, I'm trying to make an excuse. Let's be honest. I am trying to make an excuse for the way that I lied. It wasn't even a big lie. I get it. But you learn how to lie a lot when you're in that kind of position. And because you don't want to lose your face, like you don't want to lose your mask, you want everyone to think like you're doing really well. You're doing really good because those kind of life situations put you in places where it combats your idea of what your perfect life would be, because you realize that you don't have anywhere to live, but you realize your stuff is safe, surfing, you're homeless and all those things. So it can really make you challenge yourself.
And so you end up like kind of lying or not taking truth or just kind of glazing over things to make things feel better. So there was this time when I was working and I had my business, my bar business, but what I was also doing was working in the bar where I was getting the alcohol from my bar business was not keeping me propped up hugely, so I was doing some cash in hand jobs, working behind the bar, and it was like, I can't even remember what it was, You know, I think it was like, who didn't put a ticket through?
I think it was like in the restaurant. Yes, it was. So we were a bar, but we also serve food. So I think there was this whole thing like where a customer had ordered something and they added an add on order, which is where they'd like, you know, when you grab a waitress, a waiter or a waitress or whatever, and you're like, Oh, can I just add this to my order?
Yeah, it's called an add to order. And someone had asked to do an add on order and I was the person they asked and I was like, Yeah, sure, I problem. And I didn't put three, I didn't, you know, I got busy. I don't know why I didn't put it through. And, you know, which is not sacrilegious in restaurants because if you don't write things down, if you don't put things through, that don't happen.
So you've got customers sitting there waiting for their food. So yeah, if you don't put through an ad on in the restaurant, then you're kind of screwed, you know? So someone asked me this ad on and I didn't put it through. And the manager of the business obviously got into a lot of trouble with these customers. She ended up like comping the whole meal. They were really, really argumentative. You know, some people who just don't treat people nicely, you know, they were very much like that. And so she came round afterwards. She was like, Who didn't put that on order three? So, you know, and I wasn't me very much. And this lady was scary. If you I'm not going to say her name, but if you know who, if you ever knew the votes in Cambridge circa 2010, do you know who I'm talking about?
She was scary. And so I was sad. And I don't I would I don't know. And it was me. And she found out it was me and she came up to me afterwards. She was like, Damn, I don't even fucking care that you didn't, but that you didn't put through. What I really care about was the fact that you didn't tell me what was going on, so I couldn't fix it. And I never really had anyone kind of sit down and like, tell me off in that way. And she was like, You have to just no matter the consequences, you have to tell the truth, because at least then we can do something about it. And it must be really weird that that was the first time in my life that someone had properly sat me down and said that.
But I felt so ashamed for myself and I felt like I'd really let the team down. And so that was one of my biggest, biggest, biggest regrets, not in my business, but in like kind of my professional life was literally that exact moment and I learned so much. But my biggest regret in my business stemmed from the time that my friend turned around to me.
This is when I was owning a wedding planning company and she went. And these events that it's called Anglo events pays and plans your wedding. I was like, What? And basically we'd been on this really, really long walk. She was a great friend, but we've been on this really long walk and I've been offloading to her about like all the things that were going on in business and how stressed I was and all this kind of things.
And this was, you know, my company had gone from selling cocktails on the street, which I did not set up a proper business plan for. Like if you know my story, that was not done intentionally, no proper structure in place that that then grew into a mobile cocktail bar where I just kind of slapped a price on it and went with it.
But I knew about like the markup of alcohol and things because I've been doing it about like a little while. And then that turned into events company and wedding planning company, and that was more of a service based company. So I wasn't paying like I wasn't pricing it properly. And that was one of the biggest regrets. And at that time that really, really stuck with me because she'd been able someone who wasn't in business had been able to sit there and figure out really quickly in her head that I wasn't making any money for this company. And in fact, it was costing me money to be able like I remember once, like I got a small personal loan out to be able to cover the costs of a wedding that I had planned. So it was one of my really, really, really early ones. It was because I hadn't charged the client properly. I hadn't done my pricing properly, I hadn't worked out how much I needed to charge properly, because it's not just your time, like it's your time and your travel and your like.
There are so many things that go in Costs that go into running a service business aren't like the creation of the product costs, but all the other costs that go in around that. And I had price days in and I hadn't planned for them. So I literally ended up taking personal loan out to be able to pay for some of the costs of this wedding. And that was my biggest regret because I turned around after like it was a fantastic service. Fantastic. And the client paid that bill. But I am definitely not one to go back to that. They paid the bill, the invoiced full, which I now know was not enough, but I am not one to go back to a client. I think this is I think it's really poor business.
