I outsourced a Webanalytics Software application and paid the developer for every stage he completed. After 75% he stopped working and new developers didn't understand the code.
So goodbye $10k !
The biggest mistake I made was trying to start a business simply to make quick money, instead of a business/idea/product/service I was passionate about.
A business might take 1,3,5+ years to really make it BIG (On a long enough time-line most businesses should succeed). However if your not passionate about what you doing, your not going to stick it out long enough for that to happen.
Best of luck to you, Jack.
Jeez, what mistakes DIDN'T I make!
There's no way to avoid making mistakes. (At least I haven't figured it out yet)
Most startups start out with their prices too low and don't keep good records.
Handling the finances (accounting and book keeping) and taxes personally from the get go was a great learning experience, but so time consuming. Hire a book keeper or have a look at a mint.com-like site called indinero.com to help with book keeping.
Once we switched to an S-Corp and payroll got thrown into the mix, let's just say it took a good 6 months to get caught up on the deposits and required reports and schedules. Let somebody get that started for you.
Also, keeping track of cashflow is critical if you want to keep your company afloat. An accountant or CPA can help in that arena.
I agree with WWonka - I couldn't handle the bookkeeping and taxes on my own. I wanted to be in control of everything, but tracking expenses and cash flow became overwhelming. And I was confused as all heck when it came to taxes.
I have now hired a CPA to help with all of this. He's got my whole business in Quickbooks and he's even teaching me how to use it on my own.