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Common Mistakes That All New Entrepreneurs Make

by Martin D. & Sahil M. | DYEH Podcast

Most aspiring entrepreneurs will make the same mistakes when first starting. In today’s article, we will look at the biggest mistakes new entrepreneurs make and how to avoid them so that you don’t waste your time and money.

Biggest entrepreneurship mistakes

Here’s the scenario: You want to be an entrepreneur so you can quit your job and live on your terms. You’ve read every motivational quote and watched every Gary Vee video about being the boss, so you’re ready to take the leap. You couldn’t be more excited to be an entrepreneur. I’m rooting for you because I couldn’t imagine any other life. I just want you to avoid making these common mistakes that most beginners will make when they try to get into the world of entrepreneurship.

What are the biggest mistakes that aspiring entrepreneurs make that hold them back from success?

“Being an entrepreneur is going to shake your life. You will go from the kind of person who gets a paycheck every two weeks to the kind of person who only eats what he kills. Don’t worry. It will all be OK. But it will take you naked to the jungle, and you have to come out alive.” — James Altucher.

The idea of becoming an entrepreneur has become extremely popular lately on social media with the rise of influencers who boast about how successful they are. You scroll through a few accounts, and you’re made to think that being an entrepreneur is the easiest lifestyle in the world. I get it. Entrepreneurship has numerous perks, but too many people try to get into the space for the wrong reasons. Aspiring entrepreneurs end up burning out after realizing how difficult this space can be. This article should be mandatory reading for all new entrepreneurs.

Here are the biggest mistakes you need to avoid if you’re a new entrepreneur…

Mistake #1: Becoming an entrepreneur just to put CEO in your social media profiles.

Entrepreneurship is the in thing now, and people love to brag about how they’re a CEO. You see random people putting CEO in their social media handles when they haven’t even made a dollar yet. You see your friend who hasn’t even thought of an idea calling themselves the boss. 

I understand that manifesting is in, but you must be realistic about where you stand. You’re not a CEO, and you’re not the boss until you’ve started to bring in money from this venture. There’s no sense in lying to yourself or trying to pretend to be something that you’re not yet.

Most people talk about how they want to be an entrepreneur before they even have an idea of how they’ll make money. The problem is that this is like saying you want to have surgery without even knowing what’s injured. There’s more to being an entrepreneur than just putting CEO in your social media profiles.

Before you put CEO in your social media profile, focus on figuring out which problem you’re going to solve and how your business will bring in money. 

Mistake #2: Trying to become an overnight sensation.

“I want to quit my job and work on this full-time.”

I meet many people who want to quit their jobs to become entrepreneurs. They have aspirations of going full-time with a business. I’m all for this, but these bold plans only work in the movies. I want you to test the side hustle to see if you like it. There are so many side hustles that you may not even like. You may not even enjoy the life of an entrepreneur.

This one quote from Essentialism stuck out to me:

“Instead of starting big and then flaring out with nothing to show for it other than time and energy wasted, to really get essential things done we need to start small and build momentum. Then we can use that momentum to work toward the next win, and the next one and so on until we have a significant breakthrough—and when we do, our progress will have become so frictionless and effortless that the breakthrough will seem like overnight success.” — Greg Mckeown

This means it’s okay to test ideas first to see if they even have a shot. You can’t worry about ridiculous success stories. You’re only aim can’t be to become an overnight sensation. You have to be brutally realistic with yourself. You have to accept that this will take some serious time and effort. Too many people give up after a few months or weeks because they don’t see instant results.

Mistake #3: Not focusing on bringing in money.

You have to figure out how you’re going to get paid as an entrepreneur. There’s no way around this. If your new venture can’t profit, you shouldn’t waste your time or you should accept that this is just a hobby. If you’re not making money from a venture and there’s no clear path to profit, you have a hobby instead of a business. There’s nothing wrong with having a hobby, but you have to know the difference between the two.

The only solution here is to find ways to get paid from your venture. The good news is that you could make money from coaching, sponsorships, selling products, and affiliate marketing, so there are plenty of options for turning a profit. 

[Must listen episode: Side hustle scams to watch out for]

Mistake #4: Trying to be the next Gary Vee or some motivational speaker.

It can be tempting to get into entrepreneurship just to try to recreate the formula of one of your heroes. I see many folks make this mistake. They start talking about how they’re the hardest work in the room. They share nonstop motivational quotes. They start ranting about hard work and success in an attempt to become a motivational guru.

Here are some harsh truths about trying to become the “next [insert person name]” that I have to share with you:

  • You have to create your own path.
  • It’s better to be an original than a cheap imitation.
  • People can spot a fake from a mile away.
  • You need results before you can start lecturing about hard work.

While the advice of “be yourself” is kind of lame, it does hold some truth in the sense that you have to carve out your own niche for yourself instead of trying to be another version of someone more popular than you.

