Sometimes you screw up. And sometimes you screw up really bad. And sometimes you’re an entrepreneur who is figuring out this business thing as you go and you screw up really bad, but since you’re responsible for a business it feels like you screw up really really REALLY bad.
Sometimes you spill a smoothie all over your laptop and fry it before realizing you didn’t back everything up (did that). Sometimes you’re a month late paying your state taxes because you thought you were supposed to pay annually but you’re really supposed to pay quarterly (that one too). And sometimes you delete your ENTIRE website with one click (yup, also that one).
Here’s how to handle it.
1) Make sure the screw up is worth freaking out about
It’s a common misconception that the first step is to freak out. But that’s actually the second step. First you should figure out whether freaking out is necessary, because there’s often an easy solution that you can’t see when you’re busy freaking out. And then you waste a bunch of time freaking out when you could use that time to make cocktails instead.
2) Freak out
Did you think I was kidding? No way, this is important. If after step 1 you’ve decided the problem is indeed worth freaking out about, there’s really nothing else to do at this point. The “stay calm” advice only works for so long, so I say let yourself freak out, get angry, panic, cry about how you’re not cut out for this business thing, blah blah blah. Because if you let yourself feel bad you can start feeling better, and if you feel better that means you can get back to work.
3) Fix the problem
I’m not saying it’s easy, but you still have to do it. If you have no idea where to start, reach out to your friends and family, an online community (like forums or Facebook groups), a customer service agent, or even just a quick Google search. You never know who might have answers!
4) Take notes
If it’s a big enough screw up to freak out over, you probably won’t need to write it down to remember it. But any extra details you can keep track of may be helpful in the future, so if the problem arises again you can just refer back to your notes. I have a document for stuff like this saved on my computer, and it’s also backed up on a cloud because of that time I spilled smoothie on my laptop.
5) Don’t beat yourself up
The reason you get so upset about making mistakes is because you give a shit about your business. And that’s not a weakness, it’s a strength. Making mistakes means you’re learning, and although it sucks to learn the hard way, those are often the most valuable lessons. There are far better things to focus on than your past mistakes, so after working your way through the steps above forgive yourself and move on. There are bigger, better mistakes waiting to be made!
Still feeling bad? Want in on a little secret?
Nobody has their shit together.