I’ve been working for myself and running my own business for well over a decade now and I’ve made mistakes. A lot of them. But I also learnt a lot along the way. Don’t ever think it’s all sunshine and rainbows, it’s a lot of hard work, passion and dedication to make it work for you. In this article we share 10 Common Mistakes Every Business Owner Should Avoid.
I always wanted to work for myself, run my own business and have the freedom to do my own thing. The thing that motivates me more than anything else is freedom.
I have always been a team player and also managed teams in past jobs i have done, but nothing compares to having the freedom and achievement of being your own boss and doing things you are passionate about.
When starting your own business you need to be in it for the things you are doing, you need to enjoy it, and have a passion for it!
In this article i want to highlight 10 common mistakes every business owner should avoid.
Doing it for the Money
Yes, we all have bills. But money shouldn’t be the only focus and driving factor to starting a business. If money is the only focus, then you’ll hurt yourself and others in the process.
Have a passion for the things you want to create a business around, money should not be the only thing that makes you want to work, you should wake up each day wanting to work on your business because it’s your passion and the thing that drives you.
Lack of Savings
When you’re starting out, it’s important that you prepare yourself before you jump into the business world. Have at-least a year of savings ready before you start. Consider equipment failure or upgrades, software subscriptions, personal expenses, taxes and more.
It’s true that you can start a business with next to nothing, but it does not hurt to have a plan when it comes to finances, and backup savings will help you along the way.
Accepting Every Project
In the early days of starting a business, it’s highly tempting to work on every project that comes your way. But the foundation for becoming a successful business owner is in being very specific about working only with your ideal clients and on projects that you want to work on.
Don’t get stuck working with people who treat you like a commodity, and working on projects that don’t excite or motivate you.
I find that i now decline more projects than i accept, but i earn more and i am more happy with my work. It’s not about how many projects you get, no its about the projects you do.
Lack of System
You don’t necessarily need to shell out for small business accounting software; you just need to have a good solid system in place.
Organize your invoices and bills. Keep track of your expenses. Follow the system with your clients too. Don’t over-deliver.
It’s all about being organised and making your process as simple and efficient as it can be.
Lack of Confidence
Trust me when I say this– You need to be confident. That gets half of the work done. I’ve landed some big projects just because I confidently stuck to my rates and even negotiated higher as the scope of the project increased.
But also, be careful! that you don’t become too over confident. Believe in yourself and your abilities, know your bottom-line, and work to increase it over time. Say “NO” to low paying clients regardless of their industry.
They are contacting you for a reason, they want good work, and you are the one who provides value, they can make the investment and pay for it! You get what you pay for!
Failing to Plan
Planning is the key to preparing for what could happen in the future. It helps you to be ready for the uninvited hiccups. As Benjamin Franklin said: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
When starting The Logo Creative i spent about two years planning it out and I’m sure glad i did!
By having a solid plan in place it made it easier to execute my ideas and follow through with them. This plan also proved that i could do it, and the route i would take to achieve it as i had already mapped out the actions i was going to take, and the goals i was going to achieve.
If you’re truly passionate about something, have a plan, don’t go blind, understand what you’re going to have to do to succeed, but also know what dips you could face along the way so you’re ready to go over them!
Setting Unrealistic Goals
Unrealistic goals can cause major havoc on our creativity. Set Goals in Small Chunks. “Big ambitions, tiny steps” sometimes the smallest of steps in the right direction end up being the biggest steps you will take in your life. Tip toe if you must, but take that step. GO FOR IT!
If you’re starting out, don’t aim to earn $100k+ in the first year. Aim to earn better than what you earn today and when you meet that, level up your goal.
The main thing is – If you’re passionate about something and focused on doing it consistently, money will come, but you have to be willing and happy to do it consistently without a penny.
Not Communicating Enough With Your Clients
Repeat, paraphrase, and reconfirm to make sure you understand each other. Establish communication lines early on by clarifying who the project point person is. Be clear and be accessible.
Keep a clear line of communication open with your client. Be open and transparent and keep them informed. Most clients are happy with a brief progress update as they want to be involved, so keep them in the loop.
Communication is key to a good relationship, people buy from people they trust! Create that trust and put it in front of your clients.
TIP* If you can win a four-figure project without even speaking to the client, then that’s power right there!
True story! I’m not saying I don’t speak to my clients as i do. But on quite a few occasions I have managed to do this and sealed the deal before I have even spoken to them.
It’s a good feeling knowing you can do this. I will more than likely have a conversation with them before the project officially starts, sometimes there are times when its not possible, but a line of communication is always available between me and the client.
It’s important to remember that it’s a two way process and you need to work together for you to be able to provide the best solution for the client’s business.
Treating Business as a Mere Hobby
This is a common but costly mistake. You may love what you do, but it’s business, not a hobby!
Treat your business as a business. You’re not doing it for fun even though you enjoy it. Learn the business aspects. Act like a Business person. Be Professional. If needed, dress up and get to work, even if you are working from home, be the professional your clients deserve.
Set yourself work days and working hours, and be in work mode during those times.
Dress for the occasion and put on your work uniform, don’t you have one? get some polo shirts with your logo on and wear them while working, then change when you have finished working.
You can still love what you do and have fun while running a business, but get disciplined, set rules and boundaries, it’s how you move forward in your business.
Not using Contracts and Deposits
I Can’t stress about this Enough. USE A CONTRACT. TAKE A DEPOSIT. ALWAYS!
Don’t do business with people who aren’t ready to follow that. Just don’t. Might seem like an extreme step but it’ll save you a LOT OF TROUBLE.
If you don’t like contracts, I must admit I don’t like the word, but respect what it is. Instead i call mine a “project agreement” and it sounds more friendly. I also created a goal orientated list with the client that they agreed on before the project commences.
The client will feel more at ease and reassured. Just make sure you cover yourself for those not so smooth times, we have all had them and will get them again! Be ready!
Don’t be too hard on yourself. You’ll fail. A lot. That’s how you learn. That’s how you grow. Believe in yourself and your work. Things take time. Be willing, Be patient. Be disciplined. Have fun and grow your business!
It will all make sense, in time!
As I always say – “Stay curious & enthusiastic, and good things will happen!”
Know that you’re going to have to work extremely hard. There’s no shortcut. GO FOR IT! 💥
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Also published on Medium.