The 10 Mistakes New Entrepreneurs Are Making
Last Month I hosted a Facebook Live broadcast in my private Facebook group on the 10 mistakes new entrepreneurs are making. It received very positive feedback so I've decided to turn it into a Facebook post and podcast. Most of the mistakes listed I've done personally so I'm teaching from experience. I'm also a fan of supporting other small businesses so some of these mistakes I've noticed in others around me. I curated this list to help you mediate the inefficiencies in your own business or to provide insight on things to be aware of before you launch. Make sure you check out the corresponding podcast episode on Soundcloud or iTunes!
Now, let's jump right in!
Not Setting Terms and Agreements Up Front
As a service provider, I can say first hand that its imperative to be crystal clear on the terms and agreements of the services you are providing. Clear up any confusion on expected deliverables, timelines and pricing up front. Especially when you are first starting out, there are people who will assume your services are pro-bono or discounted. Ensure that both parties understand and then move on to documenting those terms.
Not Closing Deals, Agreements and Collaborations in Writing
Continuing on from the previous mistake, the next is not getting your deals, agreements and collaborations in writing. You're never too small or too big to protect yourself legally. Whether you're bartering, collaborating or simply providing a service, get everything in writing. This is your checkpoint to ensure all parties understand and agree to the terms and conditions. At minimum your contract should cover what the deliverables are, due dates, terms of payments, late fees and consequences for breach of contract. Docracy is a free tool that you can use to create contracts and get electronic signatures.
Not Providing Invoices to Your Clients
See the podcast episode to hear my rant on why is this a pet peeve of mine. Simply put, make it easy for people to pay you. Do not ask someone to just "send you money". If you don't have a payment processor within your website, send invoices via PayPal or Square.
Not Leveraging Email
If social media were to go away today, would you still be in business? Would customers know how to find you? If you aren't sure of that answer, I highly encourage you begin building your email list. You need another tool outside of social media to keep track of who is interested in your business. Email marketing is another way to build trust, showcase your expertise, and of course, sell.
Teaching What You Don't Know
Teach what you're an expert in! And continue to grow your expertise by reading and studying. You'll never run out of things to say if know what you're talking about. Avoid being labeled a fraud and stick to your expertise. Of course over time, your skill set and knowledge base will expand and so will your services. But don't rush the process of offering a suite of services that you aren't truly prepared to provide. Don't attempt to be one of the "cool kids" by offering what everyone else is selling and fall victim to copy cat syndrome.
Not Capitalizing on Your Momentum
I highly recommend planning at least one quarter in advance. In my Bombshell Business Plan Template, I intentionally created sections for quarterly action planning. By planning in advance, you avoid having to create new ideas in the spur of the moment. Many of us are simply planning for one large launch. But what happens if that launch is successful? How will you maintain the attention of your audience? Your product sold out, your event was fantastic or your blog post went viral. Awesome! But now what? By planning in advance, you already know what's coming next and can preview it to your audience to keep them engaged. Don't go ghost for a few weeks and expect that audience to wait patiently for your return. Consistency is king. In the Bombshell Launch Your Brand Toolkit, I provide templates to help you prep for various launches and a tool to keep track of your exposure as well.
Not Asking for Testimonials and Referrals
Testimonials are going to help you quickly build credibility. Ask customers directly for testimonials, ideally public testimonials. My favorite tool for this is LinkedIn. Its pretty difficult to create a fake LinkedIn recommendation so I prefer this tool. Another option is of course other social media platforms or video. Additionally, ask your customers to refer a friend to your site. When I first launched, referrals were my largest source of revenue!
Not Investing in Your Growth
Free will only get you so far. As your business grows, invest in tools that will help you to scale your business. In the Bombshell Launch Your Brand Toolkit, I provide two pages of low cost resources that will help you to advance your brand. Additionally, don't forget to invest in your own personal growth. Continuous education should consistently remain a priority.
Doing Business in the DM's
Again, see the podcast to hear my rant on this topic. Doing business via Facebook and Twitter messenger can put a huge dent in the credibility of your brand. These are great tools for introductions or quick questions, but if you're pitching a collaboration or partnership, its best to connect over email, or even better, over the phone. Practically everyone has a contact form or email address on the their website. If they don't, ask them for their information.
Not Showcasing Your Brand Enough
Last but not least, showcasing your brand is imperative. First, get comfortable with self promotion. If you aren't going to promote your business, who will? Secondly, don't estimate the power of branded apparel. Even if you don't want to sell branded items as a source of revenue, get a few items with your logo printed on it for your own use. Coffee mugs, t-shirts, totebages, etc. are great opportunities for you to tell your people about your business on the go. I provided attendees of the Hustle HER Way Summit with #HERmovement branded bags so that the brand could go with them and reach audiences that I haven't connected with yet. I've also worn a shirt with my logo on it to conferences as conversation starters. Or consider the shirt I'm wearing in the blog image above. I've had countless people ask me where I've gotten it from and I've had the opportunity to share The Entrepreneur Store with them. Branded apparel has power and reach! You can use sites such as Vistaprint or Spreadshirt to create your own items. Discount Mugs is a great site if you're looking to buy in bulk.
Tell me in the comments, what else would you add to the list?
P.S. You can get your own entrepreneur shirt as mentioned in the podcast and pictured above here. Use the code hermovement to receive free shipping!
In essence, I help millennials fearlessly build a brand and career that they can bank on.
I want to take a moment to tell you about myself. My professional expertise is in the realm of career management and human resources. I spent some time as recruiter and facilitator in financial services and currently work for a top 50 business school in career management. Additionally, I’ve served as a freelance career consultant and personal brand strategist for five years. I’ve facilitated a number of workshops for professional organizations on a host of topics spanning from career strategy to effective networking