Cute green chameleon with curled tail on branch against pink color background

Mistakes I Made When Starting My Business, Part 1: Corporate Cockiness

Someone recently asked me about the three biggest mistakes I made when starting my business, and boy, did they come to mind in a flash!

I mean, these blunders followed me around like an eager puppy.

Get ready for a three-part blog series where I spill the beans on my top three mistakes, starting with Mistake #1—the one that made me go, “What was I thinking?” 

Mistake #1: Bringing Corporate Cockiness to the Entrepreneurial Playground 

You know what happens when you’re an executive strutting your stuff in corporate America? You become a bit cocky… and I’m guilty as charged. Naturally, I thought I could just translate my “corporate brilliance” into being an unbeatable entrepreneur. Cue the facepalm!


The “Lost in Translation” Comedy 

Here’s the scoop: some skills do carry over from corporate to entrepreneurship—like having a strong work ethic, leadership experience, and the ability to build relationships.

But guess what doesn’t translate?

The secret language you unknowingly speak in the corporate world.

You innocently blurt out what you think is a normal sentence, only to be met with bewildered expressions and a collective “What the F*** are you talking about?”

Yep, been there, done that.

Turns out, entrepreneurs have their own set of vocabulary that’s entirely different – and much more effective.


Learning the Entrepreneurial Lingo 

Breaking free from my corporate lingo took some serious effort.

It was like learning a whole new language and culture, but hey, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise! (And luckily, I had the basics of this skill down from moving a lot internationally as a kid – “Dropping into a new culture? I’ve got this.”)

Embracing this fresh new world came with its own perks.

I discovered that as a CEO of my own business, I had the power to shape policies, procedures, and even the entire culture.

Say goodbye to corporate idiocies—I was the boss now!


Cue the New Language 

The icing on the cake?

You need to change your language—like, pronto.

In fact, you need to learn a whole new language and commit it to muscle memory.

So, fellow ex-CFOs, ex-CMOs, and ex-C-anythings from corporate, here’s tip #1 for you: Listen carefully to how your ideal clients communicate, and then adapt like a chameleon on a mission.

By speaking their language, you’ll establish a deeper connection and conquer the business world with charm and finesse.


Wearing All the Hats 

Another major shift in moving out of corporate is realizing just how much there actually is to DO in a business.

When you become an entrepreneur, especially if you’re bootstrapping, you quickly discover that you’re not just replacing corporate nonsense with your “better way.”

Nope, you’re doing it all yourself!

From defining policies and procedures, to creating a vibrant culture, to taking out the trash: it’s all on you. Talk about a juggling act!

But you know what?

Embracing this newfound responsibility is what separates the entrepreneurs from the rest of the pack. 


CONCLUSION: Mistake #1 reminded me that corporate cockiness and swagger doesn’t automatically guarantee entrepreneurial success.

It’s all about shedding that old corporate language and immersing ourselves in the vibrant and quirky world of entrepreneurs – with a whole new level of responsibility that goes with the freedom.

So, let’s toast to embracing new cultures, learning the lingo, and wearing all the hats (and maybe a feathered one, just for fun!).

Stay tuned for the next installment, where I’ll reveal Mistake #2 and keep the adventure going.

Cheers to scaling your business!


Author, Virtual CFO, and Finance Coach
Your First CFO: The Accounting Cure for Small Business Owners” on AMAZON