The Payment & Payoff of Making Mistakes

Despite my 13 years of public school, 5 years of undergrad, and 3 years of law school – running my own company these past two years has taught me more than decades in a classroom ever could. From incorporation to payroll taxes to construction permitting – I’ve taught myself to navigate the legal, financial, and administrative bureaucracy of running a small business.

“Were there mistakes? You can bet your a$$.

Don’t get me wrong, it’ll save you a headache (and until you figure it out, money) to have a CPA file your taxes for you each quarter, but there’s something empowering about being able to handle it myself. It’s convenient to have a licensing professional to assist you with changes of use and zoning, but I at least wanted to know what these things were and what questions to be asking. It’s reassuring to be able to hire an experienced attorney to prepare documents, but I worked hard for a little piece of paper that says I’m capable, dammit!

Along the way we’ve paid fines to the IRS for late filings, fines to the Florida Department of Revenue for incorrect filings, amended our Articles of Incorporation for typos, taken out loans with too-high interest rates, paid contractors in full before the work was done, and entered into shaky contracts.

But, dammit, if we didn’t learn something from every ignorant, painful, and expensive mistake. 

We shake it off and take what we’ve learned each time to become better, more competent business owners, with more skills than we had when we started. I don’t mean for this to be a recommendation to forego professional assistance in your small business start-up – not even close – but there is a real value in learning the environment you are operating in and the systems you are navigating. At least learn enough to be able to ask the right questions and understand the terminology. With an understanding of each aspect of your business, even the difficult or boring ones, you are better equipped to succeed. 

“Your mistakes are your best teachers, and they, like school, are money well spent.” – Katy, CFO


1 comment
  • Well said!

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