Episode #277: DON’T FALL PREY TO THESE ENTREPRENEUR PITFALLS
TAYLOR BRADFORD: You are listening to episode number 277 of the Boss Girl Creative podcast. Today I’m talking about the pitfalls and traps of entrepreneurship. On to the episode.
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Hey, welcome back. Welcome to Episode 277 of the Boss Girl Creative podcast. I’m your host. Taylor Bradford. Thank you so much for tuning in to today’s episode, which is all about the traps and pitfalls that happen with entrepreneurship. And this episode is, oh, gosh, y’all my, in my daily world, in my personal world, so much is happening with our build. And things that I never, ever would have thought would be a part of this process are a part of this process. And it started to make me think about like, what do we take for granted in business? And what do we not know is part of the process of running a business? And what are the pitfalls, what are the traps, so that we might can be more prepared for knowing them then if we didn’t know them? And I have so much to say about the house building process. And it’s really not the house building process itself. That’s been delightful so far. It’s the other things that are not so delightful. And so that’s where this episode is coming from.
I want to talk about, you know, the pitfalls of entrepreneurship, the things that maybe aren’t talked about enough that things that maybe we should know, exist or could exist, as long as you know, we know that they exist, or that we can avoid them at all costs. So I’ve got a list of 16. And I’m just going to go through the list and kind of talk to you about these things and my own experiences with these pitfalls if I’ve had them or what I did to not get myself trapped into one of them. And so yeah, if you aren’t a member of our of my text community, feel free to do that. I send out a text message to those that want to get an update. So if you have been around these parts for some time, I only send out a monthly newsletter. I very rarely send out anything else unless it’s something burning that I want my list to know about. And so, I moved to a monthly list because I’m working towards being that minimalistic marketing approach and try not to overwhelm your inbox because I don’t like my inbox being overwhelmed. So I’m just going with that. So if you want to hear from me, like I said, I send out a text message once a week. Occasionally, if I see something super encouraging that might kind of lift your spirits, I might send out a quote, but for sure, at least once a week, I send out a message just to give you the heads up about the latest episode. So if you want to subscribe to that, go send me a text message, “Hey Taylor,” and to this number: 817-587-1978. If you’re International, add the plus one in front of that number, so 1-817-587-1978, and then say, “Hey Taylor” and follow the prompts. And then once I see you pop through, I will acknowledge it, and yes, it really is me acknowledging it. So if you want to text me, you’re welcome to do that. It is a two-way street here. So if you have a question or just want to chat, feel free to do that. That is what that is for.
So let’s dive into the pitfalls of entrepreneurship. And, yeah, let’s get going. Okay, number one, worrying about failure. Okay, guys, real talk here, we’re gonna all fail. That’s just how this works. And I’m not saying that your business is going to fail, I’m just saying some of the things you test, some of the things that you put out there, some of the things that you do are not going to work. And it is okay. It’s okay to fail. That’s part of this whole process. That’s part of being a business owner. Everything that you do is not always going to work. It’s a trial and error. It’s an experimentation. So you just need to know that failure is part of this process. Does it suck? Absolutely, but it’s not the end of the world, and it doesn’t mean that your full business idea is awful. It just means that one thing that you put out there didn’t work, and maybe it’s just not the right time for that one thing. But know that failure is part of this process, and we all experience it. I can’t tell you how many things I have created that didn’t work or that my audience didn’t need, and I really thought they needed, but they didn’t. And yeah, the emotions when you realize it didn’t take off, or the feelings that you experienced, when you realize you missed the mark. Those aren’t pleasant, but it is part of the process, and you just retool yourself, and you try again. And you go back, and you start asking questions and listening to your audience. Because failure is just inevitable, it’s part of how business functions, we’re not going to always get it right every single time.
Number 2: Ignoring the importance of your customers, I don’t know how you could make this be a pitfall. If you, I guess, if you are the type of person where you’re just in this for yourself, then yeah, you’re gonna have this pitfall your customer is the most important aspect of your business. It’s who buys your product. It’s who buys your service. It is who your cheerleaders are. It is who your megaphones are. So if you ignore the importance of them, you will not succeed, because you absolutely have to have them. You can’t be in business without people buying your product and service.
Number 3: Competing solely on price. If you’re doing this, I’m going to tell you to stop that immediately. It is one thing to be an affordable option and creating your core values around that. It is a completely different thing to enter a market to undercut your competitors. That is a completely different thing. You should never solely compete on price, ever. You talk about destroying your niche, destroying your industry, that is what you’re doing, and nobody wants that type of person entering the market. You won’t last. It might work for a hot minute, but you will start getting reviews from those people that your service was terrible, or the product wasn’t fully functioning. Like, please, please, please don’t fall into that pitfall of competing solely on price.