Mistake #5: Not taking valid criticism.

“I’m sick of all of the haters.”

Newsflash: someone with valid criticism or constructive advice is not a hater. This person doesn’t wish ill will on you, nor are they trying to sabotage your business. They simply want to help you because they care or have been in a similar situation before. We can’t dismiss everyone who offers candid support as a hater.

You have to be open to valid criticism. You have to be able to take this criticism and then act on it because you won’t grow if you let every negative comment offend you.

Mistake #6: Taking advice from the wrong people.

“My brother told me not to bother with this idea.”

I can’t believe how often someone has been discouraged from pursuing a business venture because a relative or friend who knew absolutely zero about the topic changed their mind.

While it’s crucial that you accept valid criticism, you want to ensure that you’re getting this information from people whose opinion is worth something. It may seem harsh, but many characters out there feel like they’re an expert on a topic when they’re clueless.

My general rule of thumb here is to only listen to those with whom I would switch places. So when I speak with an entrepreneur years ahead of me, I listen to what they say. I don’t take advice from those without a clue about this topic.

Mistake #7: Thinking that entrepreneurship is an easy lifestyle.

Lifestyle entrepreneurs will sell you the dream by posing beside expensive cars and taking pictures on the beach, bragging about their extraordinary lives.

Here’s the thing: there are very few entrepreneurs who hit it big and become a smashing success. There’s a chance that your small company could be bought out by a bigger company or something major could happen within the first few years. However, most entrepreneurs have to work extremely hard and they put in more hours than they would with a regular job.

Entrepreneurship requires a lot of hard work and effort to even have a chance at making it. Don’t get into entrepreneurship if you want an easy life. Find some remote job for that. 

Mistake #8: Working on the wrong things.

It’s tough to figure out what to work on as an entrepreneur. It’s easy to fill your day with “busy work” to feel productive and brag rights about how hard you work.

“Hyperfocus” by Chris Bailey summarizes it best:

“Being busy doesn’t make us productive. It doesn’t matter how busy we are if that busyness doesn’t lead us to accomplish anything of importance. Productivity is not about cramming more into our days but about doing the right thing in each moment.”

There’s no simple way to figure out how to work on the right things as an entrepreneur. However, it’s almost a guarantee that as an aspiring entrepreneur, you will spend far too much time on activities that don’t matter, like trying to create the perfect business card or consuming far too much motivational content. 

Mistake #9: Not having a plan.

While it can be fun to wing it, and most entrepreneurs do figure things out as they go, it’s essential that you get into the habit of having some sort of plan.

What should you plan out as an entrepreneur?

  • How you’re going to make money.
  • Your growth strategy for the business.
  • How you’re going to promote this business.
  • How will you maintain balance in your life (if possible).

I’ll spare you the quote about failing to plan, but this is your reminder not to walk into this new journey blindly. 

Mistake #10: Waiting for things to be perfect to start.

“The stars will never align and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. ‘Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you.” — Timothy Ferriss

I once read that perfect is the enemy of done, and I haven’t forgotten this since. This means that you have to get into the habit of launching because planning is often procrastination in disguise.

The only way to avoid this significant mistake is to be someone who takes action. There’s no other solution. 

Those are the biggest mistakes that you need to avoid as an aspiring entrepreneur. Is there anything that you would add to the list?

Show Notes & Episode Guide

  • 00:00 — The show opens up with the guys bringing up the topic of the show, which is the biggest mistakes that new entrepreneurs make. The first making is getting into business just to boast about being a “CEO” on social media. You need to have a purpose for your business instead of just trying to convince people that you’re a CEO.
  • 1:21— Many people are getting into entrepreneurship, expecting to be an overnight sensation. Most of us need ten years to become an overnight success. 
  • 2:22 — The next mistake is not bringing in any money. While it’s fun to create content and share quotes, but you have to generate revenue with your business. You need to get paid or else you just have a hobby.
  • 3:22 — Too many people getting this space thinking that they can be the next Gary Vee, thinking that they can just share motivational quotes. 
  • 4:23 — Are you taking valid criticism? If you can’t accept feedback, then this space isn’t for you. You can’t get mad at what the market tells you.
  • 5:40 — Is your business solving a problem? If it’s not, then you’re just wasting your time. Your business has to solve problems. You can solve a problem for yourself first and then help others.
  • 7:10 — Another common mistake is that many aspiring entrepreneurs will give up too soon. Whatever you’re working on can compound and you can always pivot into something different. 
  • 8:56 — Many people will get stuck on analysis paralysis. They become self-help junkies who get stuck on consuming content without taking action.
  • 10:57 — Do you have the right systems? Many new to the space of entrepreneurship don’t have the right systems in place. 
  • 12:37 — if you want to grow this business, you have to spend some money on it. You can’t be cheap when it comes to trying to build a business. Hire help when you need it so that you can take your business ventures to the next level.  

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