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Today on the blog, I’m sharing a LONG LIST of business mistakes to avoid, in the hopes of helping my biz besties, clients and aspiring business owners who follow me!
Business Mistakes to Avoid
When it comes to writing business and career coaching content, I’ve been slacking.
It feels like there is SO MUCH of this information out there, and I often worry about telling folks things that are obvious or “everyone knows.”
Buuuut then, I remember what I always tell clients:
Your topic or content is not going to be unique, but your experience is unique. Share your experience, and you’ll be astounded by the results that show up.
In this blog post, I’ve focused on sharing mistakes I’ve made – as well as mistakes that I’ve seen my coaching and consulting clients make over the years. These mistakes are things I’ve seen show up for 10+ clients, so I’ve protected everyone’s privacy and info.
Disclaimer: The information shared below is based on my own experience, and should not be taken as consulting, financial or legal advice. My goal in sharing this content is to help you know what questions to ask and what to look out for! [Looking for a business coach or advisor? Contact me here!]
Let’s get started!
#1 Business Mistakes to Avoid: Being Afraid to Ask “Stupid” Questions
Fun fact: You do not know everything.
I know, I know, this must be BREAKING NEWS (lol).
When starting a business, there is going to be a LOT you do not know. You are going to have a LOT of questions, and if you have been bullied in the past for having “too many questions” then it can be hard to ask questions.
But here’s the thing. Asking questions, and then follow up questions is super super key to being able to massively scale your business. And, while you can and should ask questions to Google – asking questions to people with experience and tips is even more key.
As a business owner, you should never be the smartest person in the room. Get comfortable asking “stupid” questions, because they will help you prevent making “stupid” mistakes!
#2 Business Mistakes to Avoid: Using Sliding Scale Pricing
Okay, so as someone who really values diversity and inclusion – it pains me to say this.
Sliding scale pricing often doesn’t work.
Specifically, it hasn’t really worked in my business.
In my business, I find that no matter how I frame sliding scale pricing – the folks who ask for it do NOT NEED IT. For my businesses, I’ve found that sliding scale pricing is almost always underutilized by some groups – and over-utilized by more privileged groups.
There’s a whole discussion to be had here, but the TLDR Is I would recommend offering scholarships and payment plans, not sliding scale pricing.
#3 Business Mistakes to Avoid: Failing to Create a Business Checking Account
Okay, this business mistake to avoid is more nuts and bolts – but this is so key. When starting a business, you need to implement systems that can scale.
Having a separate business account is key! This is where business earnings go in and expenses go out!
Mixing your personal earnings with business earnings is a recipe for disaster! It can make tax season much more complicated, and it can expose some business owners to more risk.
#4 Business Mistakes to Avoid: Equating Social Media Followers to Money
WHEW. This one!
I have taught various classes on how to grow a social media following, but the *key thing* to remember is that followers on social media does not mean money.
People follow accounts for pretty pictures, inspiration, etc. I know business owners and creators with 100,000+ followers on social media, who make less than $1,000 a month from their social media platforms.
It is much much better to build up a community of engaged followers and customers than to chase “Vanity Metrics” like follower count.
#5 Business Mistakes to Avoid: Failing to Reserve Business Name on *ALL* Social Media Platforms
Another nuts and bolts tip on business mistakes to avoid, make sure to reserve your business name on all social media platforms – even if you don’t plan on using them.
I’ve heard a number of horror stories about folks having to *buy* the username for a social media platform, because they neglected to buy it when they started.
#6 Business Mistakes to Avoid: Looking for Mentors – Instead of Hiring Coaches
(Okay, so before I share this business mistake to AVOID – I want to be clear: I am not saying that you have to hire *me* as your coach.)
A lot of folks have this idea that they will find a MAGICAL MENTOR to help them grow and scale their business.
And, while I have mentors (love y’all!) and mentees (love yall, too!) it’s IMPERATIVE TO NOTE that no one is coming to save you – and if you want to make big strides in your business – then getting coaching is key.
This can start with 30 minutes of professional development a day via Audible, then move to group courses and coaching and thennnn 1:1 coaching.
