Even though we like to talk about how “different” us entrepreneurs are, we are still a lot like everyone else. It’s not just the 9-to-5-er’s that tend to self-sabotage their success, in fact, we might even do it more than they do! Self-sabotage is an interesting concept because it deals primarily with our subconscious thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
Why is it that people know what needs to get done to improve their health, wealth, or relationships but they just never seem to get around to doing anything about it? I mean, when it comes to health and fitness, we all know what needs to be done to lose weight. It’s simple. Eat healthy and move around.
Why is it that people go to a weekend-long seminar, come out of it with dozens of ideas, but never act on them? We hear the term “breakthrough” a lot in the personal development industry. People breaking through their fears, their limiting-beliefs, their circumstance, etc. but what are some of the most common things people actually do on a regular basis that end up causing them to fall off track from their goals?
That’s what we’re going to talk about today! The ways Entrepreneurs self-sabotage!
1. Falling into the Facebook and TV vortex!
Have you ever sat down at your computer to do something important on Facebook, like post an update on your business page, and before you know it, you look up at the clock and 30 minutes had gone by and you totally forgot to post on your business page? I know you wouldn’t do something like that… but it happens to the best of us.
The same goes for TV. Did you know that the average American watches four (4) hours of TV per DAY!!! That is insane! That’s almost 30-hours per week. People spend almost as much time in front of their TV as they do at work and then they complain about how they don’t get paid enough at work. It’s kinda silly when you put it like that, isn’t it? Over the course of one-year, the average American watches over 1,456-hours of television programming (28-hours/week X 52 weeks/year = 1,456-hours/year). Over the span of 7-years, 4-hours per week accumulates to over 10,190-hours sitting on the couch.
The real culprit really isn’t actually Facebook or your addicting TV series, it’s distraction. You may not even watch TV and Facebook might not interest you as much as it does other people, but you may spend 4-hours per day being distracted by something else, friends, family, magazines, movies, shopping, co-workers, etc.
Tip: Limit your distractions to less than 1-hour per day. Successful Entrepreneurs have the ability to cut out distraction and get things done.
2. Procrastination of Important Tasks
Not every Entrepreneur has a rock-solid work ethic. Entrepreneurs tend to be creators. When you don’t have a mean boss jumping on your back to meet deadlines, it’s really easy to become complacent.
Too often, important tasks are put off to the last minute and there ends up being that last-minute scramble to meet a deadline. In the end, something that could have gradually been completed over time becomes a source of stress in your life.
In our own businesses, sometimes our most important tasks don’t have solid deadlines. There are specific things that we all know we need to do in order to grow our business, but since the world wont end if we don’t take action by tomorrow, we tend to keep putting it off and putting it off.
Tip: Successful people prioritize important tasks and get them done early enough to ensure they produce their best work. Start early, finish strong.
3. Thinking that Multitasking is being Productive
Although it’s counter intuitive, studies have shown that multi-tasking actually decreases long-term productivity. Taking on too many tasks at any given point in time is detrimental to your level of productivity because your mind has to work extra hard to focus on several different things.
As Entrepreneurs, we often have to wear several different hats and develop skills in several different areas. It’s very easy to fall into the multi-tasking trap.
Tip: Take 5-10 minute breaks every 60-90 minutes to re-hydrate, re-energize, and re-hydrate your body and mind. Studies show you will see an increase in productivity and focus, long-term.
4. Over-promising & Under-delivering
This is a lesson that many small business owners and entrepreneurs have to experience first hand. In the beginning phases of your business, it’s easy to get over excited and promise delivery of products/services on too tight of a deadline, or to make your product/service sound better than it really is.
When I had my first commission-only sales position and I made a sale, I would tell my new customers that they would receive their product in 7-10 business days even though I knew they would actually get it in 3-4 days. It’s far better to set yourself up to look good and allow for a small margin of error, than to stress out and lose sleep to meet deadlines.
Tip: Under-promise & Over-deliver. Exceed your client’s expectations by setting the bar of expectations at a level you know you can easily exceed.
5. Having an Unclear Plan of Action
This is one of my favorite areas to talk about. Most business owners & entrepreneurs tend to wake up in the morning, go to their place of work whether it’s their office, desk, or coffee table at home, and they go throughout their day from a place of reaction. They take their day as it comes and are easily consumed by the tasks of the day.
I often work with my clients on creating a “not-to-do” list because to-do lists are often filled with items that really aren’t relevant or important to the growth of the business.
A clear plan of action is essential to establishing and growing a successful business. An action plan allows you to operate your business from a place of action and strength. An rock solid action plan is something that’s vertically integrated with your objectives, purpose, strategy, and tactics. If you are looking for assistance in the creation of your action plan or the development of your strategy, my product The Strategic Marketing Compass is a great resource.
Tip: Determine your goals and set up short-term and long-term action steps that will take you closer to your goals.
6. Being a Perfection Freak!
This is one of the most common areas of struggle that I see with business owners. Often times business owners pay too much attention to the details because they are trying to be perfect. As a result, I often have seen that they end up over-thinking the concept or challenge and end up dousing their creativity or miss the bigger picture.
In business, nothing is ever perfect. The marketplace is constantly shifting and evolving and there are always ways to improve your product, service, business model, and marketing. The problem that I see is that business owners and entrepreneurs spend, hours, weeks, months, and years trying to make their product perfect when they don’t even know if there is a demand for it because they haven’t marketed it yet.
An important distinction that I work with all of my high-level clients on is the difference between striving for perfection and striving for excellence. Your product or service doesn’t have to be perfect right out of the gates, it just has to be good enough to get the job done.
Tip: Strive for excellence not perfection in all that you do.
7. Having the “If you want something done right, do it yourself” Mentality
If you are looking to create a large-scale company that generates multiple six-figures of income, it’s very likely that you will need help. It’s definitely not impossible to create a six or seven figure business solo, but it’s definitely more fun to do it with a team of committed and passionate people.
Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates had Paul Allen, Mark Zuckerberg had Sean Parker, etc. If you look at any massively successful company, there is (or was) usually a team of people who made it happen.
Delegation, communication, and teamwork are essential skills that must be developed in order to scale your business to the next level. Having a team of people working for your business leverages your time. When you give up total control over every little aspect of your business and bring in the right people to help you run and grow it, you can be off in the Bahamas on a jet-ski in the ocean while your employees are busy working.
That age-old saying, “If you want something done right, do it yourself” is a one that takes some entrepreneurs (like me) a while to erase from their head. To be fully transparent, this is something that I am still working on to this day! When I started my marketing company several years ago, we had a team of interns that were supposed to boost our productivity level and allow me to focus solely on important tasks; but, the intern team ended up submitting sub-par work that ultimately had to be re-done. There was literally a 3-month window of time where I thought our intern team was rocking it, but we came to discover that 90% of what they had completed had to all be thrown out. This really didn’t help me with this “If you want it done right, do it yourself” mentality, that’s for sure!
Tip: Allow your team members to perform tasks that match their strengths. Delegation allows you to focus solely on setting up systems and scaling your business.
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Blog post inspired by: http://www.blogtrepreneur.com/2013/01/23/10-little-things-entrepreneurs-do-to-sabotage-success/