What Not to Do as An Entrepreneur | Part 3: Be the Boss

You’ve made it to Part 3—congrats, you are a rock star entrepreneur!

Have I mentioned that it takes an adult about 21 times to hear something and retain it? Well, I know that I haven’t said it 21 times, so here is a recap of what we have covered: do not co-own; there can only be one CEO, do not get desperate and make impulsive decisions, do not hire the cheapest; do not hire based on price period, do not do all the work yourself, do not go too big too soon, do not build it until you’ve sold it, do not avoid investing in advanced education, and do not avoid paying yourself.

So far, we have covered hiring and the money. Now, it is time to really be the boss. These tips may be the toughest to actually implement. This is the real stuff that someone has to do, and that someone is you! Let’s dive in! 

Do not send your opinion in an email or text.

Why did I have to learn this lesson the hard way?! Near the opening of Be Inspired Salon, I began collaborating and cross-promoting with other related businesses (massage, nails, nutrition, skin, etc.). At one of our meetings, a representative from another partner organization was basically a hot mess. They were really rude to others during the meeting, and instead of focusing on the company they were there to represent, they mostly focused on their side business; it was embarrassing to witness. Just imagine my road rage on the way home from that meeting.

After the meeting, I emailed their boss with a laundry list of reasons why we could not work with them—because of that individual. Subsequently, that company let her go. About three weeks later, I was served. The individual sued me for defamation of character. Yeah, it was way too late to recall that email! Although the legal side of things worked out, I learned the importance of face-to-face communication.

Following that debacle, my attorney got real with me and said: “Kati, you got a mouth on you, and you need to stop it.” I suppose a D personality does come with its downsides. He explained that if I have an opinion to share, I need to grow up and have a real conversation. Communicating face-to-face or on the phone fosters greater sensitivity, and you really are less abrasive—this was a great lesson to learn. 

Do not get lazy on the details.

Another perk of being a D personality type is that I really enjoy the big picture/vision of the company, but am not so fond of dealing with the details. One day I was given the challenge of cutting our business expenses by 6%. Challenge accepted!  I dove into last year’s expense report to see what areas we can cut. There are two times to spend money—to get new customers or to keep the customers you have. 

While tediously examining the details, I kept finding charges that I didn’t recognize. After some investigating, I learned that TWO of our old merchant service companies were never successfully cancelled when we switched to a new service. The person who was responsible for canceling the old service never did, and I had been paying for two services every month for nearly two years. It was such small amounts that I didn’t notice it when I looked at our overall financial reports. Two years of being nickel and dimed really added up. I was out the money without any leverage for reimbursement. By the way, I learned this lesson about a week ago, so you are never too good to make mistakes. Take it from me, don’t ignore the small stuff!

Do not get prideful, your ego will screw you out of your potential.

Okay, okay, I can admit that sometimes it seems like I have an ego problem. Even though I’m confident, I can be borderline cocky, and need to continually check myself. I know that having an ego and/or being prideful can really turn people off.  As a result, I’ve lost out on amazing relationships.

So, how do you address this? My business coach handed me the book: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith. This book helps you identify unconscious behaviors that are getting in the way of your success. Typically, when you’ve reached a higher level of success, the one thing that is getting in your way from getting to the next level is your behavior. Personally, I learned that not all my opinions need to be shared; people won’t be like me—they can still be amazing regardless; I still have so much to learn—more maturity that needs to take place; words are powerful—how and what you say can make or break someone’s soul. What behaviors will you uncover? 

Do not listen to the people who haven’t done it.

You will encounter a lot of naysayers. When I say a lot, I mean a lot! But they haven’t done it, so they don’t know. How many of you with children have gotten parenting advice from people without any children? Then, you get the point here.

There are people with all the advice in the world, but they haven’t taken one entrepreneurial risk themselves! Instead of listening to your cousin who took one business class during undergrad, find the people who have done it and done it better than you. Then, surround yourself with those people. After all, you are who you hang out with. Find your dream team.