If you go back to someone who you've already invoiced for and you're like, Oh, by the way, like I didn't charge you enough, so I have to charge more. And I know people who have done that, and I've heard of people who've done that. And to me it really shady because as soon as that client signs a contract, as soon as you send over the invoice, like that's it. Like I don't think you could go back and be like, oh, I didn't prices up properly. And so by the way, here's another like two grand on the bill. You know, you can't do that. So I didn't I really don't think you can do that. So I didn't do that. So I ended up just kind of absorbing the financial hit myself.
And I can't remember the ins and outs of it, so I wouldn't be able to tell you the details of where those costs came from. But absorbing the financial hit for myself, like they paid the bill, Bill, was it not? So my personal income at the top of that and then thereafter I priced properly and pricing properly does not mean just covering the costs for your thing that you're delivering, but it also means adding 20% for tax, adding 5% for profit, adding a markup and then a markup on the top of that. So basically costs at a 25% markup for profit tax. And then still you shouldn't charge that price. You still need to add a markup on. So when I was working round about, let's say, 50% markup, if you're working in where I was at the time, working in the beverage industry, your markup on wets, which is like drinks normally sits about between 60 to 70%.
Where is your markup on foods? But lower sits around about 40% for services. I like to at least have a markup of 60%, sometimes my markup to 80%. And this means that you have company that money that comes into the company that you can then use for staffing or outsourcing or unexpected costs or fixed costs or business development growth in the company. And these things like at that point in time, I wasn't marketing in for them. And so my business was what's the you know, when you have a car this was the word I saw an actual word. No, that's a strategy off. Right. And I just you know, when you have a car, it's not worth the cost that it's going to take to fix it.
Yeah. And you can have that situation in a business where the business you're running is actually totally unprofitable and therefore not a business and is technically is not a profitable business. And so really you should write that business off and start again. And I was at that point with my wedding business, I didn't do that. I absorbed the costs, I absorbed the debt and I carried on and I made sure I marked up and priced up properly and also price it properly so that I could pay off that debt over time.But these are the things that that in particular was one of the biggest regrets of my business life. But like I said at the beginning is weird because those regrets end up being one of your biggest lessons and the biggest things that you learn about and the biggest things that you can sit back and think like, Oh, okay, I'm not doing that again, i.e. I am not going to lie again.
I'm not going to price myself properly again, priced myself wrongly again. And so now what I do is I make sure that I price myself properly with a markup. And I also never, ever lie, even if it's going to be really consequential for me to put my hands up and step in and be like, Yeah, that was me.
I made a mistake there, but that was me. And I make sure that I always do that. And in fact, I take it one step further. Now I make sure that I'm never in a situation where I would need to do that. So what I do in my business now is I will overcommunicate. Like I will make sure that everything is written down in an email. I will make sure that I overcommunicate, I will make sure I advocate, I will make sure I overdeliver so that I'm not left in a situation where I can where I'm like, Oh, actually my mistake. That was me. I mean, little I have little circumstance of that. Like, for example, last week I didn't host one of my homework sessions that were in the agency, which is just kind of like our co-working session.
It was a massive, like miscommunication. I was at filming day and, you know, it just didn't happen. But I'll put my hands up and be like, That was a miscommunication that's on me. And to rectify it, I'm going to do this, you know, And I learned how to do that instead of just kind of brushing things under the carpet from that experience in the restaurant bar I was working in.
And now I'm in a position where I'm able to like, put money aside for tax. I'm able to put money aside for profit, put money aside for business development, because I learned really quickly how to price myself properly so that it's not being a hands up plans and pays for your event. But it is a hunter plans and runs an incredible event for you profitably for herself, you know so there's lots of lessons in that. And I wouldn't say there's like big regrets because everything and you hear this from everybody but genuinely everything has had a positive effect in the long run of my business. Yeah, I guess a little tiny regret that hasn't had a positive effect is that not prioritizing a little bit of self-care like running the business to the detriment of my own mental financial. I've done that a lot and I regret that a lot.
You know, sometimes when I look back and I sit and I realize like, Oh, I'm not in a great financial position or I'm not in a great mental position, I'm not in a great body position because I've been running the company to the detriment of myself. That happens. But I regret that. But again, I learn from it and I try and make movements moving forwards and I try and recognize things before they get a little bit too sore.
So great question, but I would have managed to answer it. But I can't I can't pinpoint anything that's not been a lesson on target.
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Until next week. Have a good one.