6 common mistakes that keep you from becoming a successful entrepreneur

Lotte, Digital Content Specialist

While startups are taking over the business world in rapid speed, all that glitter surely isn’t gold. Not only does it take a lot of effort and time to begin your own business as an entrepreneur, but it also comes with a significant risk of failure. And while small mistakes are an essential part of a young startup, there’s always a chance that your business doesn’t come off the ground in the first place. This article illustrates the biggest and most common mistakes among starting entrepreneurs, and how to fix these complex challenges in order to build a successful business.

You want to have it all, and you want to have it now

Patience is key for (starting) entrepreneurs, and going all-in the moment you launch your idea can be too overwhelming for a fragile startup. After all, a proper building is unlikely to last without a solid foundation and framework. If your mind is overflowing with genius ideas, it can be tough not to immediately implement them all at once. However, you will see that a slow but steady build-up is much more efficient than an overload of hasty decisions. Make a list of all your plans and ideas, and try to figure out which one of them you want to carry out first.

You don’t set clear goals

“In a few months, I’d like to have a significant increase in visitors on my website.” This is an example of a vague goal that isn’t going to give you any insights into the success of your startup’s strategies. While setting goals for the growth of your company, always make sure you have specific data to measure, like a specific amount of website visitors or clients you’d like to see. And don’t forget to stay realistic. Don’t expect your company to grow into the new Google in a time-span of a mere three months. Instead, try to compare your company with other, perhaps more developed startups, to create an insight into reasonable expectations and goals for your business.

Silhouette of Jeremy Raes sitting in front of a window with a view over the square in front of Rotterdam Central Station

You don’t centralize the delegation of tasks

This sounds a bit conflicting, but tends to be a problem of frequent occurrence within startups. You want to have an astonishing logo, a spotless design for your website or application, impeccable content, and everything your heart desires. You want the best of the best designer, and the crème de la crème of developers, so you hire different professionals from different firms to create your dream website. Nothing wrong with that, but it often results in a messy website with a lot of incoherence and errors between different aspects. Especially the scattering of design and development can get quite messy and uncomfortable for website/app visitors, and that’s exactly what you don’t want to happen. Luckily, there are enough companies offering a complete package of services to ensure a well-functioning end product.

You work too much

A danger lurking from every corner of setting up your own business is the loss of clear boundaries between your startup and your private life. We get it, your startup is your baby: you wake up with it and go to bed with it. And while it’s definitely important to spend a great deal of time and effort in your business, it can be very harmful to lose track of your free time. Burnouts are no joke and are a frequent occurrence among entrepreneurs. Sleep is key in avoiding stress-related issues, so make sure you get your 7-9 hours a night. And no, coffee does not equal sleep. Throw the bright screens of your laptop and phone on the side at least an hour before you dive underneath the sheets, and consider a few minutes of mindfulness to ease into the night. Apps like Headspace and Calm are great solutions for short mindfulness sessions to clear your head. Set specific times and days you’ll spend working, and make sure there’s enough time left for sleep, fun activities and endorphins/dopamine-boosting exercises.

Silhouette of Jeremy Raes sitting in front of a window with a view over the square in front of Rotterdam Central Station

Embrace failure as a friend, rather than an enemy

Failure is inevitable, and even a necessary part of creating and managing a startup. Without failure, you never learn how to deal with setbacks and come up with alternative ideas and plans when your initial strategy isn’t working. You will definitely come across failures and mistakes on the long and exciting road of entrepreneurship, and the trick is to not let bring you down. Accept these setbacks and turn your disappointment into motivation to improve your strategies and avoid making that same mistake in the future. Did you know that making mistakes and learning from the errors is an indispensable key aspect of Growth Hacking and digital marketing?

Communication is key

Probably one of the most underestimated parts of creating a startup is the communication between the company and the audience. Especially in a time where the Internet plays a central role in the success of your company, the ability to communicate with your audiences and sell your services/products is indispensable with sustainable growth. Marketing often gets put on a lower level of priority than, for example, the layout of your website or the logo of your company, while it’s an important part of gathering the essential first base of visitors for your website. The effort and knowledge that gets put into (digital) marketing are often underestimated and seen as something an entrepreneur can do on its own. Guess what? Big chance they can’t. There are specialized and professional marketing bureaus for a reason, so make use of them. They make sure your startup gets the attention it needs, while you can focus on your own priorities.