Now that you have read all of my What Not To Dos, write down your three biggest takeaways. These could be the biggest surprises, the most relevant suggestions for your life, or the most challenging for you. Bookmark this series, save your notes, and revisit them annually! You will always find a new application from past advice.

Do you have other ideas to share? Comment below!

What Not to Do as An Entrepreneur | Part 2: Money, Money, Money

Welcome back! You’ve made it to Part 2 of the What Not To Do As An Entrepreneur series. In Part 1, we covered decisions to avoid when determining whether to work with others. By the way, did you know that it takes an adult about 21 times to hear something and retain it? To help you out, here’s a rapid recap of Part 1: do not co-own; there can only be one CEO, do not get desperate and make impulsive decisions, do not hire the cheapest; do not hire based on price period, and do not do all the work yourself.

Today, we are talking about the topic on every entrepreneurs’ mind: money! We are going to get real about when to save and when to spend. Think: big money, no whammies!

Do not go too big, too soon.

 Notice that I’m not saying: don’t get too big, too soon. You can get big and blow your business up—please do! But, don’t go too big, too soon—this was my first lesson as a new entrepreneur.

When I started Be Inspired Salon in 2010, I was looking at spaces that were about 1600-1800 square feet which is the traditional size for a salon. Looking at these big and beautiful spaces, my imagination was running wild with #salongoals. But, the main problem with my big dreams was that I only had one other employee—what would I do with all that space?!

So, I took a step back to re-evaluate and found a different space that was 750 square feet—a lot smaller than the average! I am very grateful that I didn’t go too big, too soon because good things came in that small package. Fast forward to 2013—we were able to expand our salon, double our working space, and increase our profits by 838%! Start small, blow it up, and then go big! 

Do not build it, until you’ve sold it.

When I built my salon, I knew we could sell what we offered, because I had already sold my services to a huge clientele. On the other hand, my software company—Meet Your Stylist—started in the other direction.

My salon had been using the Meet Your Stylist software with amazing results, so I assumed that other salons would love it as much as me. But, I quickly learned that not every salon owner is like me—nor thinks, and takes action like I do. Essentially, I was shocked to find out that most salons do not budget for marketing and advertising; let alone know how to execute, manage, and track their return on investments. 

I definitely wish that I would have sold the Meet Your Stylist software before building it. Here’s another example you may be able to relate to. Let’s say you want to create a 12-week training program of some sort. Instead of building the program, in hopes of people jumping on board; first, sell the program! You can build the content after or as you go. It’s possible, and it will save you time and heartache.

Do not avoid investing in advanced education.

The law of thermal nuclear dynamics is unavoidable. You’re either growing or dying; you cannot stay the same—harsh, but true. Think about working out. If you don’t work out for a month, your lattes will catch up with you, and you will not maintain. To make sure you are always growing and getting better, invest in seminars, conferences, webinars, podcasts, books, classes, anything you can get your hands on! And, I believe you value what you pay for.

In 2012, I felt like I hit a wall in my business. I knew that I didn’t know everything. Although I was great at marketing, I didn’t know much about cash flow forecasting. At that point, I was ready to learn more and my teacher appeared—funny how that happens. At a BNI Meeting of local professionals, I heard an excellent speaker who was a business coach, and I knew that I needed to learn from him! 

So, I invested in a business coach. This was no easy decision considering the steep price tag, but I needed it. It was that same year we had an 838% increase in profits!!! Yes, that number is correct. I never knew that we could earn over $1 million in revenue in just 1,150 square feet. I sincerely recommend that everyone invest in a business coach! You know what your strengths are, and your coach can help fill in the gaps.

Do not avoid paying yourself.

As an entrepreneur, you have to build your wage into the budget! If you don’t, why are you doing it at all? Yes, we all have a passion, but we need something sustainable. The point of being an entrepreneur is to make money while you sleep.

For example, I am physically present at my salon about four hours per week. When I am not there, I am watching the numbers, schedules, and building up our team from the behind the scenes. ActionCOACH founder Brad Sugars said that an entrepreneur is someone who can walk away from their business for three months and it will survive and thrive without you. Obviously, it won’t start this way, but that needs to be your end goal.


