Even though we like to talk about how “different” us entrepreneurs are, we are still a lot like everyone else; more so than we would really like to admit. 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, our feelings, our emotions and patterns we’ve unintentionally developed over our life-span. No one intentionally wants to sabotage their own success, but once you become aware of some of the common ways people do self-sabotage, you will notice it and be able to course correct.
That’s what we’re going to talk about today! The various ways we entrepreneurs self-sabotage!
1. Distraction attraction
Come on, let’s face it. We’ve all had those moments where we sat down at our computer to do something important, but, before we started we just had to check our Facebook page and before you knew it, 45 minutes had gone by and were still stalking your friends on Facebook. It’s called getting hit by the run-away Facebook train. It happens to the best of us.
The same goes for any other mindless web browsing, and especially TV. Did you know that the average American watches four (4) hours of TV per DAY!!! That is absolutely insane! Four hours per day equates to almost 30-hours per week!
That means that the average American spends almost as much time in front of their TV as they do at their job; it sounds outrageous when it’s put like that, doesn’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 almost 10,200-hours of sitting on the couch.
10,200 hours is equivalent to 255 forty-hour work weeks, wasted.
And then people turn around and complain about how they don’t get paid enough at work, or how they are struggling to get ahead financially. Well, I’ll tell you that successful people didn’t get paid to sit in front of their TV.
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.
The bottom-line is that distraction, whatever form of it you fancy, plays a HUGE role in the way most people are sabotaging their own success.
Tip: Consciously limit all distractions to less than 1-hour per day. Successful Entrepreneurs and business people have the ability to cut out distraction and get things done.
2. Procrastination of important tasks & getting caught up in busy work
Not every Entrepreneur has a rock-solid work ethic. Entrepreneurs tend to be very creative and big-picture oriented people, which means they are usually very good at starting things, but not very good at executing them.
Those tendencies, mixed with the fact that you don’t have a boss jumping down your back to meet deadlines, make it really easy to become complacent and procrastinate.
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 won’t implode if we don’t take action by tomorrow, we tend to keep putting it off, and putting it off.
Too often, important tasks are put off to the very last minute which causes there to be a 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.
Tip: Successful people prioritize 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 may be counter intuitive, studies have shown that multi-tasking actually decreases long-term productivity. Taking on too many tasks at the same time is detrimental to your level of productivity. Multitasking causes your mind has to work extra hard to focus on several different things at once.
Entrepreneurs often wear several different hats within their business and end up developing skills in multiple areas of their business. When you develop skills in multiple areas of your business it’s very easy to fall into the multi-tasking trap.
Tip: Take 5-10 minute breaks every 60-90 minutes to stretch, re-energize, and re-hydrate your body. Studies show you will see a long-term increase in productivity and focus when done consistently.
4. Over-promising & under-delivering
Unfortunately, this concept is a lesson that many small business owners and entrepreneurs have to experience first hand. In the beginning phases of your business, it’s really easy to get over excited and promise the 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.
Over-promising or over-hyping may help generate revenue today, but it will not help your business long-term. One thing every person in your company should be doing is finding creative ways to WOW customers and turn them into brand advocates.
Tip: Under-promise & Over-deliver. Exceed your client’s expectations by setting the bar of expectations at a level you know you can exceed.
5. Having an unclear plan of action
Most business owners & entrepreneurs tend to wake up in the morning, go to into their office, and go throughout their day operating from a place of reaction. They take their day as it comes and are easily consumed by the tasks and to-do’s of the day.
An action plan allows you to operate your business from a place of action and strength. A clear plan of action is essential to establishing and growing a successful business. One of the most important components of this is having a very clear objective that you are working towards.
Tip: Set a clear objective and constantly ask yourself, “Does this take me closer to my objective?”. If the answer is, “Yes” then do it. If the answer is, “No” then don’t do it.
6. Being a perfection freak!
This is one of the most common areas business owners sabotage their success. Often times business owners pay too much attention to minor details and, as a result, end up over-thinking things, dousing their creativity or even causing themselves to miss an opportunity entirely
In business, nothing is ever “perfect”. The marketplace is constantly shifting and evolving. Especially with how fast technology is advancing, things change overnight. There will always be ways to improve your product, service, business model, and marketing campaigns. The key is to generate revenue with your product or service to fund the innovation and growth of your idea.
The problem lies in the fact that many business owners and entrepreneurs spend, hours, weeks, months, and years trying to make their product perfect when they don’t even know if there’s an actual demand for their product because they haven’t marketed it yet to see if people will actually pay for their product.
Perfection is evasive. Strive for excellence in all that you do, and you will be massively successful.
Tip: Your product or service doesn’t have to be perfect right out of the gates, it just has to be good enough. Make it better while you’re generating revenue.
7. Having the “If you want something done right, do it yourself” mentality
If you are looking to create a company that generates high six-figures or seven-figures of income, it’s very likely that you will need to build a team to support the essential functions of the business. While it’s definitely possible to create a six or seven figure business as a one-man show, it’s much more likely that you will need to hire people to run certain aspects of your business.
Bill Gates had Paul Allen, Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak, Mark Zuckerberg had Sean Parker, etc. If you look at any massively successful company, there was usually a team of people who helped bring the business to life.
Having a team of people working for your business leverages your time. When you give up total control of every little aspect of your business and bring in the right people to help your business grow, you can be off in the Bahamas, on a jet-ski in the ocean, while your employees are busy working. Delegation, communication, and teamwork are essential skills that must be developed in order to scale your business to the next level.
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.
Tip: Delegation allows you to focus on important business-scaling things like setting up systems and processes. Allow your team members to perform tasks that match their strengths.
Blog post inspired by: http://www.blogtrepreneur.com/2013/01/23/10-little-things-entrepreneurs-do-to-sabotage-success/