5 Things Entrepreneurs Are Forgetting About and Failing - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

5 Things Entrepreneurs Are Forgetting About and Failing

“It isn’t that they cannot find the solution. It is that they cannot see the problem.” – G.K Chesterton

I have nothing but respect for entrepreneurs – the gladiators willing to suit up and fight for their very survival in an uncertain world. Statistically speaking, your company will likely be dead within 10 years of launching. That’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to invest into something that’s likely to fail.

But there’s financial freedom for those that survive. The freedom to do whatever you want, when you want, how you want.

I want to see you succeed. So, let’s cover a few things that will kill you in your tracks if you forget to pay attention to them.

1.  Mistaking 1099 Status for Entrepreneurship

Just because you don’t have a boss telling you when and how to work does not mean you’re an entrepreneur. In the sharing economy, there are many ads that invite people to be their own boss. The problem is that many contract jobs (1099 employees) narrowly define how you operate.

If you’re building up someone else’s brand in return for a defined slice of revenue, you aren’t building your own future. You’re building someone else’s.

Your hustle needs to provide more than a way to pay bills. By building your own brand you are giving yourself the opportunity to compound your sweat equity. You own the future, instead of renting someone else’s.

2.  Placings Barriers and Protocols Between Clients and Themselves

There is a place for systems. But, if your systems are creating barriers between you and your clients, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Customers are willing to pay more for a great customer service experience.

How do you beat the faceless office drone answering support tickets for your biggest competitor? Make yourself accessible. Make your brand more personal. If customers know that they can reach the owner of the company when they have a problem, that’s a huge advantage over your Fortune 500 rivals.

3.  Failing to Pay Their Silent Partner

Taxes are your most important expense. Uncle Sam has the ability to aggressively pursue any business or personal tax debt. Many first-time entrepreneurs fail to properly account for their tax liabilities – both local, state and federal.

A qualified CPA can help you navigate your tax liabilities. And don’t forget how taxes happen. Stay engaged politically – you don’t want to be one of the people paying an unexpected tax liability due to political brinksmanship.

4.  Grinding without a Safety Net

Safety nets come in many forms. Depending on your business, there are a variety of insurance products that can help you cover your new liabilities. For example, many entrepreneurs choose to drive for Uber or Lyft to generate quick cash. Be careful. An accident while driving for a rideshare company could become a financial nightmare. You need to understand how contingent liability insurance works.

Just because you’re contracting with a big company does not mean you are fully covered by their insurance. And if you’re completely operating on your own, you need to look at different solutions to minimize risk, including:

  • Professional Liability Insurance / E&O Insurance: Put simply, if you mess up this policy will cover you when clients sue. But expect major scrutiny from your underwriter.
  • Riders for Homeowner’s Insurance: Your standard homeowner’s policy will not cover business activities. If you’re working at home you need to request a rider be added to your insurance.
  • Product Liability Insurance: When a customer injures themselves while using your product, this insurance will help cover the claim.

5.  Surrounding Themselves with the Wrong People

The people that you bring into your life will dictate your future. Peer pressure is almost unavoidable. And for entrepreneurs, the right people can make all the difference.

Some first-time entrepreneurs try to do everything for themselves. You’ll improve your odds of success if you can develop a team of people that you can rely on. No one person is good at everything. So don’t be afraid to share some of the pie in order to secure talent.

Just remember that business partners need to be carefully scrutinized. You are inviting them to own a portion of your dream.


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