3 Mistakes to avoid as an entrepreneur

Being your own boss has its perks.

But it also comes with a level of pressure to get the job done and wear every single hat while doing so. Secretary, IT specialists, events planner, appointment planner, follow-up master, and revenue generator …the list goes on.

I remember leaving the corporate world, and it was scary. That is the world I was familiar with, and knew I was good at my job. I was comfortable with a secure income, but I wasn’t happy.

The entrepreneur lifestyle

It’s not exactly one I was unfamiliar with. There were entrepreneurs in my family, so I had an idea of what owning a business was all about. I was unsatisfied with the future and opportunities laid out for me in the corporate world. That’s the reason I decided to embark on my own entrepreneurial journey. Celebrating my anniversary was a big deal. I made it to year three with as much drive as I had the day I started SmartCat Marketing.

In these three years, I’ve learned a lot; particularly lessons I wish I’d never had to learn. But we all make mistakes and owning a business is certainly full of them. That’s how we learn. That’s what makes us authentic teachers and coaches.

In this blog post, I pass along a little bit of my own knowledge to you, the reader.

Let’s jump right in to …

The top 3 mistakes to avoid as an entrepreneur:

Mistake #1: Expecting to become an entrepreneurial “Super Nova”

What is a super nova, you ask? It’s a star that suddenly increases greatly in brightness because of a catastrophic explosion.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but you and your business will not become a sensation overnight. Growing a business takes time. It takes planning, strategizing, more planning, and strategy adjustments. It takes hours. It takes determination.

Counting your followers on social media may have the potential to make you feel popular, but all too often disappointment sets in as you realize that your number of followers don’t always equate to revenue or success. It takes marketing plugged into an effective sales process, and testing strategy after strategy until you find what works best.

I hear plenty of talk from entrepreneurs who only focus on their marketing but fall short when it comes to implementing a revenue-generating sales process. Sales and marketing go together hand in hand. It’s the jam to the peanut butter. The ketchup to the french fry. The finishing touch to it all is the reporting system you use to monitor how business is progressing.

Mistake#2: Collecting relationships rather than building relationships

Growing a business takes a key element which is often overlooked – trust. I have discussed this in other blogs and many times on Instagram. Trust is earned. You can’t buy trust.
When you’re out at a networking event are you a) a business card collector or b) a builder who engages through meaningful conversation with a few quality connections? Do you have a collection of business cards somewhere and but can’t remember for the life of you who is on each card? If you don’t know who they are, you may be a collector.

How about your business coffee dates? Do you court someone at length and when they don’t buy anything, do you drop them and move on? Coffee dates can be time wasters if you don’t have a purpose for the meeting. If your only reason is to sell something to the person sitting across from you, you might be a collector.

News flash: if you spend that hour over coffee building a relationship with that person, and develop trust among one another, you may potentially have someone who supports you and sends you referrals. The opposite affect will happen if you suddenly don’t have the time to engage with this person. The chances of that person trusting you will most likely fade. Good luck getting that back. Your business community is smaller than you think. Build relationships. Be authentic. Be patient.

Mistake #3: Replacing self-awareness with self-centered-ness

Success means different things to different people. It can mean a dollar value, life balance, shorter working hours, the feeling of self worth and accomplishment, or having the monetary means to help communities on a global scale.

To be self-aware means you have done your own SWOT analysis. This is a strategy process which identifies the positives and negatives of your business model or venture. As an entrepreneur, you should do it for yourself. Begin this process by asking yourself: what are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to your business?

Be aware of your own skills and what they look like in terms of your business model. Be aware of your social style. How you interact with people will heavily impact your success and growth of your business – positively or negatively.

You can avoid these mistakes through actively building your knowledge and expertise. As a new business owner/ entrepreneur, you’re about to embark on an exciting and challenging journey. There is much to learn and mistakes will be made. Think of it as a right of passage. It makes your business growth story that much more inspiring. At the end of the day, people want to know what hurdles you’ve faced, the challenges you’ve overcome, and the accomplishments that pushed you forward.

Consider a successful entrepreneur who you know personally or have heard of and admire. I’ll bet that not only did they have a great marketing strategy in place, but they also had a sales system to sell their product or service.

If you feel you have a pretty good marketing strategy but realize you’re not capturing visitor emails, failing to check your analytics, or are unsure whether your message is speaking to the right customer you’re making mistakes that will hinder your business growth.

Smart Sales Essentials

This series of workshops that I have developed from years of sales experience will help you identify and get new clients. It’s my no-sleaze approach to sales. We’ll focus on how you can build better relationships through your diverse interactions and engagement with potential clients. Through becoming more self-aware of our behaviour and our reactions, I’ll show you how these easy strategies and changes will make all the difference in how many appointments you book or sales you close.

Interested in taking your business to the next level and locking down some new, quality clients? Click Smart Sales Essentials 101 to sign up for my comprehensive workshop.

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Nicole Gallant

Nicole Gallant is the lead marketing strategist and long-time sales professional connecting buyers to sellers for 20+ years. Buyer behaviour is definitely her jam. She helps you generate sales with content rich websites, crystal clear offers and effective social media plans. The trick is knowing which words trigger curiosity and interest with your brand and which words to avoid. She coaches entrepreneurs how to #ditchthepitch and stop using ego-centric content. Learn more about me »


  1. Vanessa on September 28, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    So true! Relationship collectors are not genuinely interested in getting to know you, your needs or even your business. They are too hung up on the sale. Case in point. Met someone at an event. Was asked for my card. Gave it out. Then the calls started….bombarding me with sales pitch after sales pitch on what they offered etc. At one point they even admitted they could not remember if they even gave me a card as they gave out so many at that event! Fast forward. At another event, see the same person and they have no idea who I am. Please take the time to build those relationships! You will be far more successful.

  2. Nicole Gallant on October 1, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    Thanks for sharing your experience Vanessa. It certainly doesn’t feel genuine. This person wasn’t interested in getting to know you but ,instead, the goal was simply to sell you something. Effective sales is not sleazy and shouldn’t make you uncomfortable.

  3. Paul Gérin on October 1, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    Great read. Thanks for sharing. Having worked with a few Entrepreneurs from all stages of Business development – it would be nice for them to do a self reflection after year 1, 3 and 5. Be honest with yourself. I collect and I build – but in my role I can do both, but I value the built relationships more as when I need subject matter experts – I know who I can reach out and/or give a client a referral to a company as I know the company and the person (owner).

  4. Nicole Gallant on October 1, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    Thanks Paul. For myself, when I write up my business plan for the following year, lots of reflection goes into it. What worked, what didn’t, what needs focus. Are there knowledge gaps that need to be addressed?
    What goals need fine tuning, and so on. I know that the people I go to , for advice, are people I have developed relationships with , are subject matter experts and people that I like and trust. Being honest with yourself is great advice.

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