Secrets to Success Rule #9

Its not always easy to start a business, build a blog readership, or quit your desk job to pursue your hand sewn line of womens clothing full-time. In fact, its almost always quite challenging at times. So, I started a series that tells it like it is”¦the good, the bad, and the completely “˜Girl, I cant believe you went there.” Secrets to success that have been learned along the way. Today, Tiffany will pick up where we left off last time”¦

This contributor post was written by Tiffany Han.

It was March 2011. I was running my coaching business, helping organize workshops at Teahouse, and working 10 hours per week as a freelancer helping manage programs and run social media for a women’s entrepreneur organization.

Everything was going well. Until I got the Mac rainbow-spinning-wheel-of-death. For those of you non-Mac folks (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), the rainbow-spinning-wheel-of-death is the Mac equivalent of your computer freezing up. Except that for me, nearly two years ago, restarting didn’t work. Restarting led me to a fatal error message.

Oh. Crap. Y’all.

At this point (and still to this day), my entire professional life was on my laptop. And I had a fatal error.

Luckily, I have a good friend who runs his own IT consulting firm. I called him in a panic and explained what was happening. He suggested that I run a diagnostic and when I told him the results, he said, “Don’t touch another thing. When was the last time you backed up?” and then asked, “How soon can you bring your laptop to me?”

Oh. Crap. Y’all.

This is the moment that leads us into the next Secret of Success:

Even though you are running your own business, it takes a team to make you successful. You absolutely CANNOT do it alone. (Also, don’t be crazy. Doing it alone is no fun at all.)

When you work a traditional job and dreaming of getting out, it’s easy to forget about all the details: the free coffee, IT department available to help you at any moment, and the limitless supply of office supplies. Once you start working for yourself, you realize that all of these assumed perks of a day job cost money. And when money is tight, it’s easy to learn to live without paper clips. It’s less easy to learn to live without a functional computer.

Also, when your computer dies COMPLETELY and needs to be rebuilt (NOT fun), it helps to have a good friend to turn to who can help you out.

For you, it may not be an IT specialist, it might be a PR whiz, or a marketing genius. Or it might just be someone who does something similar who you can text when you’re having a freak-out (Brittni recently wrote about her peeps too).

Whatever the case may be, I implore you to stop whatever you’re doing and make a list of your team – who do you want on your side when things get rough?

As an entrepreneur, you get to create your dream team, you lucky duck.

PS. If you’re still at a day job but want to someday work for yourself, now would be a good time to stock up on post-its and sharpies. Just sayin’.

PPS. Back up. Don’t put it off. This is important.

image above: Oh Hell No by Bryan Abdul Collins

Tiffany Han, CPCC is a life & business coach for highly-creative people who arent living the highly-creative lives they want. Just yet. With provocative questions & hard-edged encouragement, Tiffany helps skittish someday-ers become fiercely focused creators “” and proves that dreams do come true. But only when you demand it.

13 comments | Click here to reply

Secrets to Success Rule #9 | Paper & Stitch

(@FrancineClouden) (@FrancineClouden)

Secrets to Success Rule #9 via @sharethis

(@SentWell) (@SentWell)

Oh I know this all too well! I run 2 shops and an accounting practice all on one computer! Backing-up has become a necessary task!

Story Tellers Vintage

I used to work at an asset management firm and before I left, I stocked up on, like, 8 bottles of clorox wipes. And lots of other stuff. I’m a thief.

Great article. I need to go write my team up. You’re on it. 🙂

Lexy | The Proper Pinwheel

Great post. Wonderful advice. And can I just say that I LOVE your letting ‘Oh Hell No’; beautiful.


Secrets of Success! Create your Dream Team:

(@IndieMade) (@IndieMade)

Anna, YES! I actually think that backing up is something we should all be talking about waaaay more. I KNOW that I don’t do it often enough – also, ask me when the last time I backed up my own blog? Never.

{Going to look into that right now.}


Yes, yes, absolute yes!

My answer to backing up is doing so online, now. I write my drafts in Google Drive and upload my photos as much as possible. I’ve gotten edgy after a couple backups have been ruined. In one unlucky case the external drive I backed up onto died the next day, before I could make a back up’s back up. (My head’s spinning now.)

Long story short, folks, trust your beloved friends and family to come to your aid, but never trust your technology! ;~)

Anna Simmonds

That is lucky Tanya…curious to know who else would be in your dream team (aside from IT)?


Its always nice to have someone else on your team. I am lucky and my husband is an IT guy. Any computer problem I face it fixed pretty quickly and I ready to go again.


RT @papernstitch: Secrets of Success Rule #9: It’s not always easy to start a business, build a blog readership…

(@gohometoroost) (@gohometoroost)

RT @papernstitch: Secrets of Success Rule #9: It’s not always easy to start a business, build a blog readership…

Elisha Davidson (@elisha_davidson)

RT @papernstitch: Secrets of Success Rule #9: It’s not always easy to start a business, build a blog readership…

(@randomly_happy) (@randomly_happy)
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