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Don't Repeat My Mistake Starting Your Business

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By: Devin Santamaria

Between 20 and 25 years old, I attempted to start 6 businesses - and I made the same mistakes in each attempt. Each time, I had a website, a logo, social media accounts, and a suite of systems and software to run the business that never materialized. My hope is by the end of this short rant, if you're thinking about starting a business, you'll avoid the missteps I took.

Sell first. Everything else later.

The bottom line is - until you have at least one customer, you don't have a business. You have a business idea. You have no idea if your offering is any good, or who your offering is a fit for until you find that first customer. There's a good chance that your first customer is going to be someone who either 1) is loosely connected to you or 2) is at the end of their rope and needs a solution, and is willing to take a chance. In either scenario, they will not care about a logo, a website, a branded Nike polo, or business cards. They need you to deliver.

Before going and spending a bunch of time, money, mental energy, ultimately, investing in the business, prove to yourself that your idea can actually be a business - with customers.

Pick up the phone, write a ton of emails, post on your personal social accounts, knock on doors if you have to. Every call, email, pitch, and post will hone how you frame your offer, and you'll learn from every interaction.

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WEBPRISM was sort of started on accident - but it's not an accident that it ended up being the business that got off the ground.

I ended up trying out a number of different ideas, and unsurprisingly, what I ended up doing in each was the very thing I do now - define a brand, design and create websites, figure out how to reach the people who might need my offering.

When WEBPRISM started to reveal itself, it was as side projects taken out of the client's need, not my own. I didn't need the money, I barely had the time, but someone needed help, and I really love doing what they needed help with. I love it enough to push through the million un-fun things that come with running any business.

Published: 3/29/2022

Last updated: 3/29/2022


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