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10 Stupid Mistakes Made by the Newly Self-employed

By Edited May 24, 2016 18 55


The Newly self-employed tend to make many mistakes.

Here are 10 stupid mistakes that are often made be newly self-employed people.

Don't make the same mistakes.

10. Laziness

Being self-employed will usually allow you to make your own schedule. If you have a Dentist appointment then you can be sure that you will be able to make it and not have to worry about your work schedule. The problem with many newly self-employed people is that they may decide to lounge on the couch watching Television instead of actually working. You need to get into the habit of actually working hard. If you struggle with this then it may help to pretend that you have a boss and imagine what he would tell you to do.

9. Distractions

When you work for yourself it is easy to get distracted. Instead of actually working you spend your day on Facebook, checking your email, playing Angry Birds, and reading Wikipedia articles. You need to force yourself to work and eliminate as many distractions as you can. It is vital that you prioritize the work you need to do in order to make a profit.

8. No Business Plan or Mission Statement

Original Yahoo Business Plan

You need a business plan, or at least a mission statement. Regardless of how small your business is a business plan and a mission statement will help you to keep you business on track. We can often get distracted and focus on aspects of the daily grind that in reality have no bearing on our business. Expand you customer base, but keep a watchful eye on your business plan to ensure you do not shy away from your core business. Business Plans can however need to be re-written and changed around in some cases. Only you know what is best for you self-employment, however you do need to have at least a mission statement you can refer to and also get inspired from.

7. No Work Area Away From the Family

Home Office(92154)

If you work from home it is easy to get distracted by your spouse and children. It is imperative that you set up a work area or office that is dedicated solely for your work. When you are working your friends and family need to understand that they should not ever disturb you unless it is an emergency. It is hard to work when every 5 minutes you kids come in and need something from you. If you worked cooking burgers at McDonald’s your family wouldn’t be coming back into the kitchen area every few minutes, so they should not do it if you work for yourself, regardless of whether you work from home or in a location somewhere else.

6. Hating Your Business


If you are self-employed then it is going to be important as to if you enjoy your niche or not. If you hate carpet, hate manual labor, and hate chemical smells then you will hate yourself if you open up a carpet cleaning business. If you love your job then you will be more apt to work hard and still be able to enjoy yourself while you work.

5. Selling to Friends and Family

Mad Girl

If you start a business where you will be direct selling to customers, then you need to have a potential customer base that does not include your friends and family. If you start of by hounding your family to buy your products they will begin to avoid you and hate your business. If on the other hand you begin to sell your quality product to customers, your friends and family will also be more apt to buy products from you. If your friends and family ask you to buy your product without you trying to “hard sell” your products to them, then they are much more likely to use positive word of mouth to spread your products to even more customers. Positive word of mouth is one of the most valuable and effective ways of getting free advertising for your business.

4. Not Advertising

Old Hat Ad Funny

Many new business owners will not advertise in order to conserve their cash flow. Although saving money and not wasting it is vital, you still have to advertise. How can customers find you if you do hot advertise? Make sure you also advertise in a venue and method that will work for your business.  If you build webpage’s for local bars, then you obviously do not need to Advertise during the Super Bowl. Craigslist works for many businesses and it is free, however you may find that you get more results by paid advertising such as in your local newspaper.

3. High Rent Office

Transamerica Pyramid

If you are a new tech company that consists of only a few employees, then there is no need to rent extremely high-priced office space in Downtown San Francisco. You can open up you office in an area where the rent is cheap. You are not a retail store so you do not have to have prime space. You simply need a working space and by saving money you will give yourself better odds of succeeding by not being undercapitalized.

2. Quit After Failing

Man Under Water

Most successful business owners have had multiple failures in the business world before they became successful. Instead of looking at a business failure as a loss, you should instead be looking at failure as a learning experience and then move on to your next business and you will have much better odds of succeeding. If you fail working for yourself then you should not quit. You may have to go work for someone else for awhile, but never give up on working for yourself. You need to have not only a good idea for a business, but also the confidence to know that it truly can work.

