Updated: Oct 5
Even though I had nearly two decades of business and sales experience when I launched my coaching practice, it still didn’t keep me from making some pretty rookie mistakes in my first couple of years as a business owner.
While it can be frustrating in the moment, looking back I’m in full gratitude for the learning curve. Why? Because it helps me help you, of course!
Look, I remember the early days and how slow and tedious everything felt. I also know that there are some common mistakes that most first time business owners make when they’re just starting out and doing it all on their own. I’m glad to be on the other side and helping my clients avoid or easily remedy these situations.
Here are the 5 most common mistakes I see new business owners make (and a quick fix for each):
Mistake #1: Having a mission but no plan.
I see you there all passionate and excited to help people in that special way that only you know how. You’ve (formally or informally) launched your business and maybe even landed a client or two – yes!
But now what? You don’t have a business plan so you’re going with the flow, letting the vision lead you. With no concrete plan in place, it’s hard to know what to do next. Where do you focus? How will you scale? Where is the next client going to come from?
Don’t skip this very important step! Whether you’re pre-launch or you’re mid-year, take the time to write out a simple business plan for your business. Be careful to think through both the nuts and bolts of how your business will operate, as well as the financials. In other words: what are you offering, how much money do you plan to make, and what are your expenses?
This doesn’t have to be complicated. Many of my clients are able to map out their business plan on just a couple of pages.
Mistake #2: Not being consistent.
Many new business owners are so busy trying new things and putting themselves out there in different ways that nothing gets done with enough consistency to really build momentum.
Want consistent sales? You need to be consistently booking sales calls. Want consistent engagement online? You need to be posting daily. Want to do more of what you love instead of catering to your inbox or admin duties? You need systems that can automate quickly and consistently. You catch my drift here? (Click here to read my advice on the very first system you should put in place.)
Consistency should be your BFF in basically every aspect of your business. If this is a struggle for you (I know it was for me!), try prioritizing the top three revenue generating activities you could be doing in order of how profitable they are for your business.
Let’s say that for you, it’s 1) having consultation (aka sales) calls, 2) generating leads on FB or Instagram, and 3) networking events. Each day, block off at least 1 hour to work on each of these things. Whether it’s nurturing leads via email, searching for and scheduling networking events, or batch content creating for your social pages, get it on your calendar and do it every day.
Mistake #3: Being afraid of being salesy.
Ok, so as a former sales professional, this is my favorite topic to teach on because I consistently see my clients make huge leaps in this area with just a few minor tweaks!
What I can tell you with near certainty – without even talking to you – is that what you consider being salesy isn’t even close to being the sleazy used-car salesman that you think you sound like. Trust me.
It’s such a shame because this usually keeps people from putting themselves out there and getting in front of their ideal clients. Even if you’ve got the marketing mastered, you’re still not going to make money if you’re too shy or afraid to invite a client to work with you.
Come up with an invitation and a closing line that you are comfortable using and use it! For example, your invitation might be, “I help people with [insert problem you solve]. Would you like to set up a call to talk about this more in depth?”
Then your close might be a simple, “Would you like to move forward with my X package? It’ll help you with the [list 2-3 problems they just mentioned].”
Remember, it's ok if people say no. It's not a reflection on you - it's a numbers game. Until you get good at sales, way more people will say no than yes. Your only job is to keep going until you get that yes!
Mistake #4: Trying to do it all on your own.
Another common mistake I see new or first time business owners make is trying to do it all by themselves. Without a support system and community to rely on, you’re honestly making it harder on yourself.
Here’s why: A solid support system will help you when you need inspiration, a perspective shift, advice, or a swift kick in the butt. Entrepreneurship can be lonely, especially when you work from home or you’re busting your tail after a full day at your day job. I can’t tell you how valuable it’s been for me to have other coaches to commiserate with, an accountability partner to help me keep projects moving forward, and my own business coach to guide me and help me find the shortcuts.
I also know that not every new business owner is able to invest in private coaching – I get it, I’ve been there! Do what you can with freebies, online courses, and group programs until you’re able to invest more. It’s worth it, I promise.
Mistake #5: Waiting to get started!
I can’t tell you how often I see this one and I’m here to tell you: Your divine clients are out there just waiting and praying for you to show up and help them. You owe it to them to get started already! I promise, they’ll be so grateful for your help that they won’t even notice that your business cards/website/insert-whatever-thing-you’re-trying-to-perfect-before-you-put-yourself-out-there isn’t exactly the way you want it.
Now is the time to be of service. Like Nike says, just do it.
Do any of these sound familiar? Which, if any, are holding you back? Email me or comment below to let me know. I want to hear and am happy to nudge you back on track.
Be sure to join me in my Facebook group, Streamlined Success – a private space for service-based entrepreneurs who want more tips and tricks to save them time, plus a RAD community of fellow business owners on a mission to serve others!