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Riffs on marketing, writing, creativity and life ––

Don't make these business f*ck-ups.

I’ve ran my own business for a little under three years now. And, have worked with dozens of other businesses in the process.

Naturally, I’ve had my fair share of business mistakes (and have seen plenty too).

While I imagine I will make more before my time on this Earth is up, I wanted to compile the worst I’ve committed and have witnessed that way I don’t find myself making them again.

I think brilliant people make mistakes. I think stupid people make the same mistakes over and over again.

And, the world could probably use less stupid people, don’t you think?

Let’s begin.

7 business mistakes you should avoid like the plague (or your bat shit crazy ex).

These seven business mistakes originally appeared as an intro in one of my Sticky Notes emails. They ended up being such a hit that I decided to turn them into an article. Some of them are commonsensical. Others, less so.

1. Don’t choose more than one.

You should never be on more than one social media platform (unless you have the time, money and resources to dominate in your industry on multiple platforms).

There's nothing appealing to the customer when a brand has 21 followers on Twitter, 16 followers on Instagram and a Facebook Page that looks like a ghost town.

Choose a platform and kick-ass on that one platform.

2. Don’t half-ass your blog.

If you're going to have a blog on your website, your last article shouldn't have been published a year ago.

Blogs are powerful marketing tools that aren't unlike intimate relationships. You have to put in thoughtful consistent work if you have any hope of making them successful.

I do anywhere from 40 - 60 hours of client work a week and have still found time to write and publish 19 articles this year. You can find the time, too.

3. Don’t not invest in marketing.

10% of your net profit should be reinvested into marketing.

Business individuals who don't believe in marketing enough to invest 10% of their net profit towards it, every single year, should have to stand facing a corner wearing a Dunce hat.

Despite the assumption, so many entrepreneurs and freelancers and managers share, magical elves will not deliver you new customers each month.

That's why there is such a thing as marketing.

4. Don’t own a shitty looking website.

You shouldn't, under any circumstance, have a shitty looking website.

For $250/ a year and a little bit of elbow grease, you can design a pretty website with Squarespace.

If your website sucks, fix it.

5. Don’t put off building an email list.

95% of your website visitors will never return again.

So, ask for their email. If you're not doing this, you're wrong. It's the same as you throwing money in a waste bin and pouring gasoline on it.

I've sold $20,000 worth of my copywriting guide to this email list. That's $20,000 I would be leaving on the table if I had not asked for your email.

Over the next decade, I imagine Sticky Notes will generate me $3 million between courses, product launches and business development.

The money is in the email list. If you’re are new to email list building, read the articles I have written here and here.

6. Don’t brush your Profit Per Employee under the rug.

If you have employees, always know your PPE (or Profit Per Employee).

Facebook's is $599k.

Apple's is $393k.

Goldman Sach's is $215k.

New age start-ups love to spew bullshit about culture and ping-pong tables and cold brew on tap. All that is great and I think it's wildly important to create an environment where employees can be happy and comfortable.

But, at the end of the day, this isn't a fucking tickle contest. It's a goddamn business. You're paying someone a great sum of money, you should be aware of the profit you're making per employee.

7. Don’t send emails from ‘@gmail.com’.

I wish this went without saying. It, unfortunately, doesn’t.

You should always have a professional email. I rarely respond to business inquiries sent from '@gmail.com' or '@yahoo.com'.

If someone can't afford to pay $60/year for a professional email address they can't afford to pay me $5,000+ to sling ink for them.

The professional email address is a much larger metaphor for being a professional in general.

Professionals call when they say they are going to call. Professionals follow-up and they follow-through. Professionals don’t lose their cool when their clients are acting like assholes. Professionals under promise and over deliver. Professionals listen more than they speak. Professionals pick up the check when they ask someone out to coffee or dinner or lunch. Professionals send thank you letters or notes or emails.

We live and work in a business world full of professionals, but very few who act like professionals.

Am I missing anything?

If you loved these, if they made you purr like a walrus, you can read a similar post I wrote a little while back on business etiquette.

But, on another note… what business mistakes have you made and learned from over the years? I know there are plenty and I’d love to hear them and add them to this list.

Sign up for Stick Notes and respond to my intro email with your biggest business fuck-up(s).

By Cole Schafer.


You gotta check this out –– Sticky Notes is my email list reserved strictly for entrepreneurs and creatives looking to sell like a Florida Snow Cone Vendor on the hottest day of the year.


Cole Schafer