9 Ways you’re sabotaging your own business

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You’re sabotaging your business.

How do I know? Because we all do it to some extent.

And while it’s not always 100% evil to leave money on the table or not grow to zillions of dollars in revenue, it’s important to check in with yourself every once in a while to make sure you’re making the most of your own business.

How are you sabotaging your business? (I’m guilty of a few of these, too) By:

Sidenote: When you're done here, learn from 150+ freelancers who've been in your shoes with our all-new 30-day bootcamp: Zero to Freelancing. You'll love it.

1. Wasting time being stubborn.

Look, I get it. Clients and customers can be hard to work with. They can be annoying. They can even make requests that you totally don’t understand.

And while standing up for what you believe in is important, make sure you draw a line and, at some point, cut your losses.

If you find yourself always arguing with a client or customer, finalize the project as quickly as possible, fire that client, and move on.

Stop wasting precious time being stubborn with them.

2. Focusing on the wrong parts of your business.

As creative folks, it’s easy to focus on the artistic side of our business without giving as much thought to the…well… business side of our business.

At the end of the day, you’re running a business. Don’t forget that.

If you want to focus on the art, hire someone to focus on the business operations. But you can’t forget billing, legal, finances, or marketing just because you’re wrapped up in the art of it all.

3. Building a job, not a business.

If you find the bigger your business gets the more stress you feel and the less time you have on your calendar, you’re not doing it right.

Sure, building a business comes with it’s fair share of stress and work. But the best business-builders know how to do two things really well:

  • Delegate
  • Scale

Delegating less-important tasks in the business will help you maintain your focus on the most important aspects of your business model. This will allow you to scale by hiring more people and building revenue streams around them.

4. Having too many eggs in one revenue basket.

The other thing smart business-builders know that you don’t is that it’s terribly risky to put all of your eggs in one revenue basket.

  • Is one major client keeping you in business?
  • Is one product making your entire business run?

What happens, then, when that client or that product stops performing? Maybe the client backs out or has budget cuts. Maybe that product becomes outdated or saturates the market.

Then you’re stuck.

5. Not taking it seriously.

Are you half in, half out on your business? This is especially common with side businesses. When you have the crutch of a full-time job, you don’t focus as much on your business as you would if it was your sole source of revenue.

If you’re going to build a business, build. If not, enjoy your hobby. But it’s not a business.

6. Learning too much.

Have you ever stopped cramming your brain with information to take a minute and ask if you’re learning too much?

Let’s do the math: if you spend 30 minutes every day listening to business podcasts, 30 minutes reading blogs, and 60 learning tutorials, you’re spending about 10 hours in an average week to learn things you may or may not ever use.

What amount of progress could you make on your business with just 10 hours each week?

Huge amounts.

7. Making excuses.

Guess what: building a business is hard.

There are very few people who start a business and, six weeks later, they’re sipping margaritas on a beach somewhere, collecting “passive income” and living the dream.

So stop claiming that everyone else has more money, more time, more brains, more expertise, or more drive than you do.

And then download my free ebook: Break Through: 5 Common excuses to starting a business and how to crush them without breaking a sweat

8. Not tracking your marketing efforts.

In a world where you can track practically everything, not tracking your marketing efforts is a real sin.

The popular saying goes like this:

Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half. (John Wanamaker)

If you’re a small business, you don’t have the luxury of throwing your arms up in the air and saying “I just don’t know which half of my money is being wasted.”

Are you kidding me?!

Start with marketing efforts you can track: email, social media, search marketing, search optimization, paid anything in digital.

What you don’t track can’t be improved. Start tracking today with Google Analytics or some other free software. There are no good excuses for not starting now.

9. Isolating yourself.

You might think you’re a solo powerhouse when it comes to building your business.

But think of all the opportunity you’re missing by not taking time to learn from others who have gone before you.

Take time to network (cringe) and meet other entrepreneurs who are on the same path you are. Some will be slightly farther along in the process and will have really great insight into where you can go next.

Our free Millo Mastermind facebook group is a great way to find and connect with other creative folks who are building small businesses. Click here to join us for free.

What did I miss?

Did you ever go through a time of self-sabotage in your business? What went wrong and how did you fix it? Did I leave anything off this list?

Share your story in the comments!

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About Preston D Lee

Preston is an entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, and the founder of this blog. You can contact him via twitter at @prestondlee.

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Comments

  1. Tim Woodruff says:

    Also should mention, don’t say things that reflect your business in a negative light. I know of a professional that shared mistakes his company made in a networking presentation. Same goes for Facebook. It’s best to not share problems if it’s not necessary. Don’t lie to your customers, but you also shouldn’t make them feel insecure by sharing every mistake you make with them.

  2. Hello Preston,
    Great article. My biggest problem is I can’t move to do another business. Picjumbo is my full-time job. I love it, I love taking photos & caring about the website, but I’m still not sure to hire virtual assistant and delegate support emails to him/her. Thanks for this article (http://millo.co/34-business-tasks-you-should-stop-doing-hire-virtual-staff-for), I’m reading it now. So the point is.. for me it’s defintely Scale & Delegate Problem. I have to learn how to do it & definitely DO IT! Thanks!

  3. Essien Emmanuel says:

    Thank you Preston D Lee and everyone who makes the post possible
    everyday. Every article is so practical and worth keeping for further
    reference. I would like to suggest you add all articles for each year
    for a book format. It will really be beneficial to have all insightful
    article handy. Once again, Great Job!

  4. Yiyuan Gao says:

    Recently I have started to write my freelance business plan in order to apply for a working VISA, while browsing some helpful information online and accidentally found millo.co. Neat and clear. Has almost all the interesting content I like. Sincerely wish you many success!

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