One of the greatest things about my work is that I get to meet clients often times at the start of their new business. There is nothing more exciting than to help bring new ideas to life, whether creating a custom logo, developing marketing materials or building a brand new website.
Along with the excitement, however, I’ve noticed that it’s easy for a new business owner to get overwhelmed with the process. And in my experience, getting overwhelmed can quickly derail success and lead to rapid burnout. Here’s what I’ve observed as the most frequent pitfalls, regardless of the industry, and how to avoid them.
1. I get it – you’re a new business owner and you’re excited and you need everything from business cards to a fabulous Instagram page to a trending Youtube channel (and more)! It’s very easy in today’s fast-paced world to launch five platforms only to find that the hottest one just came out and you’re already behind. The key here? Don’t do things just because others are doing it. I really can’t advise you to start a Snapchat channel just because you know someone who did and they’re killing it. Determine what you are passionate about and where your customers will most likely be before deciding where to showcase your business.
2. I hate to break it to you but you’re not an expert in everything. And if you try to be, it will show. What do I mean by that?Quality content, videos, websites and more take the experts years of training. It’s ok that you don’t know it all, it’s normal! Take the time to determine what you can get up to speed on and where you may need help. Don’t be afraid to delegate, ask friends for help, launch items one at a time until you’re regularly producing good content and/or hire some help. Developing a quality brand image for yourself will help you succeed much more quickly then trying to save money and time by managing it all yourself.
3. While you’re at it – shut down your social media every now and then. The comparison can have you spinning your wheels in no time. Why? If you’re new (and especially if you’re launching something as a side hustle) seeing what others are doing may be motivating initially. And it is really important to understand your competitors. That being said, staring at photo after photo on a page that’s professionally managed for someone who makes $200k in sponsorship ads isn’t helpful. Never compare your first chapter to someone else’s epilogue. Work with the time, skills and budget you have, taking a few minutes to unplug every now and then and be proud of what you are creating – outside of what anyone else is doing.
4.Set realistic expectations for what you can commit to while growing your business. Starting any business, side hustle or full time, is hard work. Sure, you’ve done your research, understand your niche, your customers, your competition and your product – but that level of work doesn’t go away just because you’re officially in business. Once you pull the trigger, create a schedule for yourself. How often will you post, advertise or create new content? Can you use tools (like UNUM for Instagram) that help you lay out content in advance or will you need to do something consistently another way? What type of money will it take to invest in logo design, photographs, blogs, ads? Are you prepared to work a year before seeing any financial return? Two years? It is helpful to remember that on average new businesses tend to take about 2-3 years before becoming profitable. Which means there is a lot of time and energy that goes into building something new, often for no return except late nights and extra coffee. Not a problem if you have those expectations well established – definitely a problem if you were hoping to retire from your full-time job in three months.
Remember that you’re starting this adventure for a reason. It may seem like you have to launch on every platform day one but you don’t. When you’re ready, grow and do the best you can with the resources you have. Definitely don’t compare yourself to others if you find it’s only leading you to depression and finally, don’t give up before you get started! You have something unique and special to share with the world – don’t let the process of doing so slow you down. And if I can help, let me know!