Number 4: Pretending that you know it all. Because let me tell you, you don’t. You do not know it all. And if you enter a business or start a business, or you’re in it right now, and you have this mindset, I’m going to tell you to gut check yourself because you do not know at all. I am constantly learning. I want to know what I don’t know, and I can’t know that unless I go out and find out what I don’t know. And that is why I have really started to focus in on more business books. And I’m just not in the season right now for podcast listening because of how much I am, like, in one place all the time and I’m not so much in my car. The moment that I’m back in my car is when I’ll resume podcasts – it’s just that’s the only time where my brain – I mean, I’m obviously driving so that’s important and I’m thinking about all those things – but it’s the only time where I’m not distracted by my daily surroundings. And I can focus on listening to a podcast. Like, I’m just in the car, I can’t do anything else but drive, so it’s where I can absorb podcasts. I can’t do it just sitting on a couch or sitting in my office chair. I can’t multitask and listen to podcasts at the same time. It doesn’t work for me, and so right now, I’m not in the season of listening to podcasts, but I am in the season of reading business books. And, again, I’m seeking knowledge that I don’t know, I’m seeking knowledge of what I don’t know, I should know. And we should always stay in a learning type of environment.
Number 5: Ignoring the basics of business. Uh, duh. How can you run a business if you ignore the basics of business? And what I mean by basics of business is having a plan and actually implementing said plan and having a marketing strategy and implementing said marketing strategy. If you build it doesn’t mean people will show up. And I get that a lot, especially in the podcast world. I’ll have people say to me, ‘oh, I want to start a podcast’ and then I hear that they start a podcast, and then five episodes in they’re like, ‘why aren’t people listening?’ And I’m like, because podcasting isn’t easy. It is a really hard medium to get a community to find you to listen to you. There is so much noise in podcasting, and it’s not a magic, oh my gosh, if you build it, they come because they don’t. One thing that truly benefited me as a blogger, before I was a podcaster is I already built a community around teaching how to blog, and how to run online social media, marketing campaigns, and all of that. And so I was already in the throes. I already had a built an audience when I launched this podcast in 2015. So if you build it doesn’t mean they will, they will just show up. Like, you can’t ignore the basics of running a business.
Number 6: Getting caught up in the comparison trap and engrossing yourself with your competition. You have to put on the horse blinders. You know, when you watch the horse races, the horses have on blinders, because it’s important for them to focus on running forward and not paying attention to what’s beside them. That is what we have to do in our businesses. We cannot be engrossed in our own competition. We can’t get caught up in the comparison trap, because you’re not going to be able to replicate what that business is doing. What you are going to be able to do is make it your own so that you attract the customer that wants it your way. They want to experience the way you’ve created it. Now, I should say, it is important for you to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. But it’s, that’s as far as that goes, like keep an eye. But focus on yourself, focus on your own business, keep the blinders on. Because if you just engross yourself with what they’re doing, you’re going to get caught on the hamster wheel, and you’re never going to be able to get off. So don’t set yourself up to fail like that.
Number 7: Thinking beyond business growth and ignoring that important thing that you should actually be focusing on, which is business growth. If you’re running a business, and you’re not focused on growth, how in the world are you running a business? Like? I think that’s a hobby on steroids. Probably. If you aren’t focused on growing your business, what are you focused on – yourself or a hobby? I think that is super important to think about. Because if you are not focused on your business growth, you’ve got something else happening. And it’s time to get back to the basics and focus on that business growth.
Number 8: Not developing your own role or skill set. So most recently, I’ve been diving into the books written by Mike, and I can’t say his last name, but he wrote the Profit First book, and he’s got the Pumpkin Plan, and he’s got Clockwork, and he’s got some other things. And right now, I’m reading Clockwork, and while I don’t have a team, per se, in the sense of what he describes in this book, Clockwork is all about getting your people and yourself into the right roles and into their sweet spots, into their strengths. And that is so incredibly important even as a solopreneur. Knowing what your strong suits are and knowing what your weak spots are because that’s what is going to help you bring on team members is finding somebody that one of your weaknesses is their strengths. So You do have to develop your own role and your own skillset like what is your secret sauce? What are you super good at? That’s what you have to focus on.
Number 9: Not having any idea about your industry. I really hope you do your research or did your research before stepping into an industry and starting a business. When I first started Sugar Creek, it was to host baby showers, throw parties, tea parties, any kind of a party. That was the goal. I had no clue about the wedding industry. And it only came up as a ‘hey, have you thought about marketing to the wedding industry?’ and once that seed was planted, I started investing in educating myself about the wedding industry. And had it not been for that suggestion and then me spending time trying to figure out the wedding industry and learning everything I could learn about it and getting myself into associations and networking with wedding industry professionals – like all of that completely changed my business. And had I not done the research, I wouldn’t have been prepared for stepping into that industry. So you just have to do your research before you ever step into a new industry and start a business.
