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Want to succeed as an entrepreneur? Avoid doing these 8 dreadful things

by Adedolapo Olisa

September 9, 2019


We often have lots of ideas we itch strongly to fulfil. Business owners are now realising that sticking to a few things they are passionate about and doing it very well –  is the way to succeed as an entrepreneur.

30% of businesses fail in the first 3 years – Small Business Association of America

The desire to be an entrepreneur could be so strong due to one of many reasons — the ability to do things on your terms, the feeling of independence, having total control and being the captain of your life’s ship.

The only thing usually absent for many budding entrepreneurs is a blueprint. A map that shows how you can successfully navigate this sea of life and business. Thankfully, there are now myriads of such, online. But there’s one part of that map that’s often missing. Those things, you shouldn’t do, if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur in the 21st century.

They often seem inconsequential, but ignorance of many startups to these are what spell their doom barely two years into launch. Let’s dig into them.

Quitting your job

one way to succeed as an entrepreneur is by not walking out the door on your job

Most entrepreneurs believe quitting their jobs is the right means to success in business. This is far-fetched. Consider this scenario of a young man who had an accident on the 1st of January 2016, it was a near-death experience. He had slept off at the wheel and drove into a ditch. On waking up to smoke, reeving engines and chaos, he felt he was only lucky to have crawled out of his vehicle unharmed. The next day, he quit his job and decided to be my Shepherd. his mindset was, “Oh, I would have died just like that, I definitely have to launch my own businesses immediately, so even if I passed on, I’d have had something I truly lived for”

His sentiment is understandable. But a few months down the line, he realised his decision was the wrong one. He could have actually kept his day job and run a side business until he builds a solid venture. Many emerging business owners tend to face such a dilemma. Maybe, not near-death situations, but a sudden decision to quit your job and perform magic in business. Nice, but not advisable.

You staying and growing at your day job while building a good business successfully helps you build a high degree of discipline and dedication. These qualities are required if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur. So, keep your job, and build the qualities.

Telling your idea(s) to everyone

carrying a megaphone to broadcast your ideas, not a good way to succeed as an entrepreneur

When you proclaim unactualised works, your brain feels excited — in a way that feels those things been achieved. It becomes even dangerous when you begin receiving adulation from listeners. This reduces your motivation to get to work. And in the end, no work is done. Your idea stays as it is — an idea — until it becomes stale, or too late.

To avoid this, embrace the reticent rule. Keep quiet about your ideas and to-do list. Try to validate and execute first, then tell the tales when you are already in motion. Newton’s’ laws of motion states “an object will continue in a state of rest or motion unless acted upon by an external force”. Once you get your ideas going, with dedication – you are less likely to stop or get distracted by an unsolicited adulation.

Waiting for too long

Waiting for too long isn't a way to succeed as an entrepreneur

The reality of life is that no one has it figured out right from start. We are all trying to do stuff and make things up as we go along. You probably know by now, that perfection is a myth but improvement is lifelong. Ask Google, Amazon, or even Netflix. Even Twitter started version 1.0 with an ugly looking interface. Don’t be the rabbit chasing perfection and never finding it. Execute that idea now.

Borrowing money from loan sharks

mutual funds investment

Everyone knows how ridiculous and outrageous interest rates from loan sharks and banks are. Going for loans at the very beginning of your business is more or less like sinking before you even sail. Chances are, you end up losing much more than you bargained for. Here’s why. Your business is still a new venture, and as such, you can’t but avoid making mistakes. Some of these mistakes may come directly from your market and set you back a ton while others might even be self-inflicted.

Despite the interesting paper works you may have, you have to understand that the early stage of your business is an extremely volatile stage — nothing is certain, and everything could go wrong. So, you may want to consider abstaining from loan sharks or banks at this period and bootstrapping or raising communal funds (from family, friends and well-wishers) instead. It’s much safer that way.

Don’t fall to this temptation if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur. Its fast money but hard payback.

Ignoring networking


You could say “Oh, I’m such a shy person, I can only work into a room, find a corner to sit, wait till it’s over, and then leave as quickly as possible.” Congratulations, but this attitude wouldn’t bring any business to you. Because, while people are getting up to interact, sharing business cards and sealing cool business deals, you’re losing out on the real party. Networking opens a flood gate of opportunities, it increases the odds of success. You might want to rethink your introvertish status and become more “open”.

Put it this way, shyness in entrepreneurship is more of a bane to success than a boon.

Expecting to win overnight

We all have that business plan document that shows you we can be a millionaire in one year. Juicy as it sounds, there’s a very high chance your projections wouldn’t turn out that way.

Don’t fall to that temptation of wanting to build the whole of Rome in one day. Things that look good on paper are often the reverse in real life. Moreover, success is a result of compounding interests — those things you do daily, that push towards your goal are what add up, in the end. No real success is immediate. You can ask Bill Gates.

Working 24/7 in your own business

Every minute you spend working on tasks that you can, otherwise, delegated is a momentary loss. Accumulation of those minutes makes the loss monumental.  The implication is more deeper than it seems. It means, for those periods, you aren’t planning, strategising and creating the building blocks to drive the best business possible.

We can’t truly over-stress the power of delegation as an entrepreneur. It not only helps your life, but it also potentiates the growth of your business tremendously. It’s extremely important you know the difference between working on your business and working in your business. The latter involves taking on the bulk of work by yourself and being slowed down, thus losing out on productive time to think, strategise, build meaningful partnerships, and skyrocket revenues. The former is the reverse. It’s when you delegate the operations and take charge of the bigger picture.

It is very important to work on your business, not in your business. You are in charge of the big picture, you should be.

Not exercising

We can’t be successful in life if our body is full of ailments, can we? If we can work out our minds by thinking, why not work out the body that holds everything in place by exercising? It’s easy to work on a project and sit for six hours straight. Try taking long walks, running and pull-ups, etc., and your chances to succeed as an entrepreneur will be so much higher. Sometimes, you should dance too. It helps, really.

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Adedolapo Olisa

Adedolapo Olisa

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