As new entrepreneurs and business owners, we navigate so much information on the “best way” to start, run, and scale an online business. We’re expected to tackle multiple learning curves and still come up on top. The thing is, we all make mistakes—and that’s okay.
But sometimes, if you know how to handle situations ahead of time, you can avoid making these mistakes. That’s why I want to give you the top 10 mistakes new online business owners make—so you can learn from them and get your business on the fast-track to success.
1) Having a poor plan in place (or no plan at all)
When you are just starting out, you might not have every single element in place. BUT, you need to have a good plan that gives you a solid direction of where you want your business to go.
Do you want a thriving business that provides you with a steady income stream and makes you feel completely fulfilled in your professional life? Well, then you need to plan for it to happen!
Asking the right questions to help you set up a plan is a good first step. Who are your customers? What are you selling? What are your monthly or annual income goals? Make a plan and make the plan realistic and achievable. It’s also okay if your plans change, as you and your business evolve. Change is inevitable and will happen because you’re growing but having a plan creates clarity, structure, and focus.
2) Not knowing your Ideal Client Avatar
Also known as, your ICA. You can set up the best business in the world and still not find success because if you’re trying to sell your offer to people who aren’t likely to buy or aren’t interested, you aren’t going to make the sale.
You have to know exactly who you are selling to, and you need to know them really, really well. Knowing your ICA goes beyond demographics. You have to really get inside their head. Do polls in your community, send out questions to your email list, interview prospective clients, and really get a deep understanding of what they want and need.
So really, take the time to know your ICA inside and out. Because at the end of the day, you can’t sell your offer, service or product if you don’t know who you are selling to!
3) Undervaluing or underpricing your offer
Don’t undervalue yourself, even if you are a new entrepreneur. You absolutely deserve to be paid a fair wage, and you do NOT need to lower your prices to appeal to a broader audience and ultimately land the sale.
If you want a successful business, you need to set a price that makes a profit and is worth your time—because your time is precious.
If you lack confidence around what you offer clients, practice your craft so you can sell your offer with more confidence. Most of the time, your mindset and self-worth is what holds you back from setting prices that reflect your value.
4) Not putting your customers first (and what they want)
I see this ALL the time. New entrepreneurs start a business for themselves and not necessarily their customers. There needs to be passion behind what you do, but you also need to provide a valuable offer that your audience wants.
Remember, your offer, product, or service needs to fill a gap in the market or solve a specific problem for your client. Your business is about your customers, not you. So make sure this is reflected in your messaging, your marketing, and your offer.
5) Not embracing failure
Maybe this is the first time you’ve heard this, but it certainly won’t be the last. Running a business involves failure.
You can’t move towards success without failing here and there. A great way to think of it is to exchange the word “failure” for “experiment.” You are experimenting.
Each failure (or experiment) you experience has a lesson attached to it. You will be learning something at every twist and turn of your entrepreneurial journey, so don’t take what happens inside your business personally.
The most important part of failure is failing forward. Embrace failure and keep moving forward. Then watch your business flourish!
6) Thinking you can do it all yourself
Look, running a business by yourself is overwhelming, hard, and just unnecessary. Whether you are trying to save money or think you can handle everything that comes your way, doing everything yourself is not a great use of your skillset.
If you’re an incredible illustrator but spend most of your time sorting out your business finances or writing social media captions rather than illustrating, you aren’t using your time effectively.
Stay in your zone of genius, ask for help and stop trying to do everything by yourself. Every single successful business owner asked for help at one point or another. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, delegate and outsource. Burnout is not fun and will do your business more harm than good.
7) Posting content with no strategy or paid offers
As a new business owner, you probably already have a social media presence, and if you don’t, you definitely should! But don’t just post for the sake of posting. That doesn’t work. The content you post needs to have a strategy behind it.
Establish a strategy that works for your business and your schedule. You don’t have to post every day of the week to make social media work for you. As long as you show up consistently (even if that means posting 1-2 times a week instead of 7) and provide true value to your audience through paid or free offers, you’ll do just fine.
8) Getting caught up in consuming too much versus creating
You provide value to your audience based on the content you create. Whether it’s paid content or free content, what you have to say and what you teach your audience will help you bring in the income you need to achieve the autonomy and lifestyle you crave.
I often see new business owners get caught up in what other people are saying that they start overconsuming other people’s content and stop creating their own. They lose their own voice—it’s our voices that make us stand out to the people that matter.
When your audience isn’t hearing from you, you’re not letting them know that you are available and ready to help them on their journey. So keep on creating!
9) Spreading yourself thin on social media
Don’t fall for the shiny object syndrome when it comes to social media platforms. You might want to be active on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, AND LinkedIn. But as a new business owner, you just can’t do it all.
Pick one platform (MAYBE two), build a loyal audience on there, provide them with value, and focus your energy there before you ever move on to another media channel. Your bandwidth as a new entrepreneur is small, so don’t spread yourself thin across too many platforms.
10) Don’t chase a high follower count
Do not base your success on the number of followers you have on your social media accounts! Honestly, I’ve seen better conversation rates with a smaller following than with a large following —especially for new business owners. The number of followers you have isn’t everything! It’s a vanity metric that distracts you from your true goal.
Instead, focus on engagement and building a community that will support you and your growth. Nurturing your existing community will help you grow and transform your business so much more than focusing on new growth constantly. Appreciate the people who are there from the beginning and nurture them, then the growth will happen naturally.
My biggest mission is to inspire you to evolve into your best self, so I hope these tips help you on your journey as an online business owner. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me on Instagram!