7 Mistakes New Entrepreneurs Make
Have you ever thought about what it would be like to start your own business?
Have you ever wondered what you'd do if you worked for yourself?
Each week I talk to people just like you who are thinking about starting their own business but aren't sure what to do, how to do it, or if they'd even be able to make it work.
As an extremely analytical person, I've started to notice common mistakes people make during this thought process.
To help you avoid these prevalent pitfalls, I'm going to point out some of the most common “Gotchas” people face when they decide to become an entrepreneur.
Over the past few years I've learned a lot about entrepreneurship. I've read books, attended conferences and seminars, watched countless hours of Shark Tank and I've started two of my own businesses.
I've also spent time speaking with and coaching people like you who want to strike out on their own, start their own company, and stake their claim to a piece of the online world.
While I didn't necessarily consider it research at the time, looking back, I realize that I've been taking it all in and making mental notes of what worked and what didn't.
This list is meant to give you warning signs of common road blocks so you can avoid them and move quicker than I did. I hope it encourages you to become an entrepreneur.
7 Mistakes New Entrepreneurs Make
1: Little or No Infrastructure
When I first started marketing my coaching services I didn't realize everything I'd have to do once I got interest from my first client.
I had to create an outline for our sessions, a payment method/schedule, and quite a few other things.
When you decide on what you're going to do for your business, don't waste your time worrying about all of the technical things until you know people are interested. However, realize real people are going to pay you real money and they want real value. That was a lot pressure for me. We have to step up to the plate.
While you shouldn't get bogged down in the details, you do need to have the infrastructure in place to bring clients in and provide value to them while they're there.
You need to have an infrastructure that scales with your success.
In my training course, How to Turn Your Offline Expertise into an Online Business, I go into much more detail, but here are the building blocks you'll need to build a successful business:
- A website
- A customer with a need
- A product or service that meets that need
- A way to get paid
Those four things are the foundation of your business. You could start without a website, but why would you want to? It is 2014 after all.
And no, having an Etsy store doesn't count.
2: Expectations of Automatic Expertise
As we progress through life we crawl before we walk, walk before we run, and after running for a while, we eventually have to give our knowledge away to a younger generation.
Over time, through months (if not years) of study, we become experts.
One thing I see time and time again, is when we change course to become entrepreneurs, we expect to become automatic experts. Because we were at the top of our game over there, we plan on being at the top of our game over here. We forget however, we've changed games.
While several of our skills transfer from one area to another, many do not. You may have to go through a building and development phase.
The problem is when you get so discouraged by your expertise that doesn't carry over you forget the skills and talents that do. Worse yet is when you never do what you love for fear of starting at the beginning.
3: Assuming the Skills are the Same
I learned the hard way that just because I'd been on Facebook for years as myself, I didn't really have the social media skills to run a business. While your personality should shine through, there is a difference between being social as a person and being social as a business.
I won't spend much time on this one because I feel this is still an area where I'm learning.
If you're looking for a great resource on social media tips, I highly recommend Gary Vaynerchuck's book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.
4: Worrying About Not Hitting Your Stride
When I started blogging, I had a grand vision of becoming an overnight success. However, I didn't realize how much time and intentional effort it takes to be good writer!
Through the help of Jeff Goins, after over a year of blogging, I made a lot of changes for the better. I wrote about them here.
While sharing my story with hundreds of people over the past two years, I've had to encourage them with my struggle. I always tell them,
It took me around 80 blog posts before I felt like I'd really hit my stride and before I felt like writing wasn't a huge chore.
Whatever new journey you're about to embark on, remember, it may be a while before you hit your stride too.
Don't get discouraged because you aren't an automatic expert, or you have to put in the extra work before feeling comfortable with what you're doing.
Don't quit because it's harder than you imagined it would be. If you feel like quitting, read this.
5: Forgetting to Be Yourself
As Oscar Wilde said,
Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.
People, Americans especially, are tired of doing business with and working for giant, faceless companies. Boutique businesses are popping up all over the place and thriving because they offer a unique way to do business.
Cities like Austin, Denver, and anywhere there's a thriving food truck community are booming because of the personality people are bringing to their businesses. You and I can learn from these successes and really let our personalities shine.
When interviewing Amy Schmittauer of SavvySexySocial.com and VlogBoss.com, I couldn't help but notice how much character she puts into her work! She has built an awesome business because she doesn't hide who she is.
6: No Defined Mission
Entrepreneurs with a product can succeed. Entrepreneurs with a product and a purpose will dominate! (Tweet that)
To be honest, it took me over two years of daily effort to find my purpose and mission. I had several projects, ideas and things I was working on, but it wasn't until I gained clarity of purpose that everything started to come together.
My mission is to remove the technological and financial roadblocks that are preventing you from taking back control of your life and starting your life of purpose, to help you put yourself back in the driver's seat and become the master of your destiny.
Once I defined my mission in life, things that had seemed like random projects and minor distractions seemed to fall into place.
Everything I'd worked on for the past two years came together and made sense when I received the clarity that comes from defining your mission.
Don't be discouraged if you don't yet know your purpose. And whatever you do, do not wait until you find it before taking action.
Just know, it may take time and effort, but when you find your purpose and define your mission, you'll have more energy and drive than ever before.
It's pretty cool!
7: Believing You Must First Conquer Self-Doubt
I get asked all the time about how I deal with self-doubt. Unfortunately, my answer doesn't actually solve the problem.
I don't believe anyone can ever conquer self-doubt. We always have a voice in the back of our mind saying,
What if it doesn't work out?
Are you really as good as you think you are?
Why would someone listen to you?
Or even worse,
Now isn't the best time to launch.
The conditions aren't right, you should wait.
If you've ever heard those words come out of your mouth, or had them pop up between your ears, congratulations – you're doing something worth doing!
Good News & Bad News
I have some good news and some bad news. Which would you like first?
The bad news? Okay.
- The bad news is you'll never escape the voices in your head questioning you or fully destroy your self-doubt. Sucks don't it.
- The good news is the more you act in spite of your fear, the easier it gets to ignore the voices in your head and do great things.
These are seven of the most common mistakes I see new entrepreneurs making. I've struggled with each of them.
Whether you're looking to increase your sales, or simply move from part-time blogger to online business owner, you will most likely pass through each one of these areas at least once (if you haven't already).
If you are ready to take the next step, make sure you're not trying to do it by yourself. Remember, nothing great has ever been achieved by a single person acting alone.
When you have questions, ask someone for help. When you're ready to take serious action, build a platform for your message, and share it with the world, enroll in my course I'll help you.
Question: What did I miss? What struggles have you had along your journey, and how did you get through them?