Business tipsPerspective

I left my microphone on while I went to the bathroom.

By January 23, 2020February 7th, 202024 Comments

The first invoice I ever sent out, I forgot to include my payment details. 

My first “employee” was someone I made up (Sally from Accounts) because I was too scared to chase up on overdue bills “myself”. 

I once went to the toilet with my speaking microphone turned on. The audience heard it all.

My first newsletter ‘list’ consisted of me physically typing all of my contacts into the bcc field of my email (I’d heard of Mailchimp but had no idea what it was). Time consuming, not to mention illegal. 

My Dad took me to the first speech I ever gave. Even though I was booked for 60 minutes, I got scared, mumbled through some nonsense for 5 mins before fleeing from the stage (and when I say fleeing, I mean, I ran. I physically RAN from the stage).

I was a finalist for a prestigious award (NSW Premier’s Women of the Year) and the invite said the event was at Parliament House. So, I booked accommodation and flights to Canberra. Turns out the NSW Awards were in the Parliament House located in, as the name would suggest, Sydney, NEW SOUTH WALES. I wandered around Parliament House in Canberra for an HOUR before I figured it out. 

I had to fire the first two people that ever worked for me (I was a bad manager, and didn’t pick the right people for the right job).

I didn’t realise I had to set aside the GST portion I was adding to invoices and as a result, owed the tax office a massive amount of money. Yes, it’s been paid now.

Why would I share this list of business f*ck ups?
Well, it’s January. And, hopefully, you have some big goals mapped out.

Maybe you have some big plans in place for your business (or maybe you want to start your own business!).

And maybe you’re feeling a bit scared about how it’s all gonna pan out.
Maybe you’re afraid you’re gonna stuff it all up.

I’m here to say this:
Maybe you will! And maybe that’s OK.

Here’s the thing:
Everyone makes mistakes.

Even the world’s most game changing and influential business people – Marie Forleo, Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce, Turia Pitt (I’m kidding, I’m obviously just the most successful) make mistakes.

In fact, making mistakes is part of the deal. 

Because the fact that you’ve made a mistake means that you’re trying. You’re ambitious.
You’ve got goals. That’s something to celebrate!

And most mistakes? Well, one day they’ll make great stories for a blog ?

Go big this year. Don’t worry about stuffing up.

Have a go.

I promise I’ll share everything I can to help you get where you wanna go …. starting with something really exciting that I’m launching with Marie Forleo and B-School in February.

And at the very least, I promise I’ll have a chuckle when you share your own mistakes in a blog or newsletter a few years down the track.

Turia xx

PS – Would you do me a favour? Please share your most embarrassing mistake (business or otherwise) in the comments below. I’d love to know I’m not the only one who’s ever had a fake employee ???

PPS – Interested in B-School? Do yourself a favour and get onto Marie’s EPIC free training series now. It will give you a great insight into what Marie is like, and the kind of stuff you can learn in B-School. It’s also packed full of really valuable content, so even if you decide that B-School isn’t right for you right now, you’ll get heaps out of tips and ideas out of the training anyway. Win-win! You can get the videos here.


  • stephanie clark says:

    I’m an optometrist and had just finished seeing a patient and had walked him over to the optician to choose glasses. The patient was very tall (6’9″) and the optician and I are both short. So I said, jokingly of course, “You realize that if you gave both of us 6″, you’d still be 5’9″.” The most embarrassing part is, I didn’t realize the horror of what I’d said until I was in the car driving home!

  • Peter Fitzgerald says:

    Once upon a time in country locality, when I was a young bloke playing in my first footy rep team got dragged out (with another young team mate ) of the shower and pushed through the changeroom entry door. This was swiftly locked behind us.
    All I can remember is my nakedness and hundreds of people gawkng at me / us within a world of silence, before cheers and laughter erupted.
    Fortunatley ‘somebody’ opened the door and a most embarrasing experience was laid bare – historically speaking.

    • Jb says:

      I sold one of my first artworks, and in my excitement, I pulled out my art supplies and whipped up a happy celebratory artwork. I didn’t realise until I had finished the new piece, that I had splattered a bit of paint onto the sold piece, destroying the face of the subject… some awkward and anxiety riddled emails followed, luckily the customer was understanding.

  • Deborah says:

    Sharing our stuff ups is great;
    A could of years ago I was invited on a harbour cruise on a small boat. We were all required to purchase particular food that we took along in an Esky. I climbed down the the wharf with my Esky of food and another with drinks. It took me over an hour of waiting in the sun before I decided to check my phone, I was a week out with the date.

