Every self-employed entrepreneur wants greater success, but many of us make typical mistakes we may not be aware of. Here are some tips to help you move past those mistakes from my own experiences.
In 2017 I took a 1-week trip to help out a few family members. In the process, I managed to find several great coffee shops that were much less burdensome than major marking cash cow shops.
I got SO much accomplished and learned a great deal about business development in that one week I decided to extend my trip and ended up staying for 8 months.
In the process of visiting the coffee shop and a few others, I always managed to be sitting near others having a business meeting.
Usually, owners aim to be successful self-employed black entrepreneurs with someone soliciting them for their business or them interviewing someone for a job. I was not eavesdropping as much as overhearing the conversations (OK, maybe I was eavesdropping).
I’ve made some of the very mistakes that the owners were talking about and about to dive in and get a hard lesson themselves.
Without disclosing who said what, here are some of the things I heard…
GROW Your Business – Avoid These Typical Business Owner Mistakes That Make Life HELL!
There are certain things that we may not be aware of that could be hurting our business. Here are a few tips to help you along the way. I wouldn’t say that being a business owner is hard work as much as it can be challenging.
As we all know, if you love what you do and do what you love, it’s never “work,” But it can certainly take a lot out of you when you are self-employed.
Nevertheless, certain things can get in the way of your self-employed progress, some of which can literally make you not want to work for the rest of the day, But on the other end of that spectrum, there are things that we do that we’re not aware of the make people not want to work with us.
There are certain things that you should avoid and, At the same time, Should not allow others to do when it affects business On both sides.
But Let’s focus on you And your business for the story – Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years that can make your business run a lot smoother here, and I hope these steps help.
DISRESPECTFUL: DON’T BRING AN ASSISTANT OR ANYONE ELSE TO A PLANNED BUSINESS MEETING WITHOUT TELLING THE OTHER PARTY.
I’ve had this happen on a couple of occasions, and while others may not mind, I find it very rude and inconsiderate.
If you’re going to bring someone else to a lunch meeting or dinner meeting, be considerate enough to let the other self-employed business person know. Respect their time.
They may want to discuss something with you that is not privy to other people, or they may have questions for you. As you sit at the table with another business person as an equal, it is disrespectful and off-putting to bring your assistant or someone else to take notes or to join in on the conversation as an equal.
The bottom line is at least give the other person the option to say no, I want to talk to you alone by letting them know in advance.
It comes off as grandstanding and very diva-like. Nobody is that busy, and if you are, you shouldn’t have lunch with another businessperson.
CHEAPSKATE: DON’T ASK FOR FREE OR DISCOUNTED SERVICES; PUT YOURSELF IN THE OTHER PERSON’S POSITION
What I find most amazing about people who ask for discounts is that they are often the same ones who overcharge others for their own services. They expect premium rates but want to pay self-employed individuals peanuts. It is incredibly selfish to ask someone who works hard for what they have to cut their rates for you and try to make them feel obligated, as if they owe you something.
In the black community, which I have the most experience with, there is a sense of entitlement when it comes to business and the self-employed, where some people expect to be given special treatment. However, no matter how you look at it, that’s exactly how it comes off. If I work hard for what I have and provide a great service, then you need to pay the price like everybody else and show some appreciation.
Asking for discounts or free services can negatively affect your business and disrupt the mutual support within your community.
Once you start attracting corporate clients willing to pay full price for your services, it becomes challenging to return to offering discounts or giving away services for free. Sometimes, it’s necessary to walk away from certain business opportunities in order to grow.
BULLYING: DON’T BRING UP PAST FAVORS AS A MEANS OF MANIPULATION
Some people will do you a favor or help your business and expect you to give them something free for the rest of your business’s existence, making you pay them back excessively. When someone does you a favor or supports your business in a way that involves a third party, it’s important to show gratitude and wrap up the situation promptly. Be cautious of individuals who use favors as leverage and expect ongoing compensation.
Remember, there is no such thing as a truly free lunch. In fact, the price for a “free lunch” is often higher because hidden agendas are involved. Moreover, those who continuously play the middleman without introducing you to the source hinder your ability to develop direct relationships. Don’t feel guilty or obligated to these individuals; prioritize your business interests.
PIMP: AVOID BEING EXPLOITED BY “HELPFUL” BUT GREEDY MIDDLEMEN
This point ties into the previous one. Some people will try to exploit your business by acting as the middleman, bringing you clients but controlling the money flow through themselves. They collect a substantial percentage for themselves and pay you a fraction of what you should earn. It’s crucial to find a way to connect directly with the clients or customers who have the financial power. Bitcoin and new media concepts have been instrumental in eliminating unnecessary intermediaries.
It’s worth noting that many celebrities who go broke often fall victim to unscrupulous middlemen who take advantage of their trust and bankrupt them through excessive charges. Middlemen often prioritize their interests over yours, so it’s important to be aware of this and not leave money on the table.
DISRUPTION-FREE WORK: SET BOUNDARIES AND PROTECT YOUR TIME
Many people hold misconceptions about self-employed black entrepreneurs, assuming they don’t work or are always available because they do what they love. While there may be some truth to enjoying the work, it doesn’t mean we’re not constantly busy and working tirelessly. Getting interrupted by phone calls or texts, especially from family members, can disrupt your workflow and reduce your productivity for days or weeks.
