My Biggest Business Mistakes of the Last Year

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Hey guys.

Day 16 – back at it:


I got to bed pretty late last night at midnight, but today I wanted to wake up ‘on time’, as yesterday I was up late – although I probably will crash later.

I was out with my cousin Ajay last night, and we were discussing my agency and what was possible for me.

One comment he made (and rightfully so perhaps?) stuck out to me.

He asked what my goals were this year – and I said I would to see if I could get us to 100k a month. And he responded ‘so do you think your goals are more realistic now?’.

It slightly knocked me back (and no harm was meant by it) – but it did give me cause to reflect upon the events of the last twelve months and some clear and obvious mistakes I made.

Everything, of course, is easy with the advantage of hindsight.

I was hoping in my third year of running an agency I’d make a million.

Given I incorporated in October 2016, it’s been a winding journey and I didn’t get there at all.

I did £85k, then £220k ish and then year three, I’m pretty confident I got to around £400k. The growth has been steady which is great, but nothing explosive.

It’s likely perhaps ordinary agency growth. And what I want to do is think about the biggest mistakes along my journey.

  1. I lost nine months on the basis of getting a business partner involved whom I didn’t need. I made a silly business decision by getting someone involved at an equity level who learned lead-generation from me. Or rather he’d taken my course. The partnership didn’t work.
  2. I lost another nine months working with a business partner with Purr Traffic who had a completely different style to me. We are great as friends – but not suited as agency partners.
  3. I lost three months setting up with a partner to run a video animation arm of Pearl Lemon which also collapsed 
  4. It took me a year to understand that SEO was the place I want to niche in

It’s funny looking back at this and realising my biggest mistakes that took me the longest to recover from have been in partners. 

In all three instances, it’s been a total of 21 months – and there is some overlap with setting up a new company website when I went solo and had to rebrand as well as these partnerships.

We are emotional creatures as human beings and desire companionship.

It’s taken me I guess (in hindsight) a couple of years to become comfortable with the prospect of growing Pearl Lemon alone.

No one is ever going to care about it as much as I do and before it would scare me and drive me into making the wrong decisions.

I would want companionship; to have someone to talk to – someone with a stake in the business who felt wedded to it.

Each and every time my expectations weren’t quite met.

Well, it’s 514am and I’m sat in the Hotel Ibis writing this blog content 😛


Even my girlfriend who I stirred when I got out of bed asked me:


I’m relatively extreme in my approach to getting things done.

Once I decided – broadly speaking – I decide and it’s go time.

So I’d often be frustrated with Nick (Purr Traffic), Umesh (Pearl Lemon Videos) and Kaz (Pearl Lemon Leads) for different reasons and this caused its own set of issues.

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As you can see from above – part of writing this is about catharsis.

Just earlier in that day I’d posted this to my family:


And then my cousin’s comment bought me back down to earth.

My choices of business partners with my agency have cost me literally 50% of the time I’ve been in agency land.


I guess within all of this the question I really need to ask is:

‘Deepak do you really need a partner?’

And there are a lot of ‘nice reasons’ to have a partner – ‘no one apart from a partner will care as much as you’ and the like.

But really – in the instance of Pearl Lemon Leads – I was choosing to give away 30%+ of my business to work with someone who would simply make the first few months (building an operation) easier.

This has been proven to me in the last couple of months.

As Pearl Lemon Leads (the partnership collapsed) – I’ve never stopped enjoying the process of generating leads – and I’ve since build an operation that looks more effective than what Kaz and I ever did together.


So we return to the words of my cousin that got me out of bed this morning – ‘do you think your goals are more realistic now?’.

They probably are. Making a million a year is a good figure for an agency owner.

I know there are owners out there doing 10s of millions per year and the like.

But for now, with my distributed, remote ‘we don’t meet clients model’ – getting to a million would be great – and there’s definitely a lot I have to learn.


So I want to leave you all with some lessons as I wrap up this blog – 

  • Before you commit to getting a business partner involved – really consider whether you actually need one
  • Attempt a three-month run without a partner and see where you get – and THEN decide if you actually want or need a partner

A good example of this is the ‘PR Agency’ I’ve decided I’m going to start – 

I’ve built several blogs around it, and have spoken to a couple of PR people to see if they want to partner, but this time at a white-label level.

In the first instance, I want to go it alone and see where I end up. And then review from there.

But this reminds me of another big problem of mine.

I should have perhaps just focussed on SEO and nothing else.

It has made me the most money – and along the way I’ve kept getting distracted by shiny objects – so there’s a good argument to be had for my lack of focus being another big challenge.



Right, I’ve come to an end, and it’s evident to me upon writing this that I haven’t got ‘it all’ figured out.

There is still some way to go – which is the question of focus.

But that’s another story for another day.

Catch you, tomorrow guys!