    Another time I was on the way to a fancy dress party dressed as Zoro. I pulled up at the house based on memory of being there once before, there was also a party going on at that place. I knocked on the door in my full Zoro outfit, let my self in as the door was unlocked and no one was coming. The entire room of people stopped and looked at me in my Zoro outfit. Wrong house !

    We all do it 🙂

  • Sandra says:

    Ever made a mistake at work that made the evening news? I have! My boss and I used a file numbering system for the press releases – he was a public figure in WA so we’d sometimes write them in advance and give them a high number so that they’d sit at the bottom of the list to be sent out at a later date. You can probably guess what happened.
    One day he called me and asked if I’d send out the last press release, So I sent out the press release announcing his resignation from his post about 5 months earlier than it should have, on what turned out to be a very slow news day in Perth. Off went the press release to all state and national print, TV and radio outlets. Then the phone started ringing. That wasn’t unusual, the press used to call for him on a regular basis. He was still out of the office so he called me and very casually asked which release I’d sent, and I said “The LAST one, like you said.” There was an amused pause and then he replied with “Ah yeah, I can see how that happened, I meant the LATEST.”
    Is there a problem? I asked.
    Nah, nothing that won’t sort itself out, he said.
    How bad could it be? Hmm. I got home and put the TV on out of habit and … yep. It was the lead news story on the ABC, Channel 7 and Channel 10 news. Good times. I was absolutely mortified, but given that it was a moderately open secret around town anyway it wasn’t a massive scoop. Still … blimey. I was mortified! It was a mistake that came from mutual miscommunication/lack of clarification on the details, but hey, it’s given me a brilliant go-to anecdote.
    Interview: Can you give us an example of a mistake you made and how you solved it?
    Me: Well I can give you a nice generic version, or would you like the one that made the news?
    Junior at work: Help! I’ve stuffed up on (whatever)
    Me: Is it going to make the news to night? No? Okay we can fix this, and then I’ll tell you a story that’ll make you feel much better.
    Good times …

  • Anthony says:

    Thanks Turia for another amazingly brave and inspiring post.

    My takeaway is that you can make pretty silly, big and mortifying mistakes and still be extremely awesome, cool, inspiring, be loved and, help tremendously a massive number of people. You can learn from mistakes to benefit yourself, but you Turia, have also leveraged them to assist others despite the downside and potential embarrassment of disclosing those f*k-ups that most people would keep to themselves.

    I have done my fair share of stupid things and things I wish I hadn’t. Some examples; similar to Turia went to a meeting in Brisbane, paying flights accommodation etc but the meeting was in Gold Coast so a waste of a few hundred dollars, went to a meeting in Brisbane, correct city this time, but forgot to pack any business pants so had to spend a fortune on pants at the airport as it was the only shop open, went on honeymoon with no shoes whatsoever after having laughed at my sister for doing the exact same thing a few years earlier.

  • Jana Parker says:

    Hi Turia . .
    Most embarrassing mistake: 7th grade. I was the new kid at school. My neighbor, who was first friend at school, talked me into trying out for cheerleader. I am not now nor have I ever been cheerleader material or type. I’m nerdy quiet type. I unfortunately agreed because she just needed a partner(one with tatas and blond hair turns out)….she was super popular. I felt safe that I could do the little routine, help her out, and go back to the library. Unfortunately I made cheerleader and she did not…she was very angry. VERY angry. Especially because I made cheerleader and couldn’t even do a cartwheel. Nope, couldn’t do a flip either(front or backwards). In fact I was about as graceful as a flamingo with vertigo. I in fact proved my dizzy flamingo skills during my first Jr high pep rally. It was so bad that everyone thought I was joking. I literally got in trouble for making a joke with my tumbling skills while the other cheerleaders flipped and twirled like woodland sprites across our 7th grade gym.

