The Top Ten Mistakes Solo-preneurs Make in Business - Christine Kane

homerdohThe entrepreneurial spirit runs wild in creative types.

Whether web designer, artist, or coach – the possibility of freedom is appealing. And of course, the idea of self-generated income fills our pioneer sails.

However, many people get quickly burnt-out and disillusioned on this path. That’s because no one teaches us how to have a business AND be creative all at once. It’s a challenge and an on-going process.

I believe anyone can be (and everyone should be!) self-employed. But I teach my clients that it’s a path of self-awareness above all else. For instance, there’s a huge mindset shift from the idea of “fixed income” to “variable income.” You literally have to change how you define security!

I look back and marvel at my path from growing up with a paycheck-with-benefits mindset, moving into artist (and wanting lots of people to rescue me), and then (out of total frustration with myself!) into full-fledged entrepreneur while still keeping creativity and songwriting at the top of my priority list.

So, here, from my very own Been-There-Done-That files, are the Top 10 Mistakes Solo-preneurs Make in Business…

1 – Not scheduling Vision-Time.

If you don’t take time away from your business for visioning and thinking, it’s easy to become a reactor, not a creator.

A business is dynamic and organic. (So are you!) Shape and create your business by taking time out for planning and visioning your desires and new directions.

2 – Taking too much Vision Time.

Some people are forever analyzing and planning, afraid of doing the wrong thing or of failure. At some point, you must take action. Just know that failure is only failure if you give up!

3 – Waiting for rescue.

Book deals. Hit records. Getting on Oprah. A huge IPO.

Hey, great things can and DO happen all the time in life. However, waiting for something to “sweep you away” is a surefire path to frustration.

Having a business is an on-going relationship. It can be remarkable! But like any relationship, it requires attention and action. Hoping for rescue is a sign that you’re afraid of the potential of your own power!

4 – Living in the “Field of Dreams.”

Remember these amazing words?

“If you build it, they will come.”

Really? I can do that, and everything else will be taken care of?

Well, sort of. There IS truth in that famous line.

But too often, people think it means, “All I have to do is put up my sign – and the world will rush to my door.”
This can lead to disillusionment. That’s because “building it” is not a one-time thing!

Here’s another way to look at it:

“If you build it they will come. But if you build it and market it, they’ll pay you!”

5 – Making problems a problem.

Donald Trump advises something that contradicts every positive thinking tenet out there. He says to expect problems.

Yes, even if you’re a mindset junkie!

Glitches, hiccups, snafus. Hey, they happen. (Just ask anyone who has been waiting for their pre-order of my new CD to arrive!) Too often, we let problems paralyze us, and steal our time and emotions. Successful people expect “problems,” and always put their focus on finding the solution!

6 – Taking numbers personally.

Much of business is a numbers game. Sometimes the numbers are low. Sometimes they’re high!

Numbers are just numbers. They are not the Universe’s way of telling you that you should give up and get a job at The Gap!

7 – Waiting to “feel like it.”

Creative types often don’t market themselves until they “feel like it.” Which – let’s face it – is never.

Marketing works best as a system. Robert Middleton says, “Marketing is not only about being known, it’s about not being forgotten.” In other words, learn how to market so you won’t have to dread it!

(If you don’t know how or what to market, then you definitely need to be on my teleseminar on July 29th!)

8 – Reactive Business-ing.

Is this you?

Every now and then, you realize you have no clients. You panic. You go on a marketing/cold-calling binge. You fill your schedule. Then for months, you can barely breathe, let alone hire someone or continue marketing.

Sure enough, it shifts. The projects end. The clients are gone. Suddenly, your calendar is empty. The cycle begins again.

I call this Reactive Businessing. It is one of the unhealthiest habits out there.

9 – Status-before-Spotlight Thinking.

All too often, we wait to “deserve” the spotlight. We hope for enough status, letters after our names, or training before we’ll make the slightest move toward a bigger opportunity.

