My journey over the last few years could leave me feeling like a failure. I’ve closed a failing business that racked up debt for my family, had to leave a job because of a cancer diagnosis and been out of work completely for over a year.

Instead I finally feel like I have found what really makes me happy!

My many mistakes and failures have been the best learning experiences. I wouldn’t know half the things I have learned without making these mistakes along the way.

Don’t underestimate the power of Big Retail!

One of my biggest mistakes was to trying to start an online store selling Canning Equipment. I worked for months with a Business Advisor from SCORE, writing a business plan, making projections, building a website from scratch and finding drop shippers.

It all looked beautiful! But once I launched I found that I hadn’t considered that no one wants to pay shipping anymore. Now that Amazon sells just about everything, you can get anything on your doorstep in two days with free shipping.

I had traffic on my site but no one was buying. After trying all sorts of things like guest posting, advertising, building a huge Facebook group and weekly promotions, I finally shut down the site.

Unless you have a one of a kind product that can’t be found anywhere else, find a way to offer free shipping. I went on to try out Amazon FBA and that was definitely easier since all the inventory was shipped through Amazon.

Don’t know how to do something? Take a class or hire an expert!

I wasted quite a bit of money trying to do things the hard way. Just about anything you want to learn nowadays is taught online. Udemy, CreativeLive, and individual blogs all have classes on every subject.

Want to build profitable ads on Facebook? Find a class from someone who already did the work. I tried to learn it myself and only really learned how costly it can be!

Want to build a beautiful website? Find a designer to help you or give yourself plenty of time to learn the process. Websites look simple when they are done but that kind of clean, simple look takes a lot of practice.

Don’t try to be an expert in everything. Bootstrapping is great if you focus on the things that you can actually do well. Sometimes it is worth spending money on the things you don’t know how to do though, it will save you in the long run.

Imposter Syndrome is real and everyone gets it!

I thought for years about starting a blog but the little voice in my head kept telling me I didn’t know enough. Finally, one day I was helping a friend with her small business and realized I had a ton of knowledge about getting a business off the ground.

Sometimes it is hard to see how much we actually know until we start helping other people. The process of teaching can help open your eyes to the difference between what you know and what other people know.

Don’t let that little voice in your head win! Join the conversation and let your voice be heard. Everyone has more to learn but you will never find out what you are missing unless you have a little courage now.


My current blog, Kids, Cash and Chaos is the most fun I have had running a business. I am still working as a Virtual Assistant to other small businesses to bring in extra money, but I hope to focus only on my blog in the near future.

I never would have gotten to this point though without all of the failures behind me. In the process I learned how to build a WordPress website from scratch, how to use Social Media, the importance of connecting with other business and that I have something important to say.


“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” Paulo Coelho

Without taking that leap into the unknown you will never reach any of your dreams. So get out there and make mistakes, fail spectacularly and find what makes you truly happy!


Bio: Emma Bates is a Blogger and Virtual Assistant for creative entrepreneurs. She loves to write about starting a small business and is passionate about helping other mother’s find a way to work from home.

Emma lives in New Hampshire with her husband of thirteen years, their three children and her parents and a Beta fish named Pamato Dragon. You can find her www.kidscashandchaos.com



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