Or, if you’ve found a coach who has a TON of experience in your niche ++ solid recs, skipping to 1:1 business coaching can lead to incredible results.
A lot of folk don’t talk about having business coaches, for about 1400 different reasons. Whatever! I’m here to tell you that folk have coaches, and you need them to!
Here are some helpful posts on this:
#7 Business Mistakes to Avoid: DIY’ing Your Business & Personal Taxes
If we hang out on Facebook or Twitter, then you’ve seen me tweet a LOT about this!
In my opinion, millions of people leave money on the table – because they use DIY tax software (ew). People often do this because they think that “tax planners and CPAs are for rich people” and they’re!
I wish I had had worked with an accountant when I made $40,000 a year! I would’ve saved so much money (cry)!
#8 Business Mistakes to Avoid: Waiting to Have a “Beautiful Brand” to Start
Honey, I have made good money off of some ugly as heck websites. You do not need to go and drop $5K or $10K (or more) to get your business started.
In fact, it’s probably a good idea to hack one together first – so you can see what folks actually buy! As a coach, I have heard a good number of stories about people investing a lot of money into brand development – only to realize that their customers want something that’s 20-30% different.
Now, if you’re confused by technology, you can hire someone to put a Squarespace together for you! Make sure to go for utility, not the wow factor at this juncture. Eventually, you’ll drop mega bucks on branding!
#9 Business Mistakes to Avoid: Getting in Other People’s Wallets
A lot of folks (especially in the LGBTQ+ community) worry about being “accessible” or “affordable.”
And, in coaching sessions when I push back on that – the argument falls apart.
Many people decide on what’s “affordable” based on what they or their friends/family can afford.
But, hot tip, you actually do not know how much money people have – or where they want to allocate it!
I have had clients tell me a $5,000 service is too expensive and then go book a 3 week luxury Mediterranean cruise! I have had other clients use payment plans for a $500 service!
Get out of people’s wallets! Price according to the value you bring!
#10 Business Mistakes to Avoid: Failing to Create a Business Entity
This business mistake is up there with accounting. If you have tried to google what business entity to get, you’ve probably been SUPER confused.
And that’s by design.
In my opinion, the process to create a business entity is intentionally confusing – to prevent class mobility.
So, on this one, you’re going to want to consult with a CPA and/or lawyer – and also check to see if your city, state or county has a Small Business Association or program with the chamber of commerce to help you get going!
#11 Business Mistakes to Avoid: Putting Off Email Marketing
Related to the business tip about social media above, so many folks don’t boot up an email list until theyre 1-2 years into their business.
Think back to your social media usage over the last 10 years. I bet it’s changed a LOT, right?
Now think about your personal email? Has that changed? Has it changed as frequently a your use of a social media platform?
Didn’t think so!
Email subscribers are much more valuable than social media followers! Even if you don’t have the bandwidth for email marketing, please PLEASE PLEEEEEASE sign up with ConvertKit to start *collecting* emails.
#12 Business Mistakes to Avoid: Viewing Community As Competition
WHEW! This business mistake to avoid could be a whole blog post or book.
When you’re growing your business, you will naturally start networking with people who do something similar.
When this happens, it’s easy to feel like “everyone is doing this” and enter into a mindset of scarcity and lack.
Don’t give in!!!
#13 Business Mistakes to Avoid: Taking Advice from Non-Business Owners
When you own a business, everyone in your life is going to have advice and tips!
This is well-intentioned, because they want you to succeed.
Here’s the thing, tho. It is a BIG business mistake to listen to advice from folks who aren’t where you want to be.
It is a big GIANT ginorous business mistake to listen to advice from friends, family and randos on Facebook that have no experience running a business, experience in your niche or other related *experience*.
Smile, thank people for their free (and well meaning) advice and carry on your way!
#14: More Business Advice via This Download!
Finally, my last piece of business advice is to “gatekeep” some content, making it so folks have to join your email list to get access to it!
When you’re first starting out, this isn’t as applicable. But, over time you’ll create a LOT of content, and reach a point where you offer a “freebie” to build your email list.
Remember, email lists are money!
So, I’ll show you by doing! If you’d like a download with 15 more business mistakes to avoid, click here!