I am two and a half hours into my cabinet building building project and there are still at least two more hours to go. I honestly thought I would be done by now. Suddenly that $50 handyman service fee doesn’t seem so outrageous at all. I really thought I could do it in no time. I had wanted a break from my computer and building something sounded like a fun project. During my 4.5 hour cabinet building fiasco, I had time to reflect upon my situation and realize five lesson that every startup and entrepreneur needs to learn early on to be successful.

Lesson 1: Spending money to make money

As entrepreneurs, we are used to doing things ourselves to keep our operating budgets lean, even if it takes you twice as long as an expert. What I have realized now is that at two hours in, I am no longer saving money.  I am actually costing the company money. My potential two billable hours (it took me 4.5 hours to complete), are being wasted. If I had worked on a project that bills for $100 an hour during that time, I gave up a potential profit of $450.

In summary, if I would have spent the $50 for the handyman service, I would be ahead $400 for that time. Spend $50 to make $400 or spend $0 and cost and additional $450.


Lesson 2: Pay the expert

The cabinet would have ended up looking better if I had paid for the handyman service. Halfway through nailing 36 of the 72 nails to the back of cabinet, I realize that I have attached the back of the cabinet with the wrong way facing out.  Now instead of having a completely white cabinet, when you open the doors, the interior of the back is black. Oh well. It actually looks good that way.

Even though I read the instructions,sometimes life or your projects can take an unexpected turn and the project turns out even better.


Lesson 3: Photos show one second of life, not the whole story

This giant cabinet looked gorgeous online but once I put together, I realized that the photos online look a lot better then it does in person. And no, before you think it, it is not because of my carpentry skills. There are more particle board pieces then I would have expected for the price of the cabinet.

This realization hits home for me because I made a judgement based off of what I saw. Some things are just not as good in real life as they appear online.  Think about social media. So much time is spent trying to get the perfect shot. Dozens of photos are taken before one good one is posted online. Yet we accept what we see before us as truth and compare ourselves to that picture and the filtered reality that does not exist.


Lesson 4: Get out of your own way

This one occurred to me as I hammered my thumb instead of my nail. I should have gotten out of my own way and paid for someone else to assemble the cabinet.


Lesson 5: Mistakes are the best way to learn

I split the wood in a few places as my nails were not perfectly centered and came through the inside of the cabinet. When you open this cabinet you can see it. Ahhhh, noooo!  Something my father told me popped into my head. “Beth, a good carpenter isn’t one that doesn’t make mistakes, they just know how to fix them.”

This statement is so true in my business. I make a lot of mistakes, but i’m okay with it because I learn throughout the process and I still have a beautiful product in the end. Honestly, things sometimes turn out better than I planned. There’s not a lot of people out there who can do something perfectly, they just know how to cover it up, fix the mistakes, and keep moving forward.


I hope you enjoyed these lessons and hopefully my mistakes will help you avoid some frustration in the future.  If you can questions about being an entrepreneur or video production, please reach out or drop me a comment.


Have a video question? I’d love to hear from you!



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