1. Under-Funded

Wad of Cash

If you are under-funded then the odds of your business failing will skyrocket. If you cannot afford to buy advertising, then your business may not get any customers. If you cannot afford to upgrade your web server when you website becomes more popular than your business may fail because the website will crash and that will lead to no customers and no sales. It is extremely important that you have enough capital to keep your business running smoothly.

If you plan on quitting your job and simply working from home as a 1 man operation it is still important that you have some money in the bank saved up. If you are stressing about how to pay your monthly bills then your odds of having a successful career as a self-employed person will collapse.

Your comments about big mistakes are welcomed.
You are very welcome to make some comments about the mistakes made by newly self-employed.
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Mar 30, 2012 3:00am
Wow, you hit the nail on the head with this list. Being self employed can be a great opportunity IF you don't forget to treat it like a business. Great job, thanks for this reminder!
Mar 30, 2012 4:47am
Thank you for your comment.
Mar 30, 2012 8:06am
I love this. I would love to add that when you are self employed you are a Brand, regardless of whether you are selling products or writing information articles, you are your companies reputation. If you have an awful demeanour and are rude and abrupt, word will soon spread and client base will drop.
Mar 30, 2012 3:22pm
Great list. I am guilty of #7 and #8, but now I'm on it. Occasionally #10 too, although lately I've been at it pretty hard. I especially like the mission statement idea. Especially for writers, it is so easy to get spread too thin and forget why you even started.
Mar 31, 2012 4:50am
A Mission Statement Is an Awesome idea for us writers!
Mar 31, 2012 5:05am
To Ddraig, CRRookwood, and Ernie. Thank you for your comments!
Mar 31, 2012 3:52pm
Great list! Definitely a good reminder of what not to do. Have you ever seen the Las Vegas commercial (it's on youtube)? I suppose the point of that one is not to listen to loud music while looking at pictures of your crazy LV excursion. :)
Mar 31, 2012 4:04pm
Thanks for your comment! No, I haven't seen that commercial, but I get your point.
Apr 1, 2012 5:50pm
Great list that anyone thinking of going into a business should keep on their desk, bulletin board and one in their pocket just in case they forget anything.
Apr 1, 2012 5:56pm
Thank you! Yes, maybe I forgot to point out: "Make and Keep a List"
Apr 3, 2012 9:26am
Great article. I've off to write a mission statement!
Apr 3, 2012 2:58pm
Thank you for your comment. Yes, a mission statement is a MUST! But many don't do it anyway.
Apr 7, 2012 11:43am
I'm guilty of No. 9 and No. 7. This is a good checklist each self-employed person should read once in a while. Thanks!
Apr 9, 2012 10:55am
I agree that distractions caused by the family being in the work area are very common mistakes.
Apr 9, 2012 11:04am
Heh was reading this and going "Ops, I did that" :) 2 years later, and still wondering about when I'll write my business plan.
Apr 11, 2012 5:45am
Thank you for your comment. Well, don't wait 2 more years - you should write one now, and (maybe) revise it 2 years from now.
Apr 15, 2012 9:33am
Great article for those who are self employed. I am rather guilty. I have bouts of number 10, frequent 9's (which is why I am here in the first place :-P ), unwritten 8's, and am a definitely number 7 smack dab in the living room. But some of these things I can change and I can't move my workspace. :-P
Apr 15, 2012 5:07pm
Thank you for your comment! Well, ow you are aware of some of your 'guilt spots' then it is up to yourself when and if you want to do something about it.
Apr 21, 2012 2:36am
Other mistakes include rushing out to buy new office furniture and equipment, and spending money on incorporating the business before getting your first customers or proving the concept.
Apr 23, 2012 3:56am
I agree that many make these mistakes.
Apr 21, 2012 4:51am
That was a really good article. Like some of the others are saying, I can see myself slipping on a few of those and I really need to nip it in the bud now.
Apr 23, 2012 3:57am
Thank you for your comment.
Apr 21, 2012 5:46am
I've been self employed for about a year now. Glad I didn't quit!
Apr 23, 2012 3:58am
Congratulations, and good luck in the year to come.
Apr 23, 2012 10:00am
Thank you!
Apr 23, 2012 10:00am
Thank you!
Apr 21, 2012 6:42am
You are correct. These mistakes also include those that are not self-employed. Good information.
Apr 21, 2012 7:22am
Numbers 7, 8, 9, and 10 are my biggest issues at the moment. My only goal at the moment is to make my first dollar per month here, on InfoBarrel. Maybe that will help me with number 2 as well as 7, 8, 9, and 10. Thanks for the good info!
Apr 23, 2012 3:58am
Thank you for your comment!
Apr 21, 2012 12:16pm
I think a lot of people think that working for themselves will be easier than having a boss standing over you, but it isn't it's a lot more difficult.
Good article. Cheers.
Apr 21, 2012 3:54pm
I have done all of these and probably more. Its called the MBA from the school of hard knocks!
Apr 23, 2012 4:00am
As long as you realize your mistakes, and learned from them - then it is OK to have this MBA degree.
Apr 21, 2012 9:27pm
Thanks, some very useful tips in there, will definitely use it :)
Apr 23, 2012 4:01am
Thank you for your comments!
Apr 22, 2012 1:28pm
Fantastic list. I think making yourself a business plan is the most important thing to do, it keeps you accountable (even to yourself).
Apr 23, 2012 4:02am
Yes! Making a business plan - keeping an eye on it - and updating it is a must!
Apr 22, 2012 1:43pm
Guilty! What a great article! Congratulations on another feature!
Apr 23, 2012 4:03am
Thank you very much for your comment!
Apr 22, 2012 7:29pm
As an owner of multiple businesses, I can attest to the truth of these mistakes. The important message
Apr 23, 2012 1:12pm
Nice, many easily overlooked problems here. Thanks.
Apr 25, 2012 4:38am
AdamN & blighthound, to both of you: Thank you for your visit and comments!
Apr 25, 2012 6:54pm
Thank you for putting this great list together.
Isn't it weird that people prefer to do business with a stranger rather with a well known, hard working family member or friend. That is just so strange to me - but so true!

