Anybody can be an entrepreneur. But not every entrepreneur has a successful business. And it’s probably down to these 10 mistakes…
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Being called an entrepreneur is pretty cool.
But actually being one? That’s a whole different ball game.
You see, becoming a successful entrepreneur has never been an easy road.
And one of the biggest reasons why most entrepreneurs struggle with their business, is simply because they don’t know how to build one — the RIGHT way — in the first place!
More often than not, aspiring entrepreneurs struggling to make any breakthroughs in their business are making mistakes that are holding them back.
And that’s why in this post, we want to share 10 common mistakes entrepreneurs make when building a business. So that you are aware of them and know how to avoid them.
Let’s get started!
Mistake #1: They Treat Their Businesses Like a Magical Money Vending Machine
Most people say they want to build a business. But what they really want is easy money.
But unless you’re a trust fund baby, or you win the lottery, money doesn’t simply fall on your lap. And a business is no exception.
In the real world, a business will take anywhere between six months to several years to become profitable.
Why? Because building a business has a learning curve.
Whether it’s dropshipping, affiliate marketing, or a print on demand business you’re starting, there’s a number of skills you’ll need to learn along the way.
This could be creating a website or email list, becoming a good copywriter, or learning how to find a profitable product to sell.
Some people might pick up these skills faster than the majority. But, for most of us, becoming good at these skills won’t happen overnight.
So, expecting a new business to chug out tens of thousands of dollars after thirty days is quite optimistic.
More so, having big expectations is only setting ourselves for disappointment. This is when people call the business model a “scam” or that it “doesn’t work.”
But nobody learned how to walk on their first attempt. And even when we did try and walk, but ended up falling over, we didn’t just quit. We got back up, dusted ourselves off, then tried again!
In other words, we were hungry to achieve, yet patient with our learning. And it’s this same mindset you should have when building a business.
You don’t simply “get it” on your first go. And it takes a lot of practice, trial and error, and learning from previous mistakes to get us to our goal of making money!
Mistake #2: They Fall for Shiny Object Syndrome
Does this sound familiar?
You take a trip to the store, with a loose idea of what you need to buy. Then, heading toward the till, you take a look inside your basket, suddenly realising you’re about to spend way more money than you first imagined!
This example is similar to how Shiny Object Syndrome works. The bad habit of being distracted by something else that steals your attention away from what you were focusing on before.
This is a bad habit a lot of us have — especially when building an online business.
Juggling two or more businesses at once can end up a disaster. And to know how, we simply need to run the numbers.
With 24 hours in one day, you have 8 hours for sleep. 8 for work, and extra 1 hour for commuting to and from work.
This leaves you with 7 hours remaining for the rest of the day. With those 7 hours, you need to cook, clean, exercise and manage your life.
For most people, realistically, they’ll have about 1-2 hours a day on weekdays to set aside for their business. So that’s 5-10 hours a week.
Of course weekends are a prime time to work. So maybe you are VERY disciplined and you work 8 hours each of those days. That now becomes 16 hours on the weekend.
In total, you might have around 20 to 26 hours each week to work on your new side hustle.
So what would be wiser: to dedicate this limited time to 3 or 4 side hustles – or dedicate your time to ONE hustle?
Of course, the latter makes more sense and you will achieve success a lot faster. Plus, if you think about it: most people have just enough time to focus on just 1 business or 1 store. It’s not realistic to try and start 2, or 3, or 4 or 5 at once.
Focus your energy on ONE business. And do it WELL.
Mistake #3: They Overthink Taxes
Not everybody likes taxes. And one of the biggest benefits, as an employee, is that you don’t even have to think about them. Your employer automatically deducts it straight out of your paycheck!
But while your employer takes care of your taxes, they still have a firm grip over your time. And your time is what’s most valuable. In fact, your taxes are only ‘dealt’ with on the condition that you work forty hours per week.
But, with a business, you can buy your time back, and have enough money to hire an accountant to handle your taxes.
You might have to sit down for one or two days with your accountant. But compared to forty hours a week, it’s a no brainer what choice that we’d go for.
In reality, you shouldn’t fear starting a business because of taxes. You don’t have to deal with them! With the money you make, you can easily hire an accountant to handle that area for you.
Helpful link: Taxes 101: How to pay taxes when dropshipping
Mistake #4: They Think Their Business is Awesome But Their Customers Do Not
It’s funny. People build a business to sell products to people, yet design it around themselves.
Everything in their business — their products, advertisements, website, and even logo — was purely chosen because they liked it.
There’s even a name for this way of thinking. They call it Illusory Superiority. A cognitive bias that makes us think that we are superior to others.
But those who are most successful are the ones who are less emotionally tied to decisions in their business.
Instead of agonizing over how their sales page looks, or why their ad isn’t converting, they look at the data. Listening to the data, they tweak areas in their business, and then start seeing results very quickly.
Essentially, they let their audience to tell them what they like and don’t like.
Even one of our videos in the past hadn’t received the best service from our audience. But we didn’t throw our toys out the pram, or think there was something wrong with our subscribers.
