Have you ever noticed how weed killer destroys weeds? You spray it on one day, and in the following days the weed slowly decays, crumbles, withers, and dies.
Excuses do the same thing to aspiring entrepreneurs.
“I don’t have time.”
“I don’t have money.”
“I don’t have an idea.”
“I don’t know how.”
These are the four infamous and deadly excuses that will prevent you from starting and growing your own business (and achieving your dreams, in general). Excuses are ‘weed killers’, that will slowly destroy you, your business, and your dreams over time.
When you wanted to go to college, did ‘money’ prevent you from getting that $30,000 a year education? No, you borrowed some from Uncle Sam (the Government), your parents, and the bank, and paid for some of it yourself.
When you wanted to watch the midnight showing of that movie, did staying up until midnight prevent you from going and watching it? No. Isn’t your dream more important than a movie? Stay up a little later and work on your dream.
When we need to get something done – or when we want to do something badly enough – we find a way to get it done.
Excuses are self-destructive killers, waiting to ZAP the life and energy out of you and crush your dreams. When we don’t want something badly enough, we make excuses. Tear the excuses out of your way just like you would tear down the mosquito trying to bite you. The mosquito wants to suck the blood out of you; excuses want to suck the dreams out of you.
2. Lack of patience and discipline
If you plant tomato seeds in your garden tonight, will you have tomatoes grown by the end of the week? Absolutely not.
But if you plant seeds today, water them, give them sunlight, and remove the weeds, you will eventually have a fruitful garden in time.
Results take time to develop, just like seeds. Too many people expect results too soon and give up when the results don’t arrive within their timeframe.
Patience is magic, but nobody wants to drink that potion.” – Gary Vaynerchuck
Success in any area of life (including business) requires patience and discipline. Patience to stay focused and committed to seeing the harvest from our work, and discipline to actually do the work each day.
The dictator of business success is consistency and discipline. Everything else can be learned, but it is SO hard to be consistent and disciplined.” – Dale Partridge
3. Refusing to pivot
Sometimes, you need to adjust your how in order to achieve your goal.
I like how my friend Jon puts it:
Persistence does not mean continually running into a dead end and hoping it will magically transform into an open road. Persistence means that no matter how many dead ends you run into, you still search for alternative routes.” (from Created To Create)
Be resilient and diligent, but if your current approach is continually not working, consider the alternative routes you could take to achieve your goal.
If you want to be a full-time entrepreneur, but your doll making business isn’t quite working, maybe it’s time to try a new market or a new product. Keep the dream alive, adjust the how.
Thomas C. Corley nails it straight on:
Self-made millionaires are persistent. They never quit on their dream. They would rather go down with the ship than quit. Twenty-seven percent of the self-made millionaires in my study failed at least once in business. And then they picked themselves up and went on to try again. They persisted. These millionaires learned to pivot and change course, growing in the process. Persistence allowed them to learn what didn’t work and continuously experiment, until they found what did work. Persistence is the single greatest contributor to manifesting good luck. Those who persist, eventually get lucky.”
Be persistent, but know when it’s time to pivot and change course in order to achieve your goal.
4. Not following up with leads
A lot of new freelancers and aspiring entrepreneurs make a common mistake: not following up with leads.
It’s a costly mistake, one that I used to make myself. In my opinion, there is more money “left on the table” due to poor follow-up than almost any other lead generation or lead nurturing technique.
For example, I once was going to pay a new music producer $750 for an instrumental track he created. I was looking for a new intro/outro music for my podcast at the time, and I overheard him working on this sick beat while I was visiting the office he worked at.
A random meeting turned potential business opportunity for this guy.
I asked if he was interested in selling the instrumental track, and he said that he was. We exchanged names, phone numbers, and email address, and continued the conversation over text messaging. We got to a point in our conversation where he was going to email me a contract to review and sign, and then… it never happened.
$750 left on the table, due to poor follow-up.
This music producer should have kept after me and followed up. I told him I was interested and willing to buy, and he didn’t send me a contract (or any other message) to close the deal.
As a rule of thumb, you should follow up with a prospect until they explicitly say something along the lines of, “Please stop calling me! I am no longer interested.” (And even then, you may want to check in 1-2x a year to see if they’ve changed their mind.)
Fear may be the biggest reason for self-sabotage. Whether it’s fear of failure, making mistakes, or something else, fear causes many of us to not even try.
As someone once said, “Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.” The only way to know if your business idea will succeed is to go for it, work diligently, get real-world feedback from the market, and know when it’s time to pivot. Be wise, resilient, and take calculated risks. Don’t let fear call the shots in your life.
- Tear down all excuses: don’t let excuses kill your dreams or stop you from taking action.
- Be patient and disciplined in your work: results take time to grow.
- Be resilient and persistent, but know when it’s time to pivot and change course in order to achieve your goal.
- Follow up like a boss: don’t give up until the prospect clearly states that they are no longer interested, and asks you to stop contacting them.
- Recognize fear, and don’t let it hold you hostage. Remember this quote: “Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.”
What bad habits do you think entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs need to avoid? Add your thoughts to the comments below.