News Flash: No amount of letters after your name can create worthiness. Success happens when we take chances and play bigger, regardless of outside status.

10 – Not investing in yourself.

Every successful entrepreneur invests time and money in herself and her business. She attends workshops and teleseminars. She hires coaches.

Too many of us go it alone. This leads to limited thinking, isolation, and burn out.

When an opportunity arrives, don’t ask: “How much does it cost to do this?” Ask instead: “How much will it cost me NOT to do this?” This simple question has changed my life!

NOTE: If you want to get some more great tips on this topic, don’t miss my Uplevel Your Business Teleseminar tomorrow night – Wednesday, July 29! Click here for more information!

  • Jamie Broderick

    Most important point is to collaborate with others for support, information, ideas, referral programs. Anytime that 1 plus 1 results in more than 2, you should work together.

  • Tessa

    Hi Christine,
    I just swung by here to get a little more “uplevel” juice and find a place to say thank you for the inspiration today! The call was great, you sounded just like I expected you to and it was just what I needed to hear today.

    I am struggling with finding the type of marketing that I can feel good about. After trying some cold calling – UGH – I totally get your point about finding your clarity, your spotlight and your peeps.

    I guess that is truly what “social”marketing is all about. Letting the people who need you and your stuff/service find you naturally by pre-qualifying themselves, instead of you having to chase them. Brilliant!

    Thank you so much – I really appreciate your generosity.

  • Christine Kane

    Mark – Are you registered for the call tonight? #8 is the overall foundation of the call!

  • Mark

    Hi Christine,

    I relate to #8 the most. So what’s the solution? Hm…

  • juliana

    I’ve finally gotten my head out of the sand regarding #10. “Independent” too often equals “you have to do it all yourself” in my head.

  • Diane

    Great post!
    I am guilty of every single one of those mistakes. Number 6 hit close to home. More than once in the past year I thought about giving up and getting a job. Thanks for the gentle nudge in the right direction!

  • Jodi at Joy Discovered

    Great article, Christine! Thank you so much for sharing your tried and true tips! It is a very fine line we walk managing the creative side of things with the business side. It requires a good balance to make it all come together. Sometimes I feel like I can make more measurable progress managing the business side of my goal but if I start to neglect the creative side I implode because I feel disconnected from my passion! I’m learning, slowly but surely, how to bring the two together! I appreciate your insights here!

  • Laura

    Right on, Christine! As one who has many letters after her name, I can tell you they’re pretty lazy left to their own devices. It takes a huge mindshift to get out of the academic trap of thinking that if you have enough letters after your name, you shouldn’t *have* to market yourself. Of course the downside of that scenario is prostituting your soul to your tenure committee. Being a solo-preneur rocks!;-)

  • Carla White

    I’ve been wanting to go full time with my iPhone apps for awhile now, always waiting for the right moment to take a leap. Your advice is just what I need. Thanks so much & I look forward to tomorrow’s seminar. You’re a wise woman!

  • Christine Kane

    Thanks amy! Yea, Reactive Businessing is a post unto itself. I had a little blurb there – but it was so not the full picture that I deleted it. (If you’re on the call tomorrow night – i’ll be going into that one. in fact, it’s kind of the background of everything on the call!)

    and hey – like the lyrics say, “Leap and the net will appear!” 🙂

  • Amy

    Recently, I’ve been hearing my inner voice say that perhaps it’s time to go the freelance route. (I’m an Internet marketer / web designer / web developer.) I’m scared, of course. Your posts are definitely a great encouragement for me to listen to my intuition, feel the fear and do it anyway. Right now I’m taking baby steps.

    So even though I haven’t taken the big leap yet, I really enjoyed this post – it’s good food for thought for when (I just said WHEN, not IF!) I make the change, I’ll have some things to keep in mind.

    Question about Reactive Business-ing: I get why that’s an unhealthy practice, but how do you do it differently? The rest of your list gave a little insight into how to turn around the negative behaviors, but that one didn’t – and that’s the one I can totally see myself getting into.