Mistakes. We all make them all the time, whether in our personal lives or in our businesses. And of course, we want to learn from them and move forward wiser.
But I think there are two types of "mistakes". The first is where we miscalculate, miss an opportunity or lack certain knowledge so we make
a wrong decision. Hopefully we learn from the mistake and it becomes a stepping stone to better future actions.
The second type of "mistake" is trickier to learn from and not repeat. These "mistakes" tend to be our weaknesses or our limitations causing our actions to be less than ideal.
When I look back over
the last 8 years of our blogging business, I see both... with an emphasis on the latter.
In this edition of the "Become a Better Blogger" series, I'll share with you some of these mistakes.
If you've missed any of the previous editions, catch up now...
Janice and I created 5 Minutes for Mom in March 2006 in a very different online world. Over the years, our goals and strategies have evolved as we've grown and learned.
While I find it a little hard to look back and identify which "mistakes" we made and how we could have done things differently, I'm going to force myself to do it so that I can share the lessons with you.
Type 1 Mistakes
One of the biggest "mistakes" we made was when we created a new site called SayItFaceToFace.com back in 2009. I still think it was a good idea in some ways, but it didn't work for a few reasons.
- Video blogging or vlogging was still rather new and some of the third-party technology from YouTube wasn't fully functional yet - for example directly recording video
through YouTube while still on our website was buggy and poor quality.
- The majority of our mom blogging audience was not vlogging.
- The effort required to record video conversations (not in real-time) with video conversation starters and separate replies from others proved to be too much of a barrier. Even today on YouTube, not many people leave video replies.
- We didn't have enough time to focus and develop a separate website with a separate brand from 5MinutesForMom.
We eventually closed the site and we no longer even own the url.
One of the big lessons we learned was to stay focused on our core business and our brand.
Another "mistake" that hindsight tortures me over is our procrastination with joining Pinterest. I don't remember when exactly we opened our Pinterest account... it wasn't terribly late, but we certainly missed the benefits of being an early adopter.
I'd heard the chatter and I knew Pinterest was becoming more and more important, but I didn't want the extra work. I was scared of what it would involve and instead of finding out what the site really was, I let my fear keep me away. As soon as I took a look, I fell madly in love and Pinterest has been my favorite social channel ever since.
The lesson there was to take enough time to
investigate important new trends and not let fear keep me behind.
Type 2 Mistakes
I could make a rather long list of the second type of mistakes... because these are the ones that we still struggle with overcoming. Here are three...
Not Replying To Comments
In the old days, commenting on blogs was the main way you met and communicated with other bloggers. I loved commenting on blogs and replying to those on our site, but it took so much time and more often than not, we didn't take the time to reply to enough comments.
This is one of those
limitation issues - it's hard to have enough time to do everything, but I know we should have spent more time replying to comments.
We still struggle with this issue although these days most communication happens through Twitter, Facebook etc.
Communicating and Managing My Team
I'm not a great manager... it's one of my weaknesses. I'm afraid of confrontation and I have a hard time telling people if something isn't done the way I want. I'm also guilty of assuming people know what I'm thinking even when I may not have clearly articulated it.
I also should follow a better schedule of team meetings and communication.
So over the years, I've made countless mistakes with my team and I still do. I'm continually try to improve in this area.
There are many times when we've let the need to have something "perfect" hold us back from getting something "done".
I'm not a full-on perfectionist, but my mother is. So I'm very aware of the problems with perfectionism and how it stops you from moving forward.
I battle the tendency towards perfectionism while still trying to ensure the work we deliver is of high quality.
Type 1 mistakes can be hard to admit and Type 2 mistakes can feel almost impossible to change. But we're all in this together...
So I'd LOVE to hear if you can relate. Shoot me back a quick reply and let me know if you've experienced these two
different types of mistakes.
Next week I will share how our blog content has changed over the years and where it's headed.
If you have any questions or topics you want me to write about, just reply to this email and let me know.
Susan (and Janice)
5 Minutes For Mom
ps. If you have any friends who might benefit from this "Become a Better Blogger" ezine, you can send them here.