Instead, we’ve taken action to improve our videos. And even gone as far to hire an animator full-time!
Mistake #5: They Eat McDonald’s!
Most people think that by eating food like McDonald’s, they save time by not having to cook. And can now use that time to work on their business.
But what they fail to realise is, while this strategy might work in the short term, the only thing that is going to drive your business forward is YOU.
And you need to keep your body in the best condition, otherwise you risk burnout and getting sick. And if you’re sick, how are you going to be able to work on your business?
Never cut corners with your health when building an online business. While building a business, keep your health a top priority.
Why? Your business needs your BEST you. So, if you’re not prioritising your health – doing things like smoking, drinking and sleeping late – you AND your business will both suffer.
Having bad health is a hefty price you’ll have to pay in the long term. It was a short-term productivity gain that had long-term productivity consequences.
How can you improve your health? Well, for starters:
Get at least 8 hours of sleep. That is for every night, not just on days where you ‘feel’ like it.
Make fruits and vegetables the foundation of your diet. I know this has been drummed into your ear since you were 5, yet so many people underestimate or overlook the HUGE benefits this can have in your life
Drink 2 litres of water per DAY. Or enough water so that your urine is white when you go to the loo.
The people that manage their sleep and health are the tortoise. And those that don’t are the hare. And guess which of these won the race?
Business isn’t a sprint: it’s a marathon.
Mistake #6: They Cut Corners in the Wrong Places With Their Business
As an entrepreneur, your goal is to make money. And to do this, you need to be good at two things.
But a lot of people tend to cut corners with this. They don’t put a lot of energy into their ads, product descriptions, or landing pages. And then wonder why they struggle to make any sales.
But these are what’s most important. Altogether, they form the bridge that takes a prospect and turns them into a paying customer. And without focusing on them only makes it harder for yourself to make any money.
Usually, being in a rush to make money is the very reason why a lot of entrepreneurs fail to. When you rush the areas that truly move your business forward, or aren’t even aware of them, you’ll always find yourself stuck.
The takeaway? Don’t rush! And apply laser focus to how you are marketing and selling your product.
Mistake #7: They Try to Compete on Price
Price competition is bad. Everybody loses.
Some people believe that by matching competitors on price, customers will appreciate how low their pricing is, and buy their product because of that.
But, when customers buy a product, usually it has very little to do with the price. It’s how the product is advertised that is a stronger deciding factor.
When Sarah was 16, she used to resell video games (for a higher price), on a website called TradeMe.
One particular video game she sold was also being sold by four other sellers. The other four priced their video game at $20. Sarah priced hers at $40.
But, even though Sarah’s video game was being sold for $20 more, most customers would purchase hers. Why? Because while she and those other sellers sold the exact same thing, she differentiated herself.
She created an amazing product listing. One with a good product description, and higher definition images than her competitors, which they weren’t able to match! Focusing on how she marketed the product is why she was able to have success despite price.
And this is why in dropshipping, you’re able to sell products triple the price you purchased it for. Simply because of good marketing. Something a lot of sellers tend to brush over.
Mistake #8: They Underestimate Their Customers Intelligence
Customers are getting smarter every day.
Long are the days where you could buy cheap goods, and sell them as high-end “luxury” on your site. Or put a countdown timer on every product page.
You might get away with it to an extent. But, sooner or later, customers will find out then call you out. And then you’ll lose what’s most crucial to your business: their trust.
Don’t underestimate a customer’s intelligence. Focus on being as authentic, honest and truthful as possible in your way of selling. This is how you build trust and win over a customer for the long-term.
Mistake #9: They Try to Do Everything Themselves
A lot of people obsess over preserving their money instead of their time. They think that by doing everything themselves, they’ll save more money.
This mindset means most entrepreneurs are not willing to invest money into time-saving tasks. Like hiring employees for small tasks in their business, so they can focus on what’s important.
And this is why they find themselves burning out, and struggling to move forward with their business. They simply invest time into what they DON’T need to do!
Remember that time is more valuable than money. You can always make more money, but you can never get back your time.
Mistake #10: They’re Afraid to Invest & Lose Money
Seeing instant returns on your money is never a realistic expectation. It’s quite optimistic to think that your first ad, or product you are selling, is going to be a home-run win for your business.
But, more often than not, people have these expectations. They think that first product is going to be a winner for them. Or their first landing page is going to convert.
But such a mindset is the reason why a lot of people don’t succeed. They want to hold on tight to minimal risk, yet have great rewards. But that very mindset is what holds people back from achieving their success. They aren’t willing to invest money!
Those who end up successful are almost always ready to invest money. Because, as mentioned before, time is a valuable (and depreciating) asset. To get your time back, part of achieving comes with the willingness to spend money on testing ads.
Once you’ve spent the money to find a winning product, you can earn all that money back because you were willing to invest money into finding a winner. But if you’re fearful of losing money, you’d never be able to find this out, and you’ll still find yourself stuck trying to move your business forward.