Missed opportunities in freelance business

How to deal with missed opportunities in your business

If only had I sent that offer earlier, if only had I talked to her at the conference, if only had I agreed on that collaboration…. – we’ve all been there. As a freelancer or business owner you can’t always predict what consequences your action or lack of it will have. Sometimes running a business feels like a gamble – taking risks, betting, losing or winning. And that’s where regrets over missed opportunities may kick is.

So, how can you deal with missed opportunities in your business life? How to move on and focus on the next step?


1. Analyse what went wrong

To deal with missed opportunities you can use similar methods like for coping with rejections. If you can’t stop thinking about the great chance you’ve lost – the investment you didn’t finalise, the collaboration you failed to start or the offer you didn’t send on time – first switch into the analysing mode.

Try to figure out what went wrong. Was it something you did or didn’t do? Were the circumstances wrong? Were you afraid, not confident enough or not informed well to make the right move?

There might be many factors at play and sometimes the reason why you missed what seems to be a great opportunity is beyond your control. So, break down the whole situation and stop blaming yourself if you didn’t have a choice to act differently. Maybe then the chance you’ve missed won’t be so attractive anymore and the regrets will stop haunting you.


2. Adjust your actions and processes

If your analysis tells you that you are the only person responsible for passing up a golden chance, take steps to shape up.

For example, if you failed to send a project proposal on time, set multiple reminders or allocate more time to complete your work next time. If you rejected a collaboration with – what later turned out to be – a great and successful company, make sure that you’ll gather more information next time someone asks you to team up.

Every opportunity – even a missed one – is a great learning experience, so find out if there’s anything you can change in the way your run your business, write down a new action plan and stick to it.


3. Open up for more opportunities

Some events appear only once in a lifetime, but many are repeatable or very similar. So, don’t dwell on the past, mulling over your losses. Maybe the future holds something better for you, maybe once you learn from your negative experience, you’ll be equipped for a more exciting opportunity.  

You can start actively seeking for other opportunities to make up for your loss. For example, if you regret missing the chance to move your business to a new location, find out if there’s another attractive venue that would be available for you and if you wish you had agreed on what seemed to be a long and fruitful collaboration – find out if you can team up with another partner to take your business to the next level.


Making mistakes, missing great opportunities or losing time and money are all natural parts of running a business. It’s up to you to turn every wrong move into a learning experience and draw up a winning strategy for the future.


Over to you

What is your method to overcome regrets in your business life?     

Dorota helps businesses and individuals to communicate successfully across cultures in the online world. She is a qualified translator and an entrepreneur supporting other self-employed professionals on their path toward building a more successful business.