This blog post has been in the works for a long time. Day after day, I hear business owners saying things or doing things (myself included) and I find myself consistently questioning it. These big business mistakes are super unconventional though…as in, I’m not telling you to use the right hashtags or use a specific platform…I’m being real.
I’m not exempt from these big business mistakes that we do to ourselves (as I’ll share below), but I wanted to share the top 3 mistakes I’m seeing business owners make that ultimately holds them back from fruition and growth.
We all know when you start a business, it feels like there are a million and one things you should be doing. It has taken me years to finally be able to decipher what I actually need over what I actually just want.
For example: I want a physical office space locally. Do I need it? No. Now, I can absolutely afford it..I would love the opportunity to have a space for local events, our product and brand photography clients, and meeting local clients more often. However, I’m having a difficult time finding one that fits my specifications (ie: good lighting, white walls / ability to paint, less than 1,000 SQ FT, etc) so I keep having to tell myself that it’s better to wait than to rush into something I don’t like.
The things is: I have my own home office that I love. It has beautiful natural lighting, white walls, and we have an entire upstairs area of our home I could convert into a larger office if I needed to. But society tells me I need to hurry and get one because most other business owners have an office space, too. Year 1 Kaitlin would’ve rushed. Year 3 Kaitlin is just cruising until the right space comes along.
If the right office comes along, I’m snatching it up. But since the need isn’t there and I work from wherever I want to with clients from everywhere in the US to France, London, and even Africa…I’m good where I’m at. If the office necessity hasn’t hindered me yet, I can stand to wait a few more months for the right one..right?
So where am I going with this? Well, I want to preface this blog post by letting you know that I’m also one of these business owners who tend to do the wrong things at times. I’m not exempt. I’m not special. My biggest downfall is that I look to others but end up being too difficult on myself in the end for not being where they are…all the while not realizing I don’t need all these things. Someone else out there wants to be where I’m at…and I need to pause on life and realize that at times.
SO…now that you know my downfall, I’d love to share the top 5 that I’m seeing in all industries and I think a lot of you will be able to relate to these.
1: You talk about your business like it’s unimportant.
Let me tell you friend, NO JOB IS SMALL. Even the garbage disposal workers have an important job to do and I respect the hell out of them for it. Most days, they probably don’t feel like superheroes but I think they are and I don’t know what we’d do without them (probably have a terribly stinky home due to a ton of garbage, obviously!)
If someone asks you what you do for a living and you respond with “I own a little design company”, they immediately put you on a lower level…and I don’t blame them. You’re essentially peeking out telling the world that you don’t even think what you do is worth the awe and grandeur it deserves.
I WAS GUILTY OF THIS. I found myself making an amazing income and scaling my career… STILL telling people and accepting others putting me on a lower level. I assumed because I didn’t have a physical space you could walk into everyday that it somehow meant I wasn’t allowed to say I owned a studio.
GUESS WHAT FRIEND…I have a team of INCREDIBLE women, making more than I ever could’ve imagined, working with people I never would’ve imagined (and only dreamt of!) You know what changed? I started holding my head high and putting my shoulders back. I OWNED MY CAREER.
There will always be people who assume I’m “just a stay at home mom” until they realize I have a thriving career and am go-go-go constantly working with women from all over the world to expand their online presences.
Do me a favor: start practicing. Literally create a quick sentence and explain what you do in under 10 words. Here’s mine: “I help women expand their online presence”. To which their responses are: “OH WOW…how?!” And now, I can lead in with what I actually do (ie: branding, web design / development, graphic design, retail consulting, social media, etc).
No one will respect your career if you don’t respect it first. I don’t care if you make $1000 a month of $20000 a month…every moment of your career is worthy of recognition and I see you working hard, friend.
2: You think instagram is the end-all be-all of your business.
I’ve barely been active on Instagram in the last month because we’ve been incredibly busy with launches but also outside of my business, my husband just upgraded to Captain in the airlines so he’s been gone alot. Which means that I’m spending more time with my son, spending more time with my head down working, so that when my husband is finally home I can try my best to be with him.
And I know that when I’m on instagram constantly, my inquiries sky rocket. But I’ll tell you that the last month nothing has changed. I haven’t been more active on Pinterest, I haven’t been active at all on Facebook. I’ve posted way less on my Instagram feed….nothing changed.
You know why? Because I’ve built a personal brand that does the work for me. I receive inquiries after people have read my previous instagram posts, after they’ve watched my highlights in my bio, after they’ve met me or have met someone who knows me who mentioned me, after an event, etc. Instagram is definitely my bread and butter…but my personal brand will always stand firm ahead of that.
You need to build a sufficient foundation that allows you to step away without anyone doubting your ability to deliver. You need to schedule that content ahead of time, schedule those posts, and step away. Go to more local events. Meet up with more business owners. Join a mastermind…whatever you have to do, do it. Don’t let Instagram be the only place you’re known.
3: You’re pushing your products down others throats.
Just because they’re on Instagram, doesn’t mean they aren’t real people. And, real people want to be really spoken to like they matter. I can’t tell you how many messages I get on social media that are:
I HATE THEM and I won’t even respond. Now, I absolutely respect those who genuinely want to work together but I do not want to be immediately sold your skincare, your weight loss regimen, your lipstick, your book, whatever…I don’t want it. But if you want to actually build a solid relationship with me and then sell me something based off you knowing I need it…I respect that.
What I really respect is someone who cares enough to understand who I am, why I need what they sell, and what my life even consists of. I want someone to send me messages to grow a genuine relationship with me. If I mention that I need a good foundation and you happen to sell one that you truly stand by…then please tell me. But no one wants to be sent a message that begins with “GIRL YOU’RE KILLING IT…I’M SO PROUD OF YOU…You should join my team.”
My favorite is also “Wouldn’t it be nice to make an income?” To which I always want to respond with…”yes, I DO THAT! Thank you for making me feel little.” But I don’t…I just ignore it.
All you’re telling me (and the others you’re doing this to) is if we say no…you’re gone. You aren’t concerned about the relationship one bit. And the thing I think so many people are missing is that that one sale won’t matter. What matters is the relationship you’re cultivating because THAT..my friends..is what will continue to make you money in the future. That ONE SALE will turn into word of mouth that continuously sells for you.
Stop searching for one sale. Search for ONE RELATIONSHIP. That one relationship will turn into ten relationships…and it will grow and expand continuously. Turn off the auto-messaging when someone follows you. Stop sending people messages that show you aren’t concerned at all with anything other than one quick sale.
If I could push one thing into everyone’s brains (that I wish I could’ve pushed into my own brain years ago) is that there is no right way of doing business.
Enough with all the gurus, enough with all the “must-haves” and “must-dos”. Enough. When you woke up this morning, before you logged into Instagram and started comparing and feeling discouraged…what did you feel? What did you want to do before everyone saturated it? Do that.
Do what feels good for you and your business, friend. Be yourself, show up authentically, build relationships, rinse, and repeat.