First, a confession: I made all of these 12 mistakes as a beginner entrepreneur. It took some time, lots of frustration, and a powerful mentor to help me realize that I was doing all the right things in the wrong order. So today, let me be your free mentor. Allow me to share 12 time-wasting mistakes with you too — listed in order of what I see most often among my women overachievers — and spare yourself. You, unlike me, can save yourself months, perhaps even years, of valuable time and money that I did not.
- Creating a Website Before Knowing Your Niche Offer: Entrepreneurs starting out get excited about an idea and think, "Oh! I should get a website!” But they don't always have a niche offer — that signature program or product that brings in customers and sets you apart from the competition. If you don’t know what your signature offer is, what are you possibly going to write on your website? No amount of pretty pixels or fonts will bring you recognition or profit. People have this backwards about 90 percent of the time.
- Creating a Niche Offer Before Defining Your Clientele: Before selling a program or product, you need to be very clear first about who you're selling to, what their challenges are, what they’re willing to do or not do to overcome those challenges, and what they're willing to pay for. The client must come first.
- Networking Before Defining Your Clientele: I used to have clients who go to networking events just because they were told to or they think they should. But if your ideal client is an overachieving businesswoman and you go to a largely male fitness event, it's a huge waste of time. Don't be so robotic about networking. Ask yourself, “Will a big pod of ideal clients be there?” before you go networking.
- Hosting a Webinar Before Having a Roadmap: You know how people sell the "Five Secrets to…" whatever on a webinar? Well, you need a roadmap first, and get clear on what five secrets you want to reveal and share. That way, the webinar can talk about the steps in the roadmap, one secret per webinar, or all five secrets skimmed on one webinar. I’ve seen people host lively webinars with gorgeous slides, but without a roadmap, they end up talking about random topics — interesting but random topics that don’t lead to enrolling clients into their products or programs.
- Trademarking Your E-Program Before Running It: Clients come up with a product and rush to trademark it. Trademarking is a lot of work. You might be able to do it yourself if you’re willing to sit through pages and pages of fine print. What shocks me is when people trademark before they've ever even run the program once. Pffff, I did. Sheesh, what was I thinking?!? Ten times out of 10, after running the program, my clients end up renaming and changing things … and then they’re stuck re-trademarking it. Why do we do that? We get swept up in a scarcity mentality: We're so afraid somebody else is going to steal our brilliance … but you're so brilliant, you'll just come up with something else brilliant!
- Strategizing on Social Media Before Branding: People get Facebook-happy too soon and post random things and inspirational quotes that have nothing to do with their brands. It's about knowing your brand first. What’s your unique message, the one that you would gasp one more time with your last two breaths on your deathbed? Let that message influence all of your social media.
- Falling for Upsells: I was having business cards made, so I said, "Sure, I'll print postcards, too!" But I have an e-business, so why in the world would I need paper postcards? Who in the world would I send those to? Please don’t do that. This is an easy mistake ladies; don’t do what I did.
- Designing a Logo Before Looking at Stock Photography: You can spend several hundred dollars getting a custom logo, and it takes a lot of time. You look at edits and give feedback. It's your time and your attention, not just the money. I did that, then found my perfect logo through a stock photography website It was only $70, instead of $300. Look there first!
- Photoshop Before Photo Shoot: I had found a photo of myself, and I wasn’t ecstatic about the background, so I spent quite a bit of money getting it Photoshopped. For the same amount of time and money, I could have just gotten a professional photo shoot done. Women especially do this, because many of us are good at deluding ourselves that we’re saving money, that we’re being frugal.
- Taking the Wrong E-Course: I got swept up in the marketing of an e-course I took once. The instructor was an expert who seems to live an amazing life, but I couldn't stand his voice, so I avoided all of his audio trainings. I couldn’t get my money back. There's an abundance of teachers; don't get swept up in the marketing.
- Picking the Wrong Room: I teach aerial silks yoga. I thought it would be a great way to connect with people and funnel them into my coaching practice. Wrong! It was the wrong room. I thought that if I were the teacher in front of the room, I’d stand out and be the expert. Wrong again! I found out later that I was perceived as a poor, starving yoga instructor, when I was a six-figure online business coach. Choosing to position myself in front of the wrong room actually hurt my business, not helped it.
- Putting Quantity Before Quality: At the beginning, I friended everyone, I supported everyone, I went to everything. And that was a huge waste of time. Many of the people I met were not reciprocating in their support, or their audience was not my ideal clientele. Being a social butterfly doesn't build long-term relationships. Everyone knew me, but there was no depth, no reciprocity.
So, if you’re a seasoned entrepreneur, how many of these 12 faux pas can you relate to? If you’re just starting out, how many of these will you promise yourself NOT to do? To get truly wealthy and free, download your Wealth Mastery Kit here.