You recently started a business and had big dreams of quitting your 9-5 job, making six figures in your first year, and getting to set your own schedule so you can spend more time with your kids.
Ahh, we have all been there! The glorious honeymoon phase of running a business.
You are coasting along, having fun building your website, pinning your blog posts, and dreaming of a better life when all of a sudden reality hits (cue record screeching sound), and you realize running a business is freaking hard!
It’s a tough realization, but if you can avoid making the following mistakes when starting a business you will come out on the other side a winner and officially be able to call yourself an entrepreneur!
5 Mistakes Business Owners Make When Starting An Online Business
You can’t get past the planning phase
This is a BIG ONE, and if you are a creative type then this is the one area that will probably challenge you the most.
If you are like most entrepreneurs you have no shortage of ideas you could execute on. You may come up with an idea and sit around daydreaming all of the fun ways you can bring that idea to fruition.
You picture yourself designing a website, creating fabulous offers, decorating your office and bringing in a big fat paycheck. Of course, you are doing all of these tasks while your perfectly behaved little angels sit next to you quietly, only bothering you long enough to get a quick hug and kiss.
You exhaustively research your idea to learn everything there is to know about your business niche. You read countless books, watch webinars, and complete courses.
You know everything there is to know about your subject (and if not you can point your client to the info). The problem is when it comes time to actually doing the work, you can’t.
Fear begins to take over. You fear you will fail, not be able to sell your offer, and that this awesome idea will all be a big waste of time.
Does this sound like you?
Getting down to the actual work on your business requires putting yourself out there for people to judge and that can be terrifying. Fear of failure will often keep you in the idea phase.
Solution: During the planning phase of creating your business don’t get bogged down by too many details. Use your excitement as a springboard to launch your business.
You may think you need to spend hours perfecting your website or researching the current marketing trends. While those things are good, and will ultimately help grow your business, they can bog you down when you are first getting started.
You may find spending too much time conducting research, or tinkering with your website will burn you out before you even get started. The best advice I have ever heard was to just start.
It doesn’t have to be perfect because you can go back and fix things later! Jumping in with both feet will not give you enough time to let the fear sink in and will give you momentum to keep going.
Not focusing on your why
We all have a reason why we are starting a business. Most of the time it has to do with making extra income to support our family. That is a given, but your “why” should go beyond bringing in a paycheck and provide you with the motivation that will keep you going when you are starting out and the paycheck hasn’t come in yet!
Maybe your reason is to have an outlet for your creative passion, help others achieve their dreams, or use skills you developed in your field of work before you became a mom.
When you focus on your main “why” it will drive all of your other tasks toward that goal. Without a clear goal, you will have nothing to work toward, and ultimately not succeed because you are spinning your wheels.
Solution: Spend some time meditating on the non-monetary reasons you want to be an entrepreneur. Make a list and post that list near your desk. Refer to this list often and use it to drive your business tasks.
Every time you get a new idea or opportunity for your business ask yourself “is this in line with why I have started this business?” “Is this going to help me achieve my ultimate goal”?
It is amazing how much more productive you will be when your daily, weekly, monthly and ultimately yearly business goals are in line with your reason for wanting to become an entrepreneur.
You are unrealistic about the amount of time you actually have to put into a business
Running a business often takes more time than we realize. There is planning, paperwork, marketing, content creation, product distribution, etc. The list goes on and on!
We often tell ourselves that we will dedicate several hours a week to working, even if it means working on the weekends or waking up before the kids to sneak in a few hours of work. We have every good intention but then a funny thing called life butts in and hijacks our work time.
We get busy running our household, taking care of the kids, baking cookies for the PTA, and running errands for our partners. By the end of the day, we are too worn out to do anything but plop on the couch with the remote in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. All of our good intentions fall by the wayside.
Solution: Schedule your work time and learn to say no! Sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately, when building a business, we often struggle with taking our work time seriously. We think we can do it all and that mindset has to change.
Start by deciding how many hours you want to work in a given week and then look at your family’s schedule and write your work hours into that schedule. Treat this time with as much importance as you do doctor’s appointments, your kid’s sports practice, or your partner’s company events.
You may have to learn to say no to volunteering with the PTA or weekly lunches with friends. It may even mean delegating some tasks!
Can the kids help with chores, or can you hire a cleaning person? Can you run all of your errands on one day so you can free up extra time in your week to work?
Can your partner put the kids to bed one night so you can devote some extra time to your business? The most important step is to schedule those hours and not let other things interfere with that time.
You try to grow your business too fast
It’s exciting to start a business and often times we want to do everything right out of the starting gate. We create this awesome product, build a website, start a blog, and promote our business on every social media platform, and before we know it we are burnt out. Slow and steady wins the race and it is best to focus on growing slowly and consistently.
Solution: Map out a plan for the next year. Write out your goals for the year and the tasks you need to complete in order to achieve those goals.
Break each of those tasks down into monthly and weekly blocks. For example, if one of your goals this year is to grow your email list to 10,000 subscribers your tasks to achieve this goal may include creating a lead magnet as an opt-in, hosting a free webinar, or being a joint venture partner on an offer bundle.
With this example in mind, you can decide which task to complete first and work on that until it is complete. Not everything has to be done at once and it is best to focus on one area at a time and move on once you have a handle on what you are doing.
You don’t believe in yourself
As an entrepreneur, you will be tempted to compare yourself to your competitors in your niche. While it is good to keep an eye on what they are doing, you are on your own journey.
You may have only started your business a month ago and you will set yourself up for failure if you compare where you are currently to someone who has been growing their business for the past three years!
Being an entrepreneur also requires a thick skin. There will always be someone ready to knock you down, tell you your idea will never work, leave negative comments on your social media posts, and make you feel like you won’t succeed. We often let fear of what others will say or think of us paralyze us and never give ourselves the chance to succeed.
Solution: Be your own biggest cheerleader because if you don’t believe in yourself then nobody will. When others say “You can’t”, you say “I will”!
Refer to your business “why” and goals frequently. Remind yourself of all of the reasons you started a business in the first place! Most importantly take the time to celebrate your wins no matter how big or small.
Taking a moment to enjoy the fruits of your labor will give you a boost of confidence during those times of self-doubt.
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