I see some long, and great, lists here, so I’m going to narrow down a little more: THE #1 mistake that most (not just first-time) entrepreneurs make is part of the human condition… narcissism.
Everyone is guilty of this. I don’t mean it in a selfish, malicious way. Our brains work from our experience. We think that others are—or SHOULD be—like us. We think that others will immediately understand why our product/idea/brand is so brilliant and exactly what the world needs…
Not the case. To be successful entrepreneurs, we must shift our thinking from “OMG wouldn’t it be cool if we could build a…” to “what pain points do my customers have, and how can I make their lives easier/happier/better?” Trust me, I put myself in the same boat, and I work on this every day.
I mean, how brilliant isEvery employee wanna be entrepreneur should immediately become my customer, right? Ok, I guess I need more than a catchy brand…
Now, because everyone likes lists, avoid these three mistakes, and you’ll be a successful entrepreneur:
- Wrong Reasons —
touched on this in his answer, and I’ll give some more color. Our current education system teaches us how to be employees, not entrepreneurs. Unfortunate… but what this means is that most people who get into entrepreneurship KNOW that it’s their destiny.
- Though it’s a great way to build real wealth instead of living paycheck to paycheck, don’t get into it just to make millions. You must get into an area that inspires you, because this drives curiosity—which will keep you learning—and passion—which will keep you working hard when others give up.
- Wrong Focus — This goes back to the narcissism comment. Business guru Peter Drucker said that the point of a business is to create a customer. If your focus is anywhere else, success will be hard to come by. I make two addenda to this concept (I hope he doesn’t mind):
- I say that the point is to create and KEEP a customer. Not that everyone needs to be a monthly subscriber. But, when a customer has a need that you can fill, they think of you.
- I don’t think a customer has to pay anything. If you’re reading this, you’re one of my free customers, and I’m still trying to add value to your lives. Then, different people will climb to different levels in my business, based on the value they perceive. Regardless, my focus is on you from the beginning!
- Being Stubborn — Again… narcissism. If we fixate on how awesome our product is and try to shove it down people’s throats… they don’t like that. If we listen to feedback and adjust our product to suit their needs, they’ll be happy.
- The FASTER you can do this, the better. Do NOT spend a year building a “cool product” only to find out that no one wants it. Create a minimally viable product as quickly as you can, get it to market, listen to feedback, adapt, repeat.
Reid Hoffman, co-founder of Linked-In said “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”
If you want to be an entrepreneur, do it for your reasons, but listen to your customers’ needs, and give them what they want.
If you want to learn about how to become an entrepreneur by building an online business, check out my. My business teaches people how to make the leap from employee to entrepreneur.