Building a business requires plenty of grit and consistent, sustainable effort. I often see this portrayed as “hard work” with extreme glorification of hustle and burnout. The reality though is that assuming you just need to work longer hours, put in more effort and hustle more is one of the common business mistakes that holds owners back from making true progress.
While there’s certainly a lot of “only do what you love” and “your business should be fun” type of advice out there, there also tends to be more emphasis on hustle as the answer to building your business. Sleeping only four hours a night, working 12 hours a day, seven days a week is glorified as the necessary sacrifice required to build a business.
This is a truly dangerous common business mistake though because this type of hustle is rarely sustainable in the long run. The owner can only manage this level of hustle for a limited time. For some this could be months, while for others it could be years. But eventually, it’s likely to lead to burnout.
It also often builds a business model that requires a ton of effort and too much input. When the solution is to work harder, longer, and with more hustle, it’s easy to not have the time for strategy or analysis of what’s working.
Pushing Back on the Status Quo
There’s definitely been some recent push back on these common business mistakes from influencers in the online world.
Denise Duffield-Thomas released Chillpreneur in 2019 which focuses on how identifying the business model that fits your personality and strengths so you can work less and earn more.
What’s interesting here is that she’s careful to not say it should be always fun and easy but rather when you’re focusing on doing the strategic actions and building a business that suits your wants and needs you’re setting the stage for abundance and ease.
Mike Michalowicz released Clockwork in 2018 which focuses on how to streamline your business to run more efficiently, productively and without your constant, direct input. His joint venture with Adrienne Dorrinson, Run Like Clockwork strives to teach entrepreneurs and business owners the steps he outlined in the book that allow for a four week vacation completely removed from the business.
While removing yourself entirely from the business may not be your goal, having the freedom and flexibility to take time off is certainly a great goal. It’s also a very strategic choice to build the business in such a way that it’s not dependent on your direct input to run day-to-day.
The reality is that most of us started a business for flexibility and freedom, not to get into these common business mistakes of letting the business take over our lives. So while hustle is not the answer, let’s look at some strategies to help avoid these common business mistakes.
Optimize Your Business Model
While scaling and dramatically increasing revenue through sheer grit can work, it’s usually not sustainable. Focusing on optimizing your existing business model for efficiency and profitability is far more likely to pay off in the long term.
Consider how you can deliver your current products or services in a more systematized way. This may be a signature service, a productized service or it may require moving into group programs, courses, or products. But, by strategically utilizing the power of systems and efficiency, you can avoid burnout and the common business mistakes so many make when they focus too much on hustle and overworking.
Focus on Profit, Not Revenue
One of the biggest mistakes I see business owners make is confusing revenue with profit. This is so detrimental to not only the health of the business but also the personal financial picture of the owners. A seven-figure business with no profit is in no way, shape or form better than a multi-six-figure one with lots of profit.
Depending on how you pay yourself, you may not show true profit, I know I don’t. So, it is important to factor in whether you’re paying yourself what you want and need as well as the year-end P&L profit. When you focus on the profitability of the business, you can make much more strategic and impactful decisions for the long term sustainability of your venture.
It also often becomes far clearer when you focus on profitability if you’re making common business mistakes like undercharging, over delivering due to scope creep or masking a capacity problem through working yourself into the ground.
It Isn’t All About Hustling
When you work to avoid these common business mistakes, you can build a sustainable foundation that will serve you far longer than the bare knuckled hustle you are hanging onto with a hope and a prayer. At the end of the day, the long term health of your business and you personally, is the goal I want you to shoot for!