  • Ali says:

    Love it! I was giving a presentation about a company restructuring programme to 800 men. My boss decided to tell a rather sexist joke at my expense and I left the stage fuming, ? stomped into the reception area. I then began to rant at the two receptionists (who I knew pretty well so I didn’t hold back) about how inappropriate my boss was and being Irish, I threw in the odd expletive !! About a minute later, another friend ran out of the meeting shouting ‘STOP TALKING’. Turns out that my left butt cheek was leaning on the tannoy button and I was broadcasting my rant into the whole auditorium!! I died !!! Thankfully with all the laughter, my boss couldn’t make out what was being said (the speakers were at the back of the room). Not one of the guys ever ‘told’on me. Hey all kept ther jobs in the restructure ? Ali xxx

  • Sue says:

    I employed someone who was not legal allowed to work in Australia

  • I once was asked to lay a wreath at the Australian national war memorial at a very somber occasion. Unfortunately I hadn’t practiced in my “big noter” high heals, so I feel in the flowers! Shame Job!!!

  • In my young teenage days, my two girlfriends and I tried to go to banko one evening. We sat together with all the city tanned retirees. The game got underway. First, a row of numbers. Then two rows. Then the whole plate should be filled with the correct numbers drawn. I was missing only one number. It was number 2. I repeatedly in my quiet mind asked to get number 2 extracted so that I would win. A number was said and I shouted “BANKO!” and the whole hall sighed because that meant that they did not win. A controller came to me to check that I had the right numbers, but the last number had NOT been number 2. I had hoped to much that I had made another number up to become number 2! I did not become popular throughout the hall but in turn I became fiery red in the head and my girlfriends were embarrassed about me. We have since laughed a lot about that event.

  • Sabina says:

    Oh my gosh! I love you! Bloody hilarious. I’ve made so many stuff ups and u just put that amazing twist on it! You are incredible, but I know you have heard that before. Stay cool princess xx

  • Felicity O'Brien says:

    I have forgotten to pick up a child I was supposed to bring home in an organized carpool!
    I have forgotten about an appointment, and had a client waiting for me in a clinic, while I was at a meeting somewhere else!

  • Sno says:

    I was clever enough to ask a teacher with a French accent if they were Scottish

  • Jeff says:

    Entering an exam situation to do with work with a few hundred people, with melted granulated coffee in my crotch and rear area, while wearing white pants. I learnt to pay closer attention when tipping granulated coffee into a travel thermos mug while sitting in the car and not wear white pants. I turned heads that day and had a spring in my step, then I found out why……..

    I also and still do have fake employees, my “accounting team member” is quite sassy actually 😛

  • Lucy Hore says:

    Thanks for sharing those incidents with us Turia.
    Two incidents that spring to mind in my motherly role, after leaving my son at his scout group forgot to call little sister who was playing in the park near by, drove home to suddenly remember, I was missing a little three year old person!
    In the days before mobile phones I got suburbs confused and spent over an hour, while also running out of petrol in trying to locate and pick up same son after a school footy match…..thank heavens he and his little sister have survived their mother’s indiscretions and are now very capable adults with their own children. Of course I am randomly reminded at what ‘terrible’ mother I was!!

  • Steve Selina says:

    Hey Turia, you are seriously a legend.. My grand fkup starts out sad. I had just lost my son who was stillborn. It was early January 1990, and I had just come from the cemetery and was headed to my sisters work for some much needed comfort. I pulled into a servo on Miller’s road Altona for $10.00 of fuel. The servo was one that did the fuel for you. It was busy and the young bloke took my cash and started to do the fuel. I had a hg premier Holden, rather big car, and he tapped on my roof and waved me on to go. So I put her in drive and off I went… “ONLY TO MY HORROR!!” He had tapped the wrong car, and I drove off still attached to the bowser hose. It ripped out the whole bowser, and not only that, when I stopped, about 10 meters away, the guy told me to reverse, and I reversed straight over part of the bowser. As if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, he tried to get me to go to another bowser to finish the fuel he hadn’t done, looking at the smashed bowser to see how much fuel he had put in ? But fortunately, the power had shut down the whole service station. He then went and got me change ? By this stage I realised it was his mistake, as he was crazy ? and apologising for the damages to my car. Now this was bad, but not only did this shut it down for the day, but they never reopened after that day ?☺️??. I also got compensation for the damage it caused to my car.
    After I left I went to my sisters work, and by the time I arrived, I had saw the funny and humiliating side of it and I reckon it must have taken me 10 minutes to actually tell he from laughing soo much. ? Cheers Selina

  • Jb says:

    I sold one of my first artworks, and in my excitement, I pulled out my art supplies and whipped up a happy celebratory artwork. I didn’t realise until I had finished the new piece, that I had splattered a bit of paint onto the sold piece, destroying the face of the subject… some awkward and anxiety riddled emails followed, luckily the customer was understanding.