Entrepreneurship is a journey that requires patience and the ascension of incredibly steep inclines, in order to achieve forward progress.
If you have traveled the same path, perhaps this sounds all too familiar to you. Most people who think about becoming entrepreneurs never actually take action because of fear and their own limiting beliefs. For those who decide to the test the waters of starting a business, a significant majority of the people fail within a few years.
This may not be the glamorous and enviable life that you envisioned, but it is reality. Still considering taking the plunge?
If so, I like your style already! This world needs more independent thinkers who are willing to take risks, not more sheep! With reward, comes risk and the journey that is required to reach the reward.
Here are 7 mistakes that I made and could have easily avoided:
Seeking advice from friends and family who have never built a business themselves.
I know that this is a very, very common mistake that a lot of people make. Have you too made this move? It seems like the logical choice to seek approval from this group of people because we often go to them for most significant matters in our lives. This is one scenario in which this is a terrible idea! Would you go to a butcher to get lessons on flying a plane? Who you seek punctuation and grammar advice from a baby? Do you call your plumber and describe your symptoms when you are sick? I think you see my point with this. If someone has not been successful in the area in which you seek guidance, they are not allowed to have an opinion. Plain and simple. Accept it and move on to someone else who can speak positively from actual experience.
Failing to focus on sales more than anything else.
Brand new entrepreneurs frequently fall victim to running out of money. Believe me friends, this is not hard to do at all! You will burn through your savings (hopefully you have some) and your earnings at a rate much higher than you plan, when you are trying to get started. Do yourself a favor and pursue a few income streams from the beginning, to increase your odds of survival. This could be a few products and/or services as an example.
Hint: If your “business” generates no income, you actually just have an expensive hobby!
Failing to know exactly what I wanted.
Do you know what you want? I mean, exactly. I originally knew the general direction that I wanted to head and this led to a vague vision and even vaguer goals. What a waste of my time! Learn from my mistake and please don’t waste yours. You should know what your life will look like when you get to the place that you want to go. How will it feel? Once you have narrowly defined what you want, you will start being more intentional and precise with your actions. Aim small and miss small. This will help keep you moving in the right direction.
I thought hard work was enough to make me successful.
Although hard work is required for success, it is not enough by itself. Mindset is another HUGE piece to this puzzle. Once I believed in my vision and abilities, I was on my way. The challenge is overcoming the thinking that most of us have. I realized that my only real competition was myself and that nagging voice within. I have since replaced the nagging one with a more positive voice and this can change the game for you too! Once I was able to turn the fear into fuel, I felt unstoppable (and still feel this way to this day). I also feel worthy of the success that I will achieve! This is very important in regard to the level of success that you will rise to. Join me in embracing this level of belief.
I thought that coaching and mentoring were unnecessary for me.
I am great at seeing opportunities within other entrepreneurs, but I have found that I am not so good at an honest “self assessment.” When I finally found a few people that I felt could really help me challenge me, I started encouraging them to give me feedback. This has only made me stronger and sharper in everything that I do. Everyone who is serious about their own success needs some coaches, mentors or advisers in their corner. This will help you see in yourself, what others see in you. The additional perspective will only become a competitive advantage for you. They will also become accountability partners who can push you, to help you maximize your greatness!
I tried to be great at everything.
This is not necessary at all. Play to your current strengths and focus on going from good to great, in those areas. Surround yourself with others that have a different skill set than you. This has been one of the hardest lessons for me to learn, because I am stubborn and too prideful sometimes. I have wasted so much time with this, but the lesson has been worth its weight in gold. Do you struggle with this too? Now that I have delegated some responsibilities, I am much happier and I have more time to do what I do best. Its a wonderful thing and only requires a small leap of faith to get this rolling.[Tweet “Play to your current strengths and focus on going from good to great, in those areas.”]
I failed to set a limited number of crystal clear, daily goals.
My daily goals were once vague and overwhelming. This often left me feeling further behind than I was before I completed them. In addition to this, I had far too many of the goals on my list, in a given day. This led to me frequently failing to get them all done. I finally figured out that I wasn’t making enough progress to justify my endless exhaustion and fatigue. I have since simplified and clarified my daily goals to focus on specific content creation, products, and clearly defined personal development activities. As the weeks go by now, I can see my forward progress and I still have some sense of balance in my life. Doesn’t this sound much better? I promise that this is the way to go.
Experience is undeniably the most valuable learning tool that we have available to us. It can come at a price though, whether financially or in terms of your time. All of these shortcomings have been blessings and have taught me critical lessons along the way. I can honestly say that I am better positioned now that I was one short year ago.
What does all of this mean for you?
You have the opportunity to learn from my mistakes and save yourself money, time and frustration. The choice is yours and you are ultimately the creator of your own experience in life. You will get out of life, what you contribute to your life. It boils down to perspective and your tolerance for operating outside of your comfort zone.
Can you relate to any of these mistakes? Do you have any additional mistakes to add to the list?
If so, let us hear about it in the comments!