The Fatal Mistake of Starting a Business, Exclusive with Business Coach, Doug Joines

Doug Joines is a full-time business coach from Oxford, UK with one mission; to transform 10,000 lives in the next 5 years.

When I initially saw this ambitious target, I thought it looked like a tall order, but with his 2,400 followers on Instagram alone, I quickly realised that Doug is well on track to reach that many people.

You can find him on Instagram here sharing tons of advice to help shift your mindset and learn new business skills.

For more details, visit their website here.

Here we sit down with Doug, to know a bit more about his journey as a business coach.

Q. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

Doug: I was lost, bored, and lacking any direction. For nearly 10 years I had a secure job in the corporate world where I stayed safe, played small, kept my head down, and stuck to an easy routine.

I negotiated for pay raises and promotions, and yes, they happened, but nothing gave me the fulfillment I was yearning for. I eventually started to question if this was really what the next 30 years of my life would look like…

Then my life-changing moment came in October 2020. After a serious motorway accident, I realised life was too short. I threw myself in at the deep end, worked every available hour on my business idea, and eventually quit the rat race I was so accustomed to.

I couldn’t live another 30 years trapped in my 9–5. Now, I’m dedicated to helping others plan their escape route too.

Q. How did you get started?

Doug: Does being great at playing monopoly count?!

I’ve always wanted to have my own business like so many people do, I just didn’t really know what or how. I completed my business degree after traveling in Thailand, then began my corporate career.

The longer I stayed in that job, the more desperate I became to start a business. It was always in the back of my mind until it became so loud, I couldn’t ignore it. I started to research business ideas and eventually learned how easy it could be to white label products, so that’s where I started. As a gym-goer, I jumped into supplements, set up my online store, built a brand, and sourced supplement products to market to other gym-goers — my first side hustle.

Despite feeling desperate to leave the rat race and the painfully small profit margins per order, I loved taking my products to the local post office every few days when an order came through. It felt good to be providing something to people, and even better knowing I was growing something of my own — organically, with no paid advertising at all.

Of course, my friends became intrigued, so I started telling them how I did it. I advised my brother on how to amplify his (at the time) small business and watched him rocket from 100 Instagram followers to over 5k in no time at all. Soon after, his product was being shared on Instagram by famous chef Jamie Oliver and getting placements in TV shows.

My girlfriend also saw this success and wanted to know how she could set up her business idea — she was also overworked, underpaid, and desperate for an escape, so we built her now very successful online business selling social media courses.

It felt great, I loved supporting everyone with their entrepreneurial dreams, but you guessed it, I was still making next to no profit from my supplement side hustle.

As with many product-based businesses, cash flow was tight so I couldn’t invest any more funds to bring the profit margins up. After some time, my heart just didn’t feel ‘in it and I knew it was time to close the doors.

It wasn’t until my girlfriend said to me one afternoon, “You know, if it wasn’t for you telling me how to start my business, I wouldn’t be where I am now, you should teach other people how to do this because so many people need your help!”

Lightbulb moment (along with being hit by a lorry, of course).

So I jumped straight in and quit my 9–5 with nothing but a back pocket full of savings. This time, I was determined to make it work.

Q. What was your biggest startup challenge? What steps did you take to overcome it? What did you learn?

Doug: This is the fatal mistake that I speak about in the headline.

Launching a business without clearly identifying your ideal client and the problem that you are solving for them is one of the biggest errors I see.

Before you start, you must have a clear idea of who it is you serve, what their problem is, and how you can solve it.

Let me expand…

My supplement company was a great-looking brand. We worked hard on the design and the packaging but we only thought about the visual and eco element, rather than the ‘who’.

Our price-point, design, and customer didn’t align. Our message was confusing, which translated to our customers.

I was busy creating something that had no clear audience, instead of getting to know who my ideal customer was first.

Q. What is the Most Memorable Thing You’ve Done Since you Started your Business?

Doug: The most memorable moment was taking a spontaneous mini-break to London with my girlfriend. It doesn’t sound that memorable I know, but it was in our hotel room that I realised for the first time that I could run my business from anywhere in the world and still provide the best service to my clients.

This, for me, is what entrepreneurship is all about and as soon as it’s safe to do so, I’ll be working from the balcony of a hotel somewhere much hotter than the UK.

Q. What is one book you recommend, and why?

Doug: Max Out Your Life by Ed Mylett is a great book for motivation, I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is stuck right now.

Q. What are your top 3 favourite online apps, tools, or resources and what do you love about them?

Doug: Canva to create awesome artwork and graphics (don’t be cheap and invest in the pro version) — how did we ever live without it?

InShot is such a great tool for making Reels on Instagram. Again, it’s worth investing in the paid version

Katra is a really good all-in-one system. I’ve built my website, sales funnels, and courses using Kartra and I use it for my email marketing.

Q. In terms of legacy, what is the mark you’d like to leave on the world?

Doug: Change 10,000 lives for the better by empowering people to follow their dreams.

Q. In one sentence, what’s the best advice you’d give to someone just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey?

Doug: Every no is a step closer to a yes.

To keep up to date with Doug, connect with him on his Linkedin and Instagram.

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Copywriter, publicist & entrepreneur. Passionate about sharing empowering and informative stories from thought leaders across the globe.

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Michelle Whiting

Michelle Whiting

Copywriter, publicist & entrepreneur. Passionate about sharing empowering and informative stories from thought leaders across the globe.

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