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Go from Freelancer to CEO in three easy steps

Tom Peters said it best when he said I want to be the CEO of Me Inc. Who else could possibly do me better than I can?

Working with a client on her launch recently I had the misfortune of installing software to the wrong folder of her live website. Not a big deal. I deleted the installation and reinstalled to the correct folder. No harm done… right?

Except…

It was a big deal. By installing it to the wrong place I’d wiped out her live website while she was running Facebook ads to the tune of hundreds of dollars a day. As I’m sure you can imagine, she was understandably not impressed.

Here’s the kicker. I’m on her tech team. I’m the one she calls in to fix this kind of stuff, so I was the last person she expected to cause this kind of problem.

Her response to the whole thing however taught me something important. Bearing in mind that until she spoke to me, she wasn’t aware what had caused the issue.

She called me and explained the problem. I realised my error and apologised. She asked how long it would take to fix, if there was anything she could do to remedy the issue faster and asked that I schedule installations with her in the future and avoid installing software during times when her site would be experiencing heavy traffic.

No harm, no foul.

Just in case you missed that… She identified the problem, asked that I fix it, asked how she could help, gave feedback and moved on.

Her response to the whole thing reminded me of the approach of the One Minute Manager. As you can imagine, I won’t be making that mistake again, and I will be following her advice (which in hindsight was just plain common sense).

When you run a lifestyle business, things pretty much depend on you and your team. The life of a CEO CAN be summarised in three easy steps.

1. Embrace failure

Fail small, fail fast, learn faster. Understand that if it can wrong, at some point it probably will. Be prepared to deal with the unexpected. It’s just part of running a business.

2. Learn from it

Pilot everything. Expect the first draft to be bad. It’s research into what could go wrong, and a chance for you to learn how to do it right or better the next time around. Understand that perfection is unrealistic.

3. Move on

The faster you learn, the faster you become better. Experience is a wonderful teacher. Take the ‘failure’ as a lesson and put solutions in place to avoid it happening again or to minimise the disruption to your business if it were to happen again.

What thing have you failed at recently, and what did you learn from the experience? Please share in the comments below.