May 4, 2012 5:59pm
Thank you for your comments. I understand your concern.
Jun 5, 2012 5:37pm
Great list - partcularly as I'm getting closer to my first retirement and have to figure out what I'm going to do when I "grow up"! I'll try and avoid these mistakes!
Jun 10, 2012 1:31pm
Thank you for your comment! And good luck with your future ventures.
Jun 10, 2012 2:50pm
Great article! I am in the process of writing my mission statement, thanks to you! Self-discipline isn't really my strong point, so I think having a mission statement and setting daily, weekly and monthly goals will help me get to where I need to be. I just recently started working as a Virtual Online Assistant in addition to writing and it's tough to stay focused at home when there are so many distractions, but it can be done!
Jun 10, 2012 3:25pm
Thank you for your comments. It makes me very happy that my article has inspired you to make a personal mission statement.
Oct 20, 2012 10:22pm
Very interesting article reminding us of stpid mistakes we often make.The person who fails to learn a lesson from mistakes end up as a failure.
Oct 24, 2012 10:56am
Wow--what a great article--don't know how I missed it before now. Your insight is right on and I have made every mistake in the book. Absolutely a wizz of a piece. 5 BIG STARS from me.
Oct 30, 2012 11:35am
Very nice article and very nice list, all are true but mostly goes unnoticed..
May 28, 2013 12:16pm
Good warnings. We might all fall prey to one if we aren't careful.
Oct 29, 2013 6:12am
Time to start planning a mission statement!
Nov 7, 2013 5:40am
It's so true! A mission statement will guide you more often than you might think.
Nov 7, 2013 5:41am
It's so true! A mission statement will guide you more often than you might think.
Nov 7, 2013 5:40am
If this were a test I would not have scored high. If I look back on the many business ventures I've embarked upon, I see where I have made most of these mistakes. It's truly about finding something you're passionate about and working harder than you ever thought you could. I'm not sure it was ever helpful for me to pretend I had a boss. Instead I knew that rent wasn't going to get paid and that I had given my word to clients that I would do good work. My motivation was to remind myself that I'm not a liar and if I say I'm going to do something then I must do it.
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