About the author

Darren Cronian, the author of this guide, has spent nine years securing remote jobs and building a successful freelancing business. His goal is to help people find remote work. Read more >
Last Updated: 21 April 2023

When starting, it’s important that you do not make these common business mistakes because they will impact you financially and slow down the growth of your business. Learn from my mistakes.

Building a successful online business takes years of patience, commitment, and hard work. It does not happen overnight unless you have a large marketing budget or high-profile contacts.

Here are the business mistakes you should avoid making.

Business Mistakes I Made That You Should Avoid
Losing focus

Helping people to become remote workers is such a wide net to cast.

Initially, my focus was to help people quit their job to work remotely and travel. Within a few months, emails started to arrive from people needing help landing a remote position.

My focus was changing, which is not a good move when you’ve invested time and money in creating content for a different target audience.

It is essential to step back and re-look at your business plan when trends like this start to appear. Within weeks of making the change, the first coaching clients arrived. The outcome was positive, but hiring freelance writers could have been better spent with more research.

My mistake was not completing enough research to find the niche within remote working that needed the most help.

Never assume what your target audience needs help on. Many entrepreneurs lose focus for many reasons: They think of another idea, or self-doubt emerges because results aren’t instantly appearing.

It’s a risk to change focus, so make the right decision.

Setting unrealistic goals

While planning the content strategy, my initial goal was to publish two articles, three videos, and a podcast episode every week. This was alongside curating my weekly email and creating content on social media.

Within the first week, it became apparent that the goal was impossible for one person to achieve. As a solo entrepreneur, you’re also responsible for bringing new clients on board and business development activities.

This content strategy would have burnt me out in a month, and the enjoyment of building an online business will quickly disappear.

The solution is either to be realistic with the time available or hire someone to focus on other parts of the business. My situation had very little income, so bringing someone to help was a no-go.

The only option was to create a realistic content plan and avoid these common business mistakes.

It’s essential to evaluate your plan and ensure that the content you’re creating drives people to the pages you want them to take action on, i.e., sign up for your email list or purchase a product or service.

Creating unneeded stress

Back in May, my contract as a Quality Assurance analyst came to a sudden end. Thankfully, while working for the company, a percentage of my income was transferred into my monthly savings account.

Rather than rushing out to find a new contract, I built an online business and lived off my savings for six months.

In all honesty, this was the worst decision, a big business mistake.

My stress levels increased because income was not coming in as fast as it was going out of my savings. Building a business focused on making money from day one is not a good idea. It’s the worst idea.

It takes time to build trust with your target audience; they must feel you can help them achieve their goals.

In hindsight, the main focus should be searching for part-time contract work. When not working, the time could be spent on building the business.

Don’t give yourself added stress, and quit your job before you have started to bring regular income into your business. This cannot be stressed enough. You will fail if you go down this route.

Spending too much time on social media

It’s rather addictive. You are scrolling through post after post on Facebook Groups, browsing your Twitter and Instagram feeds.

Having a positive mindset is essential when building an online business. Spend time on social media, and you will consume negative content. Or, you will compare yourself to better entrepreneurs with more contacts and resources.

We’ll touch on procrastination in the next section, but social media, for me, was harming my mindset and confidence.

Stop comparing your business to others

What’s unique about your business is you, and never forget that. It’s your unique experiences and stories. Limit your time on social media and use tools to measure how effective that time is.

Has your social content increased engagement with your target audience and brought new subscribers and visitors to your website?

Evaluate the amount of time you’re spending on social networks.

After looking through my analytics, it became apparent that Facebook was not performing. The algorithm was making it near impossible for people to find my content. Yet, hours were spent every day on the platform.

The group and page were closed, and my attention was put on LinkedIn, which has hugely positively impacted my mindset and income.

Please note that you do not need to be on every social network.

Procrastination nearly killed my business.

The headline sounds a little drastic, but it’s the truth.

As mentioned earlier in the article, my business could have failed within six months. A mix of stress, lack of focus, and procrastination stopped me from moving the business forward.

My morning routine consisted of taking a shower, eating breakfast, and then browsing the internet for inspiration on what content to create. A few hours passed, and nothing was achieved.

All it took was a mindset and routine change.

Having a work routine is critical when you’re working remotely.

Without one, you will not create the perfect work-life balance and spend more time doing the things you love.

Firstly, scrap the to-do list because it causes procrastination; at least, it did for me. Instead, towards the end of the working day, a list of 1-3 tasks was created depending on how long they would take to complete.

This would be the focus of the next day.

Using Trello, a board was created to itemize each task, along with bullet point style notes. So, if an article had to be written, the title and details of the content would be included, along with the goal and target audience.

The result of this change was increased productivity. No procrastinating, browsing websites for inspiration or watching YouTube videos.

Avoid these business mistakes because they cost me financially and mentally and slowed down the launch of my business. To add, we all make mistakes; we’re human, after all, but what’s important is that you learn from them.

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