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5 Mistakes I Made In Business


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This article was originally published in the IDA The Detail Dialogue June 2024 Newsletter

When you start a business, especially based more on your skills in a trade (not business acumen), a blueprint does not fall into your lap. We are all human. I hope this is helpful and in some ways inspiring to you. I wanted to list these errors I made as I struggled over the years to build a successful business.

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Building a website without being more mindful of SEO! SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. SEO in practice is the intention of trying to rank your website at the top of the web browsing search engines for your preferred search term(s). I knew being ranked high on search engines was important but the realization of the difficulty and work needed to be done was very frustrating. I frequently found myself wondering why I was not ahead of other businesses in the search rankings though my clients preferred me. The algorithm does not factor in how masterfully you can polish paint.

The Everyone Detailer

I put too much energy early on trying to be everyone’s detailer. Fortunately I adapted very quickly after some initial frustrations. This issue manifested itself in my desire to sell the value of my services to people who did not appreciate, would not understand, or had no realistic chance to maintain the appearance of their car. This error also manifested itself in a reluctance to raise my prices earlier on. The price hike benefited me tremendously, attracting people who (actually) believed I was providing a premium service because I charged a premium. To grow, I needed to be more selfish with certain demographics.


I learned this lesson quickly as well. A lot of people make the assumption that people with significant amounts of discretionary income who drive a expensive car, especially those who owned a (very) successful business, would automatically treat you with dignity and respect. I am not one to judge a book by its cover. Realizing this is not always true did not comes as a shock. But I was surprised how often wealthy people showed no regard for the fact that I was running a legitimate business and providing a luxury service. I dealt with people who were passively or sometimes blatantly very disrespectful and hostile towards me over a price, that I was transparent in communicating (lower than what I charge now). Some of these individuals were also proud to boast about their expensive car. A couple of wealthy business owners complained about finding a quality detailer who would also not “stop showing up.” Ideally having discretionary income is still very important for a luxury service. But working with people who are generally car enthusiasts, often experienced detailing their own car, have generally been my best experiences.

Social Media & Video

I wish I captured more social media content in video format early on, involving me working on cars! Although I am happy I emphasized photography to protect myself in terms of liability, I wish I recorded content revealing the necessary time consuming process involved. Speaking and showing my face more was something I wish I would have done sooner as well.


Asking for reviews earlier! I still believe the best feedback is an authentic heartfelt review from someone who decided on his or her own to write a review. But I was hesitant to ask early on, out of insecurity. Although I do not push too hard, I communicate that message in my thank you card in addition to asking verbally once.

Rodney Tatum
Mirror Reflections Auto Spa
Gainesville, Florida
YouTube | Facebook

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