Okay, number 10: Making things too hard or too complicated. Creating that product that makes your customer jump through a million hoops before they get it—or making a service offering that just is too hard or too complicated to get signed up. Don’t make it that hard. Don’t create a product that has a million components or a million pieces to it, your customer won’t use it, or creating a service that’s so hard to follow, or to implement or to do or to launch or to whatever, that your customer can’t do it. You’ll – you won’t be in business very long. Don’t make things too hard or too complicated. Remember your customers. The most important aspect is the person that’s buying is the person that’s marketing you as a megaphone, don’t make it hard on them.
Number 11: Setting up a business without a foundation. You guys know if you’ve been here a while that I preached this all the time, my 8+1 Pillar series, your pillars are important. Your pillars are your business foundation; you can’t set up a business without a foundation. Just like you can’t build a house without having piers and a concrete slab and framing. Like, your house wouldn’t exist without those things. It would have no structure. You have to create structure for your business.
Number 12: Forgetting your why. I also preach this all of the time—your why is so important. Yes, your customers are important. But if you don’t even know what your why is why you’re even doing what you’re doing, how can you even expect your customers to buy into what it is you’re selling? Don’t forget your why. Always keep yourself checked on that.
Number 13: Giving up too soon. I see that a lot, especially in podcasting. Like I said, podcasting is not just an easy entry type of business. If you build it doesn’t mean they will come. That goes for any business, but podcasting in general, I hear so many people are like, Oh, it’s not hard. just seen a microphone, and you need a way to record, and you can just stick it to Apple and boom, you’re a podcaster. Well, yeah, you might be a podcaster, but do you have listeners? That’s a huge thing. And which also causes people to give up too soon because it is hard. And I just have to say you guys, no matter what your industry is or what your business is, business is hard. If it were easy, everybody would be doing it. Nobody would have employees. Like, business is hard. Just don’t give up too soon. If you believe in yourself and you have a really amazing product, and you have your 8+1 Pillars in place, then don’t give up.
Number 14: Thinking it will be easy. That falls in line with giving up too soon and creating a business without a structure. It’s not easy. None of this is easy. Again, I’m going to repeat myself if it were easy, everybody would be doing it, and nobody would have employees. Nobody would have workers. Nobody would have freelancers, no way. Nobody would have contractors. It’s not easy. None of this is easy. Don’t fall into that trap.
Number 15: Running out of money, that’s a real thing. You have to be very strategic with how you invest your money into your business. You will be bootstrapping A lot of it. And if you aren’t, you need to check yourself. Because bootstrapping is part of running a business, there’s really no reason to invest in all of the things right out of the gate, when it’s easier to just bootstrap it and build your foundation and get it going the way you want it. That’s important. I know a pitfall for rental business owners is buying inventory and not setting a reason for how to buy. You can’t be willy-nilly with how you spend your money, especially initially, for adding inventory to your collection. Because how long is it going to take you to get that money back? What’s your return on investment? So running out of money is a real problem with businesses. They spend it because they think, Oh, I gotta have that thing. But do you really need that thing? Is it a core functionality of your business? If it’s not, then you don’t need that thing. So that is for sure a pitfall running out of money.
And finally, number 16: Trying to be a one-man show or hiring too soon or choosing the wrong business partner. I’m lumping them all together because I do think these are pitfalls that all have similar underlinings. You can’t do it all by yourself. Initially, you can. And you might for the first few years of your business. But you do also need to understand what your strengths are and what your secret sauce is what how you bring the magic to your business. And then you need to get people into roles where your weaknesses are their strengths. You can’t do this all by yourself. Initially, you can, but if you want to grow, if you want that Empire, you’re going to have to add team members. But it’s important not to hire too soon when you don’t have your foundation created. And choosing the wrong business partner is a real thing. I had a business partner with my rental company when I first started, and it didn’t end well. And it was, ‘hey, we should do this.’ But then there were no rules, there were no guidelines, and it just didn’t work. So trying to be a one-man show or hiring too soon. or choosing the wrong business partner is a pitfall of entrepreneurship. And it’s also learning experiences. So I’m not saying there is a guidebook out there that or even I can be like, hey, at two years, that’s when you hired this person. At three years, this is when you hire this person. At six months, this is when you hire this person. That just doesn’t work. You’ve got to build your foundation. You’ve got to understand what your strengths are and what you want your role to be before you ever start thinking about bringing on more team members, whether that actually is employees, or whether that is freelancers or contractors. That’s beside the point, but you have to understand when it’s time to add those roles, and you will know you will be like I can’t do this by myself anymore. I am hustling all the things, and I’m growing, but I’ve got to have help. That’s when it’s time to start exploring your options.
Thank you so much for tuning in to today’s episode again. Get yourself into the Inner Circle. That’s where all the magic of Boss Girl Creative is happening, and where all of my attention is. So if you want my attention, if you want my help, if you want me to help you implement or integrate, that is where you got to be. Go to bossgirlcreative.com/innercircle to get yourself in there. Until next time, I hope you have a great rest of your week.