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5 Entrepreneurial Roadblocks

September 17, 2008 | Comments: 0 | Views: 126

Entrepreneurism is exciting, freeing, and an absolute blast! But don't kid yourself, it is also challenging, frustrating, and downright scary. If you are considering jumping onto the entrepreneurial road, here are FIVE ROADBLOCKS you definitely want to avoid.

Roadblock #1: Living in Fantasy Land

This might be the most common roadblock--dreaming, or should I say fantasizing, about what it is like to be your own boss. Sure, working for yourself gives you freedom and flexibility; but let's get serious for a moment...freedom and flexibility are challenging. As nationally-known life and career coach Dan Miller says, "If you are going to work for yourself, you MUST be your own, best, task master." As I have discovered, "best" is the key word in Dan's statement. Yes, if you pursue entrepreneurialism, you will have more freedom and flexibility, as well as more control of your time; but you will also have to work harder and, at least for the first few years, longer than ever before. Even more, the "weight" of working for yourself feels light when things are going smoothly and revenue is flowing. When things are challenging and revenue is dripping, however, the "weight" can feel overwhelming. So stop vacationing in "Fantasy Land." Instead, take a trip to the real world and look at self-employment through crystal-clear lenses. Self-employment is awesome, but it's also challenging...significantly so.

Roadblock #2: Not Enough "Net" in Your "Work"

Networking is a smoking-hot business term right now, and there are tons of slogans associated with it, such as:

  • "Your net worth is only as big as your network."
  • "Network your way to success!"
  • "It's not what you know; it's who you know."

Quotes like the one above are a bit cheesy, but don't throw out the nuggets of truth with the Cheese Whiz. Networking is essential for small-business success. And I'm not talking about attending meetings where the primary objective is to talk about yourself and pass out business cards. I'm talking about authentic, relational connections with other individuals you respect, value, and trust.

For instance, how well are you connected with:

  • Individuals in your field -- experts, competitors, affiliates, and partners?
  • People or vendors that provide services you need -- IT support, accounting, and legal advise?
  • Advisers and supportive friends?

You will need ALL these people if you plan to start your own business and still be in business 12 months later. So if you don't have a strong "net" in your "work," start sewing it today

Roadblock #3: Working "IN' Your Business Instead of "ON" Your Business

When starting a small business, you will wear many hats. Let me be more will likely wear ALL the hats! This means you'll be establishing relationships with supplier, marketing and selling products and services, taking and fulfilling customer orders, answering phone calls, dealing with customer complaints, setting up websites, and much, much more. However, if you want to succeed as a small business owner, you have to move from spending all your time working "IN" your business to spending significant chunks of time working "ON" your business. And believe it or not, you can start doing this on day one! Here are two very practical things you can do:

  1. Write a Solid Business Plan. Not only will writing a business plan help you know where to start and how to start, if done correctly, it will also enable you to forecast where you want your business to be at in a few years and how you plan to staff for growth.
  2. Give Time Everyday to Growing Your Business. I try to give at least one hour a day, if not two, to what I call "revenue generating initiatives." Even more, I try to do this first thing in the morning. For instance, instead of answering emails or doing administrative tasks first thing in the morning, I spend my most productive hours doing something to grow my business. It might be developing a new product, working on a marketing letter, or calling prospects. This small principle, applied everyday, creates huge dividends for my business over the long-term.

Roadblock #4: Goal-Setting Instead of Goal-Getting

If you are not a goal-setter, you probably are going to struggle being in business for yourself. But interestingly, a lot goal setters still struggle with following through and "getting" the goals they envision. As one person said to me, "I'm good at dreaming up goals, I just need to wake up and take action."

"Taking action" is where a system comes into play. I follow a system I call "Goal-Getting." It moves from setting annual goals, to focusing on monthly goals, to developing a a weekly results list, to putting my daily action plan on a 3x5 card, and finally, to living by that 3x5 card. And wow, does this system work for me! In my book, nothing has helped me live it forward better in real, practical, day-in and day-out terms than working my "Goal-Getting" system

Roadblock #5: A Lack of Excellence

I'm amazed at the level of, pardon my bluntness, "garbage" that is produced by self-employed people. At least, this is what I've seen in my field. I'm a speaker, which means I attend a lot of conferences around the country. I am often shocked at some of the presentations I've seen; it's as if some people throw stuff together at the last minute. Personally, I'd be ashamed to accept money if I under-delivered like some presenters I've seen. I've also purchased books and/or CD learning programs that had nothing to say. I'm not trying to be arrogant, just honest.

At the same time, several presenters I've heard have done an outstanding job, and I believe one thing is going through their minds when presenting--they want to over-deliver and under-promise instead of over-promise and under-deliver. What's more, I have purchased books and CD learning programs that are so impressive, I have used them over and over again.

The difference in these presentations and products is, in a word, "excellence." Notice I didn't say "perfection" or "flawless," I said "excellence." I define excellence as doing the absolute best with the time and resources you have. When a business delivers something with excellence, I respect and appreciate that business. Additionally, it's very likely I'll do business with that organization or person again and again and again and again.

Wrapping It Up

As you read the "Five Entrepreneurial Roadblocks," please know that I could have spelled out more. Eight, ten, or even twelve. For instance:

  • Pricing your products and services too low
  • Pricing your products and services too high
  • The wrong location
  • Taking on too much debt

The point is not to write about every potential roadblock, but to write about five common roadblocks that I've seen. These five roadblocks are more "big picture" than "specific." What I mean is these are strategic, philosophical, mindset issues that cause new entrepreneurs to get stuck on the road to success. My hope is that these thoughts will help get unstuck and moving forward!

© 2007 Kent Julian, Live It Forward" - All Right Reserved

WANT TO SEE MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS ONE? Become part of the Live It Forward" E-Connection! It's a growing and dynamic community of people striving to "live it forward" in the most important roles of their lives. Best of all, it's absolutely free! To sign up, visit

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it immediately following the Live It Forward" copyright notice: Life and career coach Kent Julian, "America's Career Coach for a New Generation," publishes the "Live It Forward" E-Connection," a bi-monthly ezine filled with free tips and strategies for pursuing the life and work you love. If you are ready to jump-start your career and find more joy and fulfillment in life, join the growing and dynamic E-Connection community now at

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