On Mistakes, Friendships and Not Going it Alone

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Being your own boss is the most wonderful thing. Since launching Rock n Roll Bride in 2007 I’ve discovered a LOT about myself, the wedding industry and running a business. But if there’s one lesson I learnt faster than anything else, it was that I couldn’t do everything myself. For example, I could have spent hours wrestling with Photoshop to come up with a design for my site, or I could work a little harder on the things I am better at so I can pay my designer to do it for me.

However, to me, even more vital than learning to outsource, was finding those people I could trust to help or advise me on a more personal level. These are the people that you know will always have your back and your best interests at heart. Without them in your corner, running your own business will be a million times harder.

I kept Rock n Roll Bride a secret from ‘the real world’ until the end of 2008. Gareth and I got married that April and I was completely embarrassed to be still obsessed with weddings after our own big day was over. At this point, the blog was nothing more than a hobby anyway, I didn’t feel the need to make a big deal about it offline. Then, about a year in, I made my first big mistake. I was trying to install Google Analytics on the site (I am NOT technical AT ALL by the way!) and somehow managed to delete the whole thing!

ARGH!

So I went to Gareth and shamefully admitted that I had this secret blog… about weddings… that I’d somehow managed to delete. Despite his techy prowess, there was no way for him to magically bring the obliterated site back, but he offered to help me start over. We signed up with WordPress.org, bought rocknrollbride.com and I began again.

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At the time I was totally gutted. I actually cried! However, in retrospect, it was one of the best things that ever happened for my business.

It forced me to re-evaluate what I was doing with the site and what the actual point of it was. I had to figure out what problem I was solving for my readers and why the blog even mattered at all. For the whole time prior to this, I’d basically been writing about my own experiences with a few cool weddings sprinkled in between (mostly sourced from other wedding blogs). Yet once I had to start again, it gave me a renewed focus and purpose for the site. I began to think about how I could use it to really help other people and what I could do to be different.

Call it serendipity, call it fate, or just call it damn good luck; but without my early mistake, and Gareth’s help to resolve it, I know Rock n Roll Bride wouldn’t be the same blog that it is today.

When you work alone, it can be difficult to know which is the right path for you. Trial and error is imperative. Launch and learn. You can’t unearth those valuable lessons by just sitting on the sidelines. You have to jump in feet first and not be afraid to occasionally mess up. Having allies on your side is vital too though. They’ll keep you sane, your head out of the clouds and help you get out of any sticky spots.

Supporting Cast

23 comments

  1. Very true and wise words that really rang a bell with me. I often read the following to keep me motivated when I feel unsure about my choices:

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” 
    ― Theodore Roosevelt
    Thank you x

  2. Thank you, this is really great. I always like your unique perspective. Our aesthetics are very different from each other but our desire to appreciate and challenge the status quo is the same. I will keep coming back! – xo, Elisa @ Simply Elegant Events http://www.simplyelegantchicago.com

  3. Sonia

    Dear Kat,

    You are an everyday inspiration!

    Not only for all the wonderful wedding ideas that you are sharing, but also for these kind of articles that are valid for any kind of business owner.

    I’m still an employee for the moment but I secretly would like to have the guts to leave it all and launch my own business :-D
    Hopefully, that day will come thanks to your precious advices.

    Sonia

  4. Thank you Kat you always have such wise words and as a small business myself – it is hard to know if you are always doing the right thing. Making mistakes that we learn from is a great thing and inspires us to do more.

    Thanks again and keep up the good work.

  5. You’ve help to give me the kick up the arse I’ve needed – notice being handed in on 3rd July and I’m going solo! Kat – you’re such a bloody great inspio :-)

  6. Going online with your thoughts & comments & visuals IS rather brave (for me anyway) at this time when so many of us just say what we think, sometimes without regard for how each comment is read. But you DO have to jump in with both feet at some point, otherwise you face a wishy-washy world!

  7. I can’t even to begin to imagine the horror you must have felt upon realising the site was gone! All that hard work! But, like you say, it was just what you needed to re-evaluate! I hosted for four years and built my website with one of the those free web builder websites – great for someone just starting out, but it didn’t give me enough freedom to put the special features and tweaks I wanted on my site. I have had my wordpress site for 2 years now, and although I too had to start from scratch, and spent many a night almost crying with frustration because it was SO hard to get my head around. I couldn’t afford to pay someone to do it for me, and in truth, I didn’t want to, because I could see in my head how I wanted my site to look. It was the best business decision, and worth the aggro!

  8. Everyones worst nightmare, but what a great turn around. Look what you have avhieved since.. Fab site great articles and Ive been married for nearly 10 years next year..

  9. Weird …I’ve been thinking about pressing the delete button, and starting again from scratch. My website was born as a partnership that went sour and I don’t think I can ever repair that Karma. I love your honest words always , say it how it is…that’s my moto ! Just forgot my own Moto, DAH !!

  10. Love this post, Kat! And I can so relate to the *blog shame* :) When I finally mustered up the courage to start blogging (after secretly dreaming about it for years, but not doing it), I was so afraid to share my writing with the world that I hid my posts behind a “this website is under construction” screen!
    Each week I would debate with myself on whether I would share my writing with the world, but there was always a *good* reason not to do so – my writing was not good enough, others would think I was crazy for having a blog, … It took me months before I actually took the screen down and made my posts visible for the world to see. But so glad I did!

  11. Such wonderful advice :-) Beautifully written and “here, here”! – I could agree more! Sympathy, empathy and total understanding from a mad woman who’s been there too!! Fantastic on all you have learnt and achieved. An inspiration to us all xx

  12. I always seem to read these motivating posts just when I need them! Mostly when i’m pulling a 20 hour day to try and fit everything in and then you make me remember why I started and what I love about working for myself and in the wedding industry!!
    It is hard (very hard) especially as we are a husband and wife team working together 24/7 but the reaction we get from brides and grooms so makes up for the lack of sleep – we just need to keep on this path of motivation – so thank you!!!

  13. Hi Kat! My biz has swung from something weddingy to something not so much and yet I still come back here to you! The way you write just clicks for me. Always fab advice from the heart. Thank you!!!!

  14. So true. I’m about a year in to my business & wouldn’t be able to do anything without the help of friends. I’m really glad I stopped to read this when I friend posted it on Facebook. It’s reassuring to know other people make mistakes too. Sometimes I assume that everyone else is super organised & has a master plan. Your site is lovely & I hope it grows & you continue to enjoy it.

  15. Thanks Kat, very reassuring advice!
    Don’t be afraid to make mistakes,making mistakes and learning by them is the single best bit advice I could give to someone, I have learned very valuable lessons through mistakes or bad judgement . When things have gone wrong or not as planned don’t sit there crying about it and blaming everything and everyone else, use it, as Kat says ,as an opportunity to start again. I did this a few years ago, it took me a while to stop crying about stuff, but I can now say I couldn’t be happier with how my business has grown and the new direction we have found:)
    PS Kat thanks so much for using Yasmin’s dress designs to illustrate this xxxx

  16. This sounds so familiar! I had to close my very small business to move abroad, I was so upset and I cried… But I’m in the process of building up a brand new, even better website with a UK business partner and I’m so so excited!! I’ve learned so much from my mistakes in my old business and I’m confident this new one will be a massive success :) we need these things to happen sometimes to make something even better! Xxx

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