I started my first business about 8 years ago and it was hands down the best decision I could’ve ever made at that time. However, that doesn’t mean it was easy, and it certainly wasn’t glamorous. I struggled a lot my first few years at it. There were times I didn’t have money for bills, rent or gas for my car, but I believed in what I was doing, and that kept pushing me forward.
No matter if you’ve been in business for 10 years or 10 days, you will encounter some challenges that will make you second guess yourself. Believe me, I’ve been through. The key is to learn from those challenges and allow them to make you better. Today I want to share with you some of the mistakes I made starting out in hopes that you will avoid these pitfalls.
1. Don’t live in a shell
When I first got started in business, I stayed locked away in my home office for 12 hours a day doing my work. On one hand it was good that I was actually grinding getting work done, but on the other hand it created far worse effects of loneliness and shyness. It wasn’t until I started getting out, networking and building my personal brand (in person) that I experienced true success. You can’t stay to yourself. You must share your message to the world through video, social media and networking.
2. Don’t forget about the business side
This is where I believe most personal brands and businesses fail the most. Personal branding isn’t all about being in front of a camera, having nice photos, have a 10,000 IG followers and and being on stage. There is a business side to branding that most people neglect to address. If you are to succeed with your brand, there are business processes and systems you must have in place in order for the branding machine to work and actually make money. Things like lead captures, sales cycles, financial reporting and business operations. The rookie mistake is to ignore all the boring business-related stuff and go for the low-hanging fruit. Invest in your company, not just your persona.
3. Don’t focus all your attention on the outside
What I mean by that is: there’s more to being a brand that what is SEEN. Don’t be the 19 year old life coach. Don’t be the person who has NO EXPERIENCE in the very thing they call themselves an expert in. The harsh reality is not everyone should be a public figure. If you’re recently getting started in your field, don’t try to brand yourself.
That’s going DEEP. If a tree didn’t have roots several feet into the soil, it doesn’t matter how beautiful the branches are, it will soon fall to the ground and die. Don’t focus all your attention on the glamorous life of a public figure/personal brand. Go deep and BECOME the expert you say you are. If you already have the experience, great- keep honing your craft and becoming better.
4. Don’t be afraid of the small team
No matter how large a company may be today, it had a small start. No matter how big of a celebrity someone is, there was a time when they were considered a “nobody”. Your biggest mistake as an emerging entrepreneur and business professional is despising the days of small beginnings. If you have a team of 3, embrace it. Don’t feel the need to inflate things and make yourself or your business seem bigger or more than what it is. From my experience, the “little guys” come out on top more than you may expect.
5. Don’t think you can do it all yourself
There was a time when I thought I didn’t need anyone’s help because I was superman, when in reality I was only Clark Kent, the nerdy guy with glasses. And, it was my downfall. I had a hard time relying on people until I got tired of hitting that brick wall. I started delegating and investing. It’s important to invest in your business because when you do, you’re investing in yourself. It takes time, money, people and sacrifices to become an well-established brand. Don’t sell yourself short by not investing.
Leave a comment and let me know which of these stood out to you and which of these do you need to work on?