You can get yourself in a lot of trouble in our industry by thinking you know what you really don't. From the business end, that's always been true; "knowing" that you should mark up 10 percent for overhead and 10 percent for profit, for instance, or "knowing" that the billing rate in your area for a skilled carpenter is $45 an hour — regardless of what your own numbers tell you — is the kind of pseudo-knowledge that can get you into a deep hole pretty quickly.

That particular form of ignorance masquerading as knowledge, though, is self-correcting; the financial feedback loop tells you in fairly short order to either change your ways or exit the industry.

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