Back to Square One

“All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes.” – Winston Churchill.

My life over the past week could be compared to the 2010 Flash Crash. Wednesday was 2:27 PM, Thursday was 2:37 PM, yesterday was 2:47 PM, and by my watch, it’s still only 2:57 PM. Time seems like it has come to a standstill, but in reality, everything is changing very rapidly.

Two days ago, I accepted an undisclosed amount of money for my first business venture, GlowStickJunkie, from an entrepreneur on the Fastlane Forum. I met with him via Skype, and within minutes I knew without a doubt that he was the guy I would sell the business to, even though I still had other offers on the table. It just made sense to make a deal with him, and so I sold it. I was ecstatic. The business I had created was going to be in the hands of someone who had both the time and the energy to make it into something great and I was going to profit from it. It was a good day.
However, I can’t say the same for yesterday. I have never been superstitious about days or numbers, but yesterday was certainly worthy of being Friday the 13th of April, 2012. It was a rather bleak day, and little did I know getting out of bed yesterday morning, that I would be learning a few hours later just how much a mistake I had made 79 days prior could cost me.

As I had sold the business and would no longer need credit card processing for the site, I called the national merchant services department of Wells Fargo, through whom I had set up my merchant services account. I was being charged exorbitant fees, and I knew that the sale of the business was my chance to get out. When filling out the contract on that Wednesday evening in January, I had not asked the sales rep about anything regarding the time frames of the contract. I had read through the contract fairly thoroughly, as it was only nineteen pages, and having not found anything mentioning expirations or time limits for cancellation, I assumed that it was an open-entry/open-exit contract. I could not have been more wrong.

After speaking with the MSA representative, I learned that not only had I exceeded the fifty day cancellation limit, but that I had also signed a three-year contract with Wells Fargo, and that I would have to pay a cool $500 to get out early. Why didn’t I know about this? Well it turns out that the clauses about expiration dates and cancellation limits were in an online program guide that was referenced in the contract.

Needless to say, I was a little disappointed. I was disappointed both in the sales rep whom I had trusted would tell me something as important as a contract time frame, and myself for having trusted a sales rep and having not delved into every minute detail of the contract. I could have asked to see the program guide, but I did not, and that mistake ultimately cost me just shy of $1000.

However, while absorbing the fact that I had just wasted a ticket to Europe, I realized that in the scheme of things, it really wasn’t that costly of a mistake to have learned what I have learned. I would say that in the 5 months that I worked on GlowStickJunkie, I learned more about business than I ever would have had I “invested” that $1000 in a marketing class, an entry-level web design class, and an introductory business class at my community college. I will be able to use all of the knowledge that I have acquired over the past 5 months in my future ventures, and I have some real world knowledge as opposed to just theoretical knowledge.

But for now, I’m back at square one. Where I go from here will become clear within the next couple of weeks.