Top 5 Mistakes Self-Employed People Make:
Through my own experience of starting out as a self employed business and working with others as clients for my other businesses and clients I now train, coach and mentor, I wanted to highlight the top 5 mistakes self employed people make and my advice to overcome those issues and problems.
1 – Not Selling The Benefits. Even larger businesses make this mistake and it’s very common to hear businesses selling the details instead of the benefits. How long you’ve been doing what you do or what long list of certifications you have that mean nothing to people outside your industry are not things that sell or market what you do to potential customers. Yes, those details can be important later on in the selling process or retaining clients but initially you have to sell the benefits. Knowing, highlighting and communicating the actual benefits of your products and/or services to potential clients is a skill in itself but it’s what will bring in new customers faster than anything else. On the flip side, not doing this effectively will also kill a business faster than anything else.
2 – Bad Time Management. Scheduling everything in a synchronised calendar between laptop and phone with reminders is the habit that has kept me on track. People think I’m crazy scheduling small things like phone calls but the truth is people in business miss a lot of opportunities by forgetting to follow up leads on a call or at least wasting countless hours calling and leaving messages instead of scheduling a day and time convenient for everyone. I even schedule time for admin, replying to emails and setting aside different days for different activities. Included in this you should set specific work hours and block out time for family and friends and try not to let business encroach on your time off. You can’t work effectively if you don’t have head space away from work. Even taking 1 or 2 business phone calls on days you have set aside for family time can set you off thinking about work for the rest of the day. Even if you work from home, keep work time and down time separate and be strict about it. Don’t let clients dictate this, YOU have to set some boundaries and stick to them.
3 – Being Afraid To Chase Unpaid Invoices. When we have a good relationship with a client it can feel awkward to chase a late payment but remember it’s your job to make them feel awkward about it, not the other way around. These are not your friends, it’s business and cash flow is a make or break element in any business, large or small. Don’t allow 30 days (or longer payment terms), state 7 days and chase after 14 and ensure payment before 30 days. Never have “payment on receipt of invoice” as your payment terms, larger companies will put this in the tray marked “pay when chased”. Trust me, I’ve seen it countless times.
4 – Believing Marketing is More Important Than Selling. I have seen businesses setup and thrive from day 1 and make millions before they even got a proper website created, surviving with just a basic page. How? Why? Because they focused on getting out there and selling and got so much business in they couldn’t cope with more so didn’t care about marketing until much later. I see so many self employed people throwing so much money and time at new websites and marketing when effective lead building, networking and direct selling would be far more effective, cheaper and bring in more business than they could handle.
5 – Dreaming Big At The Start But Never Seeing It Through. Most self employed people ultimately don’t end up being their own boss, they end up being their own employee. Making similar or less money than they would in an equivalent employed job but with more hassle and less security and benefits. This suits some people because they want flexibility and freedom from the usual 9 to 5 routine but for many others who have a bigger dream in the beginning it’s unfulfilled potential. Staying motivated and inspired in the long term is hard with a lot of the negative distractions and difficulties you face in self employment, that’s a fact for anyone, I don’t care who you are. I managed to stay on track by having a couple of more experienced business mentors that I spoke with or met regularly (at least once a month, sometimes more) to bounce ideas off, share negative experiences and get advice or encouragement. Having someone experienced in business there for you in that way is the same as having an experienced tutor vs learning a complicated subject alone in a library. Most of our friends and family are likely employed with limited business experience. When I was younger I found the ones that I knew that had business experience were usually ones who had failed and gone back to an employed job. It didn’t take me long and a great deal of brain power to see they were the least qualified to give me advice and it took a while to find experience and successful business people to mentor me but it was worth the effort.
If you’ve found this useful and you’d like to know more about the help and support I give to people in business from selling to cash flow and growing small businesses into big businesses, I’d be glad to help you further. My 1 to 1 coaching and mentoring programs start from just $30 a week. Use the form below and we can schedule a free no obligation call to discuss: