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How I Wasted a lot of Time Starting my Business | Freelance Sprout | Find, Start, and Grow Your Dream Freelance Business
Read the six part series on creating a freelance business plan
 

How I Wasted a lot of Time Starting my Business

Date April 15, 2008


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I wasted a lot of time planning my startup. I don’t like to admit it but it’s true. I’m not talking about a few months, or even a few years. I’m talking four years! What the heck was I doing during that time?

I…

…dawdled about what business to start

I bought every business idea book on the market. I’d go through the exercises, pick about five ideas and then start the process all over again. It was cathartic in a weird kind of way. I didn’t have to commit to anything but I could at least fool myself into believing I was starting a business.

…designed business cards, Websites, brochures, you name it

I’m writing this as I stare at several stacks of unused, unopened business cards—each a different business. I keep them as a reminder of the insignificance they had on my startup.

I thought they were so important at the time. Then I figured out it was another way to look busy without having to commit to anything.

…read about sales and marketing

The operative word here is read, not apply. When it came down to it, I was all theory, no action. I kept thinking, “Great idea, I should try that”, or “I’ll file that idea away for later”.

It’s not wrong to learn as much as possible, especially as a new entrepreneur. What I’m saying is that, without action, nothing happens.

…gave up too soon

I never gave an idea the chance to work itself out. I thought if I wasn’t getting sales in a week or two, it was a bad idea. Fed up—after the fifth “I quit”—I asked my father-in-law how he was able to be so successful in his business.

He told me it was patience and persistence. How persistent? Ten years. That’s how long it took him to go from idea to the point when he could quit his job. Ten years!

…searched for the Holy Grail

There’s an old trading maxim (think stock trading) that states there’s no guaranteed way to make money in the markets. There’s no Holy Grail. Most beginners traders believes there is a Holy Grail. As in trading, many new entrepreneurs only hear the good, or get rich quick stories, thinking there’s an easy way to success.

That was certainly my attitude. If I only found the perfect business, designed the right business cards, drove enough Website traffic, then clients would beg me to do work for them. It was a ghost I chased for too long.

So, what’s the point of all this? That starting a business isn’t about finding the perfect business idea or model, nor about having the best looking marketing collateral, nor about the most creative marketing strategies. Success comes to those who take steps. It comes to those who believe in an idea so strongly that they’d stick with it no matter the circumstances.

Can you relate? Are you just starting out, trying to get your footing? Deciding to start a business only takes a moment. Just don’t stretch that moment into four years.

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Related posts:

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  2. Freelancer’s Guide To Obtaining New Clients By Using Business Cards And Flyers
  3. Shhh, it’s a Secret - Marketing to Marketers

8 Responses to “How I Wasted a lot of Time Starting my Business”

  1. The Writing / Editing Job Roll » 04/15/2008 Writing Jobs and Links said:

    […] How I Wasted a lot of Time Starting my Business Jobs from Indeed […]

  2. Vicky said:

    Thanks for this post. I’m in the process of starting my own freelance web design business, and like you say, each day is one step closer to achieving my dream. Your site is an inspiration and I look forward to new posts all the time. Thanks so much.

  3. Ramona Iftode said:

    Excellent post. I never really thought about getting a business since I knew I didn’t have money for this. Still in time, after starting creating sites out of passion I also discovered some people are willing to pay for my services. I saved some money and then asked all people about how to start a business.

    I didn’t create cards, I didn’t read too much, I was just focused on making some sites to get some money for my startup.

    Last year I talked to an accountant and made it happen. I can’t brag with a lot of planing since my plans are something like this: “Ah, this sounds nice. let’s make a site about it”. And it’s the same in all my life aspects. My “serious thinking” means pondering for 2 seconds and then taking action. Don’t know: maybe I am that smart or that reckless :D

    Anyway… another good thing (after such a fast thinking) is that I tell myself I made the choice that seemed right at that moment and never regret it. And weird enough, I never had to regret anything.

    So, I didn’t plan it too well. I just knew I want to make something out of this huge love I have for sites and I did it. Yesterday my small business got 1 year old :)

  4. Jerret said:

    Thanks for the comments. I think it’s true that sometimes you have to not think too much, which has always been my downfall. I’m too analytical which leaves me paralyzed to make a decision.

    Thanks again for your feedback. I hope that I can provide more insights in the future here.

    -Jerret

  5. Emma said:

    I have spent months and months looking and reading up on anything and everything that will put me on the perfect course to use the internet as some sort of income tool. I am not fussy about what money I make just as long as I make some. To date I have made zero because I am still looking and reading.

    I am so in need of a kick up my posterior it’s not even funny. This article basically summed me up, so………. I will now try and put some of my reading and um…. research into ACTION.

    There I said it. I will take ACTION. I shall repeat that like a mantra until I get the first piece of action into place and I shall repeat it some more. ACTION, ACTION, ACTION…..

    I will now read more of your articles, after I have stopped cringing at my procrastination.

  6. Jerret said:

    Thanks for your comments, Emma. Yes, it’s hard to move in the face of what seems like insurmountable obstacles.

    But, any amount of action, no matter how small, will move you towards your goals. Keep it up!

    -Jerret

  7. 34 Sunday Link Love Articles | Writer's Resource Center said:

    […] How I Wasted a lot of Time Starting my Business […]

  8. bloggista said:

    This post is very interesting. I do share the same frustrations and mistakes. But its what make smarter, after admitting and learning the mistakes.

    Funny, I have started a few business ventures of my own - and it all ended up somebody bought it. Then I learn that I could actually make a living out of it. Start an idea, market it right, get the right crowd to work with you - and somebody buys it. For the last two months I was working on this business idea. I was going to start a Resource Consulting company - getting outsourcing services for various Consulting Partners. The other week, a bigger company I was planning to do services with decided to buy the company - even before I started registering it. Its a good deal and they made me a Partner and some shares of their bigger Consulting company.

    So now, its time to venture into another good business idea.

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