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7 Mistakes To Avoid When Making The Leap From Employment To Running Your Own Business
When you think of a small business owner, it’s often easy to think of them as being born to do it

You’ve all read the stories of successful business owners that started up a business at 13 years old in the school playground or on a market stall

The journey for a lot of small business owners can often be one of redundancy, being depressed from their 9-5 job or following a passion for years with very little income

Running a small business is hard work and over the past 5 years I’ve seen small business owners make the same repeated mistakes when making the leap from employment to self employment / running their own business

Here are the key mistakes to avoid

Bad Habits

Look at the most successful business owners in the world and they have one thing in common – they have daily habits that they stick to.

I’m not talking about the “10 Things Successful People Do Before Breakfast” style articles which suggests everyone should rise at 5am and be at the gym by 5.15am

It’s the day to day habits that you probably formed in the workplace that you carry over when working for yourself – things like the 5 minute cigarette break that turns into a 20 minute phone call to a friend, the kettle break that

turns into watching TV for half an hour, the pop out for lunch that ends up in a 2 hour shopping trip, thinking of friday as a “cheat day” from work that ends up at 4pm in the pub, thinking that work ends at 5pm and doesn’t start again till 9am the next day

It’s easy to take bad habits from the workplace and then amplify then as you have no boss to tell you not to it

Remember you can’t earn a full time income from working part time hours

TIP: Write down all the things you do that help your business grow – select 5-10 as your daily habits that you MUST do each day – give yourself a score at the end of each day

Jim Rohn Average Of 5 People Quote

“You’re The Average Of The Five People You Spend The Most Time With” – Jim Rohn

When your mum told you as a kid not to hang around with the wrong crowd, she was right!

Think about why you set up your own business. You wanted to change your life for the better, you wanted to follow your dreams and ultimately you didn’t want to end up like that person you sat next to each day in your previous job – the person who sat in the same seat for the past 20 years without promotion and just seemed to be plodding along aimlessly

And then you set up your own business – and every spare moment of your spare time is spend hanging around with the people “sat in the same seat for the past 20 years without promotion who are just plodding along aimlessly” that bitch about the life you tried to leave behind

As a small business owner you need to immerse yourself in the local business scene – your time needs to be spent with 2 types of people

– Your Peers – The people who set up business at the same time as you and can understand the highs and the lows of running a business because they’re going through exactly the same journey at the same time

– Successful Local Businesses – The people 5-10 years ahead of you on your journey who can help, advise and support you because they’ve gone through the growing pains of a business

TIP: It doesn’t matter if you’re a B2B or B2C business – get out to your local networking groups and network obsessively to build your team


You previously worked for a business that had a HR Department, Marketing Departments, Accounts Department, Legal Department, IT Department and a management team

Well as a small business owner – you’re trying to do the work of 20 people and the simple reality is – you can’t, no matter how much you tell yourself you can!

The core reason people are going to use your services is because what you do you do well and you’re an expert in your field

You are the best chef. You are the best accountant. You are the best florist. You are a specialist

Now imagine if your expertise and focus suffers because all your time is being spent doing other things in your business

If it’s something critical in your business that you can’t do well and it’s a function that can be outsourced – find a way to work the budget for it and outsource

TIP: Write down everything you need to do in your business, rate yourself honestly out of 10 for each task – play to your strengths and outsource the rest – it will be cheaper in the long term and your business will be more successful for it

Just Do It

Remember in your old job you used to have a team meeting where suggestions were made from the staff about improvements that could be make

And then you bitched and moaned for 2 years before anything actually was acted on

Well you’re now that person that’s not acting quickly enough on ideas you’ve thought of

A great idea is just that until it’s acted upon

I meet so many businesses that say “I’m gonna” and they never ever do – you probably have said it yourself – “I’m gonna get more customers, i’m gonna market more, i’m gonna introduce a new service, I’m gonna network more”. How many gonna’s have you actually done?

TIP: As Nike say – Just Do It – my whole business started because I said I’m gonna … and I acted that day … here we are years later a local success story

Hobby or Business Quote

Running your business is not an easy option compared to 9-5 employment

The hours are longer, the stress is greater, the responsibility is HUGE!!

But I do think many small business owners treat a business as a hobby, especially if they’re following their passions rather than purely doing it for a business

Regardless of what CSR plan or charity work you do outside your core business function – a business owner is defined as “Individual or entity who owns a business entity in an attempt to profit from the successful operations of the company. Generally has decision making abilities and first right to profit”

Is what you’re doing day to day in your business indicating it’s a very expensive hobby or an actual business?

TIP: Set Sales Targets – if you don’t know what you’re aiming for you don’t know how successful you are

Passive Income

I’ve never ever met a MLM rep who’s making a huge success of business by “just putting in a few hours a week”

The people that are making huge amounts out of MLM Schemes as either A) The person who set up the MLM Scheme or B) Someone working full time (and often more) on their MLM business

I know a few people who are involved in MLM Schemes – none of them will tell you, you can sit back and let the money roll in

If it get’s to that point 3 months / 6 months / 12 months and your business isn’t the success you want it to be – the answer is not to spend less time on your core business whilst joining up with a MLM scheme – the answer is the work smarter and harder on your core business

In the early days of your business you need to be laser focused on what you are known for – being known as an XYZ that also sells Arbonne, Utility Warehouse, herbalife or Juice Plus just muddies the water as to what your priorities are

TIP: Focus every single moment on YOUR business until every single person in your community knows what your name is and what your business does

Blame Game

You hold the ultimate responsibility for the success or failure of your business

Not the council

Not your friends and family

Not the local community who do or do not spend with you

Every single second you spend playing the blame game, you’re not focusing on the solutions to make your scenario better and your business a real success

It’s great when you get the backing and help of others and are a success because of them, but there’s also a victory in the fact you made a success despite of them

TIP: Every problem you face focus on the solution, not who’s fault it is and who to blame – there’s a positive that can be found in everything


If the above rings true for you and you want to chat to us about an effective marketing plan for your new business

Please call Alex on 07806774279 or email

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Alex McCann

Author Alex McCann

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