I’ve been an entrepreneur all my life. At a young age I was already wheelin’ and dealin’ when I was out of Elementary school selling comics and candy. By middle school I would get paid to beat video games for people. In High School I dabbled in IT and web design.
Today, that entrepreneurial flame is still burning.
I can bet you share some of the same trials and tribulations as I have with business. We fall. We pick ourselves up. We learn from our mistakes. We strive to do better. We push and push but
I want to share the five biggest hurdles I’ve experienced during all those years starting, failing, and starting businesses in hopes that it may help you avoid some pitfalls along your journey.
1. The Mindset of “Not Good Enough”
The problem: I always wanted to “one up” everyone else and by developing this mindset I got into a habit of never delivering. I would size my work to others rather than the value it could bring to my community. It was so bad that it took me two years to finally create a product but by then most of the community had already moved on.
The solution: Start early and start fast. Don’t compare yourself to others because there’s no real basis for comparison. What you need to do is keep your nose to the grinding stone and work your butt off creating a product or service from the get-go otherwise you’ll just keep delaying it month after month.
2. Destroying My Finances (Stupidly, I May Add)
The problem: I was dumb and naive with my finances because I was young and inexperienced. This lead to me barely keeping any money in savings and quickly racking up credit card bills. By doing so it prevented me from making the right investments during the early stages of my business projects which, in turn, stalled my ability to grow.
The solution: Make financial education a major part of your business experience. Know how to create and stick to budget. Understand the risks of credit cards and the techniques and services available to perform a credit clean up if need be. Pay yourself first but don’t blow it on stupid stuff. Act like a professional with your money.
3. Letting the Ego Take Hold
The problem: Something that went right in line with the whole “not good enough” was once I did get things to the market my ego inflated ten-fold. Suddenly I felt I was too good to mingle with the same people I had started with. I felt invincible but secretly I was slowly decaying my business because I was too egotistical about my work.
The solution: Be humble. Every person got to where they are today with at least some help from others. In fact, it’s a good thing that you seek help from others because they may be the professionals and experts that could keep you on track or give you the much needed advice to succeed.
4. A Sense of Cabin Fever
The problem: I jumped ship from my 9-to-5 job the moment I was making enough money through my online and freelance work. The first year was magical but each one after had this slow, creeping feeling of cabin fever because I could never turn off my “work mode”. It lead to me neglecting friends, family, and my significant other. It also affected my physical and mental health (for a while). I was becoming a shut-in with a serious case of cabin fever.
The solution: Keep an active lifestyle. This means a social one, too. You will find temptation to work on your business at all hours of the day because you know the more you put in the more you get out. But neglecting the relationships with others (and yourself) will leave you a very lonely person once you reach the top.
5. Not Learning when to Let Go
The problem: I couldn’t just let go of any ideas. They would pile up and up with each passing day on my notebook. I would start a few projects then feel guilty I wasn’t completing them all-the-while starting the next set. Before long I had dozens of half-finished projects that were going nowhere and simply eating my precious time.
The solution: Get used to trimming the fat. It’s okay if a project doesn’t pan out like how you imagined. It’s okay if you no longer have an interest in an idea. It’s good to diversify your work and income but try not to get to a point where you’re neglecting the main money makers. Focus on your main project and make it the best it can be. Then start branching out once you have the income to invest and the knowledge to support your ideas.
I have to say these were the worst of the worst when it came to throwing a wrench in my plans. You too may experience one or two of these, no doubt. Hopefully what I’ve shared can help you avoid or at least help you to fail and fail quickly so you can get back in the saddle and start again stronger than ever.