My Mistakes of 2014

Yay I make lots of mistakes.

I believe that in business, and in nonprofits, you learn things more when you make mistakes, rather than when you get everything right all of the time. So I’m grateful that I made so many mistakes this year.

(You can also see my mistakes of 2010fundraising failures, and 2012 and 2013 too.)



Big mistake. It was such a big mistake I made a whole blog post about it

2. Waiting to set up my home office

It rocks now, but for awhile I had it in my bedroom and that was NOT HEALTHY OK.

Now let’s move along to product mistakes

3. Charity Blogging Gold

People don’t realize how incredibly important blogging is for your nonprofit. Maybe I should have titled it Fundraising with blogging instead?

4. Get Your Dream Job

Maybe no one thinks fundraising is their dream job. Or if they do, they already have their dream job? Who knows? News at 11.

5. Google Ads
Total waste of money. I got NOTHING from this. At all. If you’ve gotten a lot from Google ads, correct me, tell me what the point is, exactly?

6. Working on the OMB guidance webinars before the guidance was finalized. Being naive and thinking that the guidance was more protection and overhead allocation than it actually was. If you’re curious about government contracting here’s the latest on what costs you can get covered with a government contract, I wrote about it, good as of November 2014.

7. More Work = More Meaning? NO. Thinking that working more meant you’d get more meaning from your work. NOPE. Burying yourself in your work? Not such a good idea. I got really sick this year. Wish I had not worked so hard. Maybe you can relate?

My friend Sabrina actually gave me some really good perspective on this last night.

She said, “When one thing in your personal life is hard, you tend to throw yourself into working hard on another thing, because hey, at least you’re working and being productive, right?”

And that really made me feel like, wow, yes, this is what I did this year, and I should not have done this.

8. Realizing I was giving away my time too much to people who were not customers, and who were not only never going to become customers, but who actively wanted to take down things that I was saying or doing or putting out there. For example the guy who took issue with my cleavage that I showed in one picture, because it was against his strict religion. I should not have emailed him. I should just have deleted that email. Epiphany! I DON’T HAVE TO VOLUNTEER!

Next year, I will only do things when I am invited to do them, not volunteer for them. And if someone is not a paying customer, I don’t have to write them back.  I DON’T HAVE TO ANSWER EVERYONE’S EMAILS. WHOA. MAJOR Epiphany.

9. Realizing I was writing emails when I could have been working on a new kind of creative writing, like screenplays or poetry! Well, enough of doing things that suck! More things that bring you joy! Wow. I have been doing this wrong for years. My new policy? No email until after 2pm. This helps me have more control over my day.

10. Stopping the broth every day habit. Getting back on that now. Broth is beautiful! And it makes you feel better.

11. Not sticking with the goal of working 4 hours a day on the business, working as much as I felt like, instead, which was all the time. And then letting partnerships consume me all year. All work, all the time. I didn’t have partnership goals, I had list and income goals, but partnerships fed those list and income goals. And so I kept doing them, way way beyond all proportion with what I had done before. Treating yourself like a robot is BAD.

12. Working with the wrong people. Who are the wrong people? People who have never done a webinar before, as it turns out. People who don’t give you the slides beforehand, and blow past the deadlines that you set. People like that give you no control over the quality of your webinars. How embarrassing!

I thought that I wasn’t going to make this mistake again, but I did. Well, lesson learned! NEXT YEAR I am going to only work with people who have presented webinars before, and if they don’t get me their slides 2 weeks before the webinar I simply won’t promote it and we will call it off.


OH…. I thought I was done with this post. And then november threw a little curveball at me. I put this pot of bones to boil overnight… and didn’t cover it, because it said to boil uncovered in the instructions… AND WOKE UP TO THE FIRE ALARM AND THE HOUSE FILLED WITH SMOKE!!!!! So, hours later, after scrubbing everything and laundering everything… back to normal. But ARGH. DO NOT BOIL BONE BROTH UNCOVERED OVERNIGHT OKAY? OKAY? OKAY!


What mistakes did YOU make this year?

Posted in