This week we’re featuring guest blog posts from the Collaborich Conference, taking place September 30 to October 2, 2015. This is the first post in the “Financially Free Entrepreneur” series.

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Hey, I’m Stephanie, a.k.a. The Millionista Mentor and the Founder of The Collaborich Conference.

I mentor women-owned businesses to create cash catapulting success stories. Sounds fun, doesn’t it? It sure is, but in all honesty, that wasn’t always the case.

After my first year in business I had accumulated well over $100,000 in debt. No, no one stole my credit cards, I did this all by myself. Instead of having a pity party (okay, maybe I had a little one), I took responsibility and decided to do whatever the heck it took to become debt free. A few years down the road, here I am! Today I’ve created a thriving community for thousands of women online. I believe in helping all women, so I’m going to share with you the top tips from some of my Collaborich speakers and all time favorite industry leaders.

We asked: What’s the one thing you wish you knew when you started your business?

“That my earnings wouldn’t necessarily equate to revenue. That I could book six figures worth of business and still have less than $20K in the bank. It costs money to run a business, especially a big one that is profitable, successful and will last. I wish I was a little smarter about my spending once the money actually started coming in. I would always make the excuse that I was putting it right back into the business, without keeping the end in mind: profit.” —Jenn Scalia, Business Coach + Visibility Strategist

“This is a great question, and there are so many things I wish I knew when I started! However the one that stands out in my mind is being authentic. In the beginning I created my branding around what I thought people wanted to see instead of just being me. There was such a huge disconnect between myself and my audience. I created a lot of unnecessary frustration and wasted a ton of time, money and energy! The moment I just honored being me, my business flourished” —Maria Hinton, Prosperity Coach

“The one thing I wish I knew before starting a business was the importance of investing in my business. I wasted so much time trying to learn everything on my own and “trying to get results.“ If I had invested in my business sooner I would have clarity, knowledge and confidence to start getting visibility sooner. The second thing I wish I knew was the importance of being visible in my business. The lack of knowledge and confidence in the beginning caused my to hide behind my computer. I’ve learned that being the best kept secret is not good for business” —Fabiola Giordani, Marketing + Branding Consultant

“I wish I had known how noisy and overwhelming the online business world can actually be. I had to learn how to put my blinders on, how to stay in my own lane, eyes on my own paper. Distractions are everywhere so it’s important to choose just a few mentors that you trust who align with your values to guide you and then try to block out all the rest to avoid confusion, feeling overwhelmed and comparisonitis” —Adrienne Dorison, Success Strategist & Money Mentor

“When I first started I wish I knew that there is no such thing has being perfect. I am a recovering perfectionist and I wasted a lot of time making sure things were perfect before I put them out into the world. The best advice I would give is to start before you are ready, nothing will ever be perfect and being an entrepreneur is a journey full of launching, testing, course correcting and taking action..... then course correcting and making your product/service better. There is no final destination and there will be many failures and successes” —Kelly Lynn Adams, Business & Life Coach

“I wish I had known how important it was to have additional funds or income in place. It would have made the process of growing the business much more liberating!” —Juliet Turlaski, Personal Development Thought Leader

“That it takes time to figure out what you want to do. Don't try to skip over figuring what you LOVE to do, it doesn't work” —Nathalie Guerin, Law of Attraction Specialist

“Hands down I wish I had known about the power of community and had started a free FB group straight out of the gate. Having that community behind our brand has made a HUGE difference!

From knowing what our community is struggling with, to what kind of content they want us to create, building our list to packing out our webinars, selling out our live events to welcoming new members into the monthly membership community, it's been instrumental in building our business in a bigger way than we ever expected.” —Jill Stanton, co-founder of Screw the Nine to Five

“Starting a business takes a thick skin, determination and perseverance. When you start telling people what you are about to embark on you expect everyone to jump on board. Not everyone is going to support you as you hope they will. I wish I would have had this insight so I could have bypassed the let-downs and haters to really focused on my unwavering support system and cheerleaders.” —Stephanie Melish, Sales Strategist

“I think I partly knew this all along and made the mistake that so many small business owners do when jumping into the fray before they're ready...but I wish I had spent more time really exploring and understanding what I needed to do financially and legally to set my business on the right course, protect my family and grow in a healthy manner. Those first few years were a huge period of trial and error with a steep learning curve. I wish there were more resources available that really outlined what it means to become a small business owner in a relatable way. A lot of the resources available are very technical in nature, which means people tend to overlook them. The small business arena would be hugely impacted by a more human display of how to turn your dreams into a profession the right way, from the start.” —Katy Blevins, The Modern Femme Movement

Attend The Collaborich Conference for free! All of the speakers above are going to have some awesome inspirational nuggets to share with you there.