Do you want to become a wise entrepreneur? Here are the top 4 silly mistakes successful entrepreneurs avoid at all cost.
Doing Everything Themselves
I remember when I started my first business, a campus blog and news site – CampusMuster. I was doing everything. I was a web designer, writer, graphics designer, videographer, social media manager, customer care agent, and I was everything. To worsen the case, I also had my academic activities.
How did I cope? No, I didn’t. I was always very exhausted at the end of the day. In my case, this happened because there were very few persons around me who had the necessary skills that I needed. The few ones wanted to squeeze the juice out of me. I know that I am not alone on this issue.
There are lots of entrepreneur out there, who micromanage (DIY) a lot. This is very dangerous because as you keep doing everything yourself, it will soon become a habit that you can avoid. The disadvantage of doing everything yourself is that it prevents you from seeing the bigger picture.
As an entrepreneur, you are to stand outside the house to get the full picture of the building. You should create strategies that will help your company generate more profit. When you’re too close and focused on directing the graphic design team on how to create the best design and even trying to do it yourself, it slows down your progress and the progress of your company.
While you are still a startup and you are doing everything on your own, always have it in your sub-consciousness that it is not going to stay that way forever. Learn how to share tasks and trust the persons to deliver.
If they don’t, correct them and ask them to rework it, don’t do it for them. By so doing, you will kill the habit of doing everything on your own.
Saying Yes to Everything
Also, when I was starting, I used to get lots of calls from people requesting the I become part of their team, or I should do and job for them. Most of these things were not related to what I was doing, but I didn’t mind because I never understood the benefit of saying no.
I also did not want the “bad friend or colleague” tag. The annoying part was that 90% of those jobs were free. In my journey into entrepreneurship, I learnt that it is very okay to say no. Successful entrepreneurs are those who can say No. So, I learnt this, and I was able to conserve time and energy and focus more on projects that matter.
Pro Tip: Start with saying No for fun. It feels so good. Afterwards, define your audience, your value and develop term sheet. It doesn’t have to be typewritten but you should have them at your fingertips. Each time you have a new proposal, share these terms and conditions with them. You will notice that you will be able to separate your actual clients from the time-wasters. Also, you’ll have more time and energy to provide the best services.
My pastor once told me “Son, whatever you did to get to this level, don’t stop doing it and if you want to go higher, do more.” When I started, I was reading every book I could lay my hands on. I was watching video tutorials on YouTube, and I attended seminars, some free and some paid.
There was a time I missed a test, to attend a summit, and that program turned out to become a cornerstone experience for me. It got to a point where I deleted all my songs and left only podcasts on my phones. Well, after a month, I almost became depressed, I had to replace the music, but I am not a marlian either.
There was a month I completed six online courses with certifications, and I still wanted to do more. To achieve a certain height in your entrepreneurial career, you need more information. You also need to learn a different method of applying some information.
You also need to learn 5 to 7 to 10 ways of solving one problem. That is how to stay on top of your business and industry as a whole. As you set goals of what you intend to achieve, ensure to include a study plan for personal development.
Focusing on Features Instead of Benefit
This is another issue common among young entrepreneurs (especially tech entrepreneurs). I used to spend a lot of hours on developing the website, adding more features to it.
Most technopreneurs do this too. They focus their time, energy and resources on creating the best project. The insane thing is that if you ask them, what the project is about, they wouldn’t be able to tell because
Focusing on Revenue Instead of profit
I wanted to make money. It was exciting to speak with new clients, and I was always scared of saying the wrong things and losing the clients. In November 2017, I created a social media marketing strategy.
I used it to reach to business owners, offering to design a professional business website for them at N20,000. Before now, I didn’t know how to price my graphic and web design jobs. I would estimate any amount that feel would do the job. If it sounded huge, I’d reduce it so I won’t lose the client. They say “half bread is better than none”.
I didn’t believe it will work until I got a call from a prospect. I was surprised. She said she doesn’t know me and that might be a problem. She asked me a couple of questions, and she paid almost immediately. That’s when I realized that I screwed myself up.
After my examinations, I started the design, and it was ready in a week. She scheduled a meet-up and invited me to her house (hey! Keep your mind straight). We got to know each other, and she was a graphic designer running her design agency.
She mentioned had learnt web designs in the past but appreciated if I could show her a few things. I agreed (always saying Yes). Fast forward to the end, I ended up designing two websites, but she only paid for one, during the process of our daily meeting.
I was the one footing my transportation fare most times. In the end, I used up all the profit, (relax, don’t call me dumb yet. Let me finish). All this happened during my vacation period between 24th to 31st December 2017. At that time, I was staying at my aunt’s house.
She was aware of the web design job, and she assumed that I made so much money from it, since I was always leaving the house at 8 am and returning late in the evening. It was time to go back to school, and when I asked her for the fees, she told me to use what I made for it that she will get back to me later.
I got back to school, but I couldn’t raise enough money for my tuition fees on time. That one mistake cost me a year in school because I had to suspend my admission instead of losing it altogether. My sister will be very shocked and angry if she reads this and I hope she doesn’t.
I know you had your own bad experience, undercharging clients, and this happens because we do not want to lose the client. We want to be able to say that we have made sales.
But, I am a digital creator (graphic designer, web designer, writer, etc) How can I put a price on creative work without undercharging or losing the client?
After learning the hard way, I developed a strategy that helps me to bill my clients, covering all the costs, including miscellaneous, and without scaring them with the price. Additionally, the are clients who can pay more than others. Imagine you bill a client N50,000, but the client can afford to pay you N70,00 for the same service.
That means you lost N20,000 and you don’t want to make that mistake. I will share with you my secrets to billing my clients without scaring them off and in a way that allows me to provide them with the best services.
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Before you go, don’t forget to share your own experience in the comment section, let us know ourselves.