Biggest Entrepreneur Mistakes – What’s Mine? 

My biggest entrepreneur mistakes all center around two themes – analysis paralysis and values misalignment. We talked about analysis paralysis in the first blog in this series, Business Mistakes Shared by Entrepreneurs. In the second part of this series, we’ll look at some of the biggest entrepreneur mistakes others have made.

Biggest Entrepreneur Mistakes – Not Setting Proper Expectations

biggest entrepreneur mistakes woman thinking about itJudi Gevara, Founder of Bloomsake, highlights one of the biggest entrepreneurial mistakes I see business owners make (including myself). It involves setting expectations. “When I first started my business, the biggest mistake I had was not having a client agreement in place with my clients. Many clients do not pay attention to details and this caused many back-and-forth misunderstandings.” Today, Judi has a better system to set client expectations.

“I have learned to put an agreement system in place. Ever since I’ve had my clients sign their agreement before working together, this has created fewer issues but also helped with any issues that my clients would bring up, if it was specified in the agreement, then I could just direct them to the agreement.”

The Company You Keep

Mike Vannelli, Head Video Producer at Envy Creative, cautions against starting a business with a friend. “We had different priorities and goals for our business, which led to disagreements and conflict. When things got tough, we found it difficult to have honest conversations or give critical feedback. This resulted in misunderstandings and missed opportunities, leading to the failure of the business. Being in business with a friend can have serious consequences that can put a strain on the friendship and even lead to the end of it, which was the case in my situation.”

The company we keep is a key ingredient to business success; choosing that company wisely can prevent some of the biggest entrepreneur mistakes.

The Biggest Entrepreneur Mistakes We Make? Misalignment

I was not surprised to see values alignment show up as a mistake to avoid. Rebecca Foley, Owner of Phoenix Growth Systems had such a values conflict with her business partner, she left that partnership and founded her own business. “My current business is growing successfully and creating so many rich experiences. All because I had that experience of working with my former business partner and chose to create something that valued inclusion and celebrating our identities. I now draw clients from BIPOC and LGBTQ communities and have a reputation for being a safe place for new entrepreneurs.”

Jocelyn Michelle Reaves, President of Fireside Insights, made a similar biggest entrepreneur mistake by taking on any client or project, which caused her misalignment from her purpose. “We all have a lot of potential and are highly skilled at many things, but just because you’re doing work you’re good at doesn’t mean you’re doing work that you should be doing or that you’re passionate about. When you’re staring out, it’s important to identify what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and who you’re doing it with and for. While I took the steps to map that out, I didn’t actually stick to it. Sure, I generated a lot of revenue, but I ultimately ended up feeling burnt out because I wasn’t doing work that filled my cup. Now when any opportunity comes my way I refer back to my “why” and ensure alignment.”

Moral of the story here – stay aligned with your purpose and vision, or risk burnout.

Biggest Entrepreneur Mistakes Wrap-Up

If you haven’t read the first part of this series, Business Mistakes Shared by Entrepreneurs, please do so. I believe sharing our mistakes can help others learn from them, or identify ways to navigate through those biggest entrepreneur mistakes if they are in the middle of them.

If you’d like to discuss this further, please feel free to contact me.  I’m also an engaging public speaker on this topic and may be a good fit for your next event. I’m also available for strategic business advisory meetings with you and your team. Finally, if you have not yet signed up for the BEE Awesome Brief (a weekly email from me), please do so.