We all have a money story; what other tips can you share with our community—comment below! You’ve almost made it to Part 3 where we get real about Being The Boss—you don’t want to miss these tips. See you soon!

What Not To Do As An Entrepreneur | Part 1: HIRING

I am super excited to kick off a three-part series about What Not To Do As An Entrepreneur! First, I promise that this series will not be negative, and you won’t close your computer crying with crushed dreams. But, I do want to get real and share some tips that I wish I was told when I started my entrepreneurial journey.

As entrepreneurs, we are often told what we should do. Go to this event, hire that consultant, start this investment. But, what about the habits, partnerships, and decisions that we should avoid? A great quote to reflect on states: “success is what you don’t do.” Well, what the heck does that mean? Think about a weight loss journey. What you shouldn’t do is go to Happy Hour three nights a week, nor should you eat processed foods. When you stop these negative actions, the positive actions can actually be effective! But without—it’s unlikely you’d achieve your goal. Hence, success is often what you say no to.

As an entrepreneur who manages five brands, I have made my fair share of mistakes (keep reading and you will see what I’m talking about). To be honest, you will still make mistakes after reading this series—every entrepreneur does—but I hope that I will help you avoid the big ones and learn from the little ones.

Do not co-own; there can only be one CEO.

There’s a reason companies have one CEO. Have you ever partnered with someone? How did that go? Typically, partnerships will not work because there is not clarity around their roles. Have you ever taken a DiSC personality assessment? Well, I will share that I’m a D—if you know me, this is no surprise. D’s are dominant, driven, and task-oriented. Primarily, I just want to get it done. For me, another owner will not work, period.  Someone (me!) has to be in charge. I believe that the 80/20 rule applies here: 80% of the time co-owning will not work.  

Do not get desperate and make impulsive decisions.

 I once heard a great quote that states: “If you want a lot, make it easy; if you want the best, make it hard.” I have impulsively hired and really regretted it, so take your time!

Another great piece of advice I was given was, “Be slow to hire and quick to fire.” If someone isn’t getting it done within their current role, you may try to reposition them. If that still doesn’t work, you have to let that person go. Deep down, you will know if that person is not working for your team. Channel your inner Olivia Pope and trust your gut.

Think about these impulsive decisions that you may be guilty of: have you ever joined something that you really can’t afford, then totally regretted it? Maybe you purchased an expensive app that you have only used twice, or bought a business membership that really wasn’t worth it? Now, you are stuck with a service that you can’t afford. You get the point. Do not get desperate. 

Do not hire the cheapest; do not hire based on price period.

This is a really challenging lesson for me and one that is hard to admit. So, I am going to be candid and share a tough experience. When I first hired a software developer for Meet Your Stylist, I thought that he could build the right software for the right price. However, I quickly learned that he didn’t actually like to work. Rant Warning: the project took a year longer than it was supposed to, he was terrible at communicating, he would disappear for days, countless technical glitches…trust me, I could keep going.

At that point, I had one customer and the software was continuously failing. Although my one customer was very gracious and understanding, I was completely embarrassed. I was freaking out and totally scrambling for a solution.

When I consulted with a reputable software company, they explained that the developer’s software was a nightmare—there was code on top of code on top of code. Basically, I would need to start over if I wanted the software to work. That hiring mistake cost me $30,000. I took that mistake up the you-know-what. Long story short, if you think a project will cost you $40,000, budget $80,000—you will either pay in dollars or tears.  

Do not do all the work yourself.  

If you try to do it all, the work will be mediocre. ActionCOACH founder Brad Sugars explained this best when he said: “Saving a wage is costing you a fortune.” Eventually, you need to find strengths in others and build your tribe. As an entrepreneur, what do you do that you aren’t that great at, or drains your energy? Hire those tasks out. Do you struggle with product photography? Hire an intern! Do you hate writing your blog? Hire a blogger! Don’t try to be great at everything. Be great at being an entrepreneur, and fill in the rest by building an awesome tribe!


Which of these tips comes as a surprise to you? Share your thoughts below! Then, check back for Part 2: Money, Money, Money where I dish on some important financial decisions to avoid!