WASTING MONEY: KEEP A KEEN EYE ON YOUR BANK, CREDIT CARD STATEMENTS, AND BILLS
Towards the end of the year or during tax time, you may wonder where all your money went. One area that often goes unnoticed is the presence of mistakes, erroneous charges, and unused subscriptions on your bills and credit card statements each month. It’s crucial to pay closer attention to these details.
These small issues can accumulate over time, costing you hundreds of dollars each month and thousands of dollars annually. If your money isn’t working for you, then it’s being wasted. In the near future, I will discuss the importance of investing in a separate story.
Online services tend to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers. They entice you with a free trial period of 30 days, and if you forget to cancel, they automatically lock you into a one-year contract. Even if you decide to cancel after the initial 30 days, they charge you for the remainder of the year.
I strongly recommend two things to avoid falling into this trap for the self-employed. Firstly, as soon as you pay for or sign up for a service, immediately schedule a reminder in your calendar with an alarm for the 28th or 29th day before the month ends. This way, you’ll receive a warning the day before the cancellation deadline.
Secondly, consider using PayPal for your transactions.
Connecting your PayPal account to your bank account limits the amount of personal information shared with the recipients. Unlike credit card payments, PayPal offers excellent support in retrieving your money in various situations, and you can cancel subscriptions directly through the PayPal platform.
One of the benefits of using PayPal is that it holds significant influence in the online payment industry. Companies fear potential consequences if PayPal were to take action against them, which makes them more inclined to refund your money, even if you simply threaten to report them.
For example, I once ordered a hosting service after being convinced by a company that claimed to provide better service at half the price compared to my current provider. They also assured me of a 30-day money-back guarantee if I wasn’t satisfied. Unfortunately, the service didn’t meet my expectations, so I requested a refund within a week.
To my surprise, they refused, stating that they did not offer refunds and insisted I pay for the entire year if I wanted to cancel. I immediately contacted PayPal, and a week later, the company sent me an email offering to refund my money if I withdrew the complaint with PayPal. I declined their offer, received my refund through PayPal, and they received a strike. Unfortunately, they may be accustomed to ripping people off without repercussions.
Thinking twice before subscribing to services you don’t need is essential. Take a few minutes to research before purchasing apps, as you may find equivalent services available for free from other companies.
NOT HAVING IT: WHEN PEOPLE DON’T GET WHAT THEY WANT FROM YOU, THEY ATTACK AND FIGHT BACK WHEN IT COMES TO YOU BEING SELF-EMPLOYED AND YOUR BUSINESS
In business as a self-employed entreprneur, there will be times when individuals who don’t get what they want from you resort to downgrading your business. This behavior is a form of bullying.
They may make you feel inadequate by claiming that nobody is interested in your business or that your ideas are outdated. However, it’s important to remember that their actions stem from disappointment over not receiving what they desired. Don’t let their negativity undermine your self-worth or disrupt the flow of your vision and business.
NEVER HIRE FRIENDS
While it is not impossible or universally problematic, I have experienced challenges hiring friends.
Hiring friends often creates complications because they may believe you are obligated to assist them, and they treat you accordingly. They may provide excuses, take their time to complete tasks, and request additional favors that are time-consuming and inconvenient for you, such as dropping off money at their bank. Moreover, they may ignore your instructions and prefer doing things their way, reacting negatively when you voice concerns.
For instance, I have one friend whom I hired, and she is skilled at her work. However, she consistently expects me to handle tasks like standing in line at the bank and providing her account number because she refuses to use PayPal due to the associated fees. It is unreasonable for me to be obliged to wait in line and pay her in another state.
I finally told her the need to either set up a PayPal account, use Zelle with her bank account, or wait for a check to arrive by mail in two weeks to a month. Establishing boundaries and not sacrificing convenience when dealing with friends is crucial, as they may resist such limitations.
KEEP YOUR BUSINESS PLANS TO YOURSELF
Although there are times when we achieve significant success and wish to share it with our friends, it is generally not advisable to do so. It is wise to exercise caution and refrain from discussing ongoing business plans, as you never know who might inadvertently disclose sensitive information to a competitor or unintentionally sabotage your efforts.
The fewer people know about your business plans, the better. Save discussions for when your plans have come to fruition. There are countless other topics you can engage in conversation about besides your business. It is not a good idea to openly discuss your business with other black entrepreneurs.
TO WHOM MUCH IS GIVEN, KNOW YOUR LIMITS: YOU ARE NOT A CONTAINER FOR NEGATIVITY
The great Maya Angelou once said, “When people show you who they are, believe them!” She was absolutely right. Negative individuals can drain you emotionally and mentally and devastate your self-employed journey. It is essential to distance yourself from those who seek to use you as a receptacle for their negativity. Consider seeking the support of a therapist.
By the way, this is not a bad idea for black entrepreneurs either. Discussing your trials and tribulations with a therapist can be beneficial. However, remember not to become a receptacle for someone else’s emotional and mental burdens.
For more tips and inspiration, follow me on Instagram @blogwallet or on Twitter @blogwallet. Wishing you all the best in your business endeavors. Please like, share, follow us, and feel free to respond to any comments below.