The Top 5 Things Remarkable Entrepreneurs Should NEVER Do. Ever!

by Chris C. Ducker · 35 comments

You always hear about the important things that entrepreneurs should ‘do’ in order to become successful.

However, its rare that people talk about the things that business owners should NOT do when it comes to running and growing their businesses, on or offline.

In this post I’d like to serve up a few of those tips for you. And, I encourage you to make a list of your own (perhaps even based on your mistakes in the past) and even share a few tips for the VBL Tribe at the bottom of the post, in the comment section.

On your marks. Get set… GO!

#1 – NEVER Start a Business Just to Make Money

Every business owner that I have come across that has an insanely successful business, attributes that success to one thing, and one thing only - they love what they do!

We spend 60-70% of our waking hours ‘working’. Call me an idiot, but isn’t it a good idea if we spend that time working on something that involves passion – a product or service that we love (that ultimately will make us money), instead of simply working on ‘something’, just to ‘make’ money…?

I love what I do for a ‘living’. Every day I get up and get to work with a smile on my face. Talking with clients, creating content, spending time developing my staff (both on-site and virtual), developing new projects, reading, writing, eating – you get the gist of it, right…?

Do something you LOVE. And you’ll be a raving success.

#2 – NEVER Be Scared to Pivot, or Change Plans

The entrepreneur pivot is something that I’ve discussed before here at VBL and on other blogs and podcasts, whilst being interviewed, too.

It’s a subject that I’m really passionate about because it allows me as a business owner to never stop thinking about how to make something better. How to improve, evolve or make a difference.

Don’t get me wrong – its great to have a plan. Its essential, in fact. But, if you’re so caught up in that plan and following it step by step, you might just miss out on an opportunity to change something, even just a little thing, that could make your business all the more successful.

Keep an open mind and never stop thinking about ways to pivot in your business.

#3 – NEVER Blame Someone Else for Your Mistakes

We become entrepreneurs because we want to be our own boss, right? The head honcho, the big swinging dick.

If you screw up, drop the ball, under price your service or product, get beaten by a competitor on a local holiday battle, have your best manager quit on you, lose your biggest client – don’t blame anyone else.

You don’t necessarily have to blame yourself. But, the bottom line is that you are in charge. You’re the boss. And everything, always comes down to you.

Accept it. Embrace it. And go for it!

ESSENTIAL LISTENING: Check out this interview with best-selling author Jonathan Fields that I did for the VBL Podcast a while ago. There are so many golden business nuggets for you to devour, you’ll thank me – really!

#4 – NEVER Try to ‘Do It All’

I always say that entrepreneurs are a strange breed. We are – think about it.

At a recent speaking gig, I discussed how we, as entrepreneurs have what I like to call ‘Superhero Syndrome’. We like to think that we can do everything. That the world is a better place with us in charge and that we should make sure that we are the one that people look to for guidance all the time – to save the day… all the time.

Reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

What we should be is smart, hard-working business owners. When I say ‘smart’, I mean we work out what we’re good at and focus on that aspect of our business. We then bring in the best people we can a) find and b) afford to do the rest of the stuff needed to help our business explode into a huge success.

Entrepreneurs are not superheroes. Don’t try and be one.

#5 – NEVER Shackle Yourself to One Location. Become ‘Virtual’.

One of the reasons why I wanted to become a Virtual CEO was so that I could have the freedom I felt was required to continue to grow my business.

I wanted to work ON my business, instead of IN it.

Since freeing up myself to be able to only have to go into my company facilities (where 300-odd people work for me) once or twice a week (and normally for only a few hours at a time), I’ve encountered more success, more profits, more opportunities and… a much more enjoyable business lifestyle.

I believe that its an absolute requirement for entrepreneurs nowadays, that want to start and grow something remarkable, to be as flexible as possible when it comes to the way they run their businesses.

Becoming ‘virtual’ is the way to go.

FREEDOM TIP – Start by making a list of all the things that you do in your office (whether it be a facility, or a home office) on a daily basis. Then start highlighting the stuff that you NEED to be IN the office to be able to perform. You’ll be amazed, in this day and age with the technology that we have at our disposal, how few highlights will be on that list when you’re done! Nuff said.

What are things you’ve done in the past, as a business owner, that you would NEVER do again? Anyone got any further tips for the VBL Tribe? If so, please leave a comment below with your pearls of wisdom!

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Tshepo Mashigo April 19, 2012 at 00:10

Wow Chris another Post. I like this new energy of yours.

Tip: #6 – Run your Business! Not your Clients!

Many people find themselves merely working for clients, and forget to run their Business. I experienced this a year ago where i found myself with too much work and no time to actually scale the business, to make it worse – I was bootstrapping it.. And a client asked me to work from their office, which was cool at the beginning – Till i found myself “working” for him…and had no time for other clients and my own Business…

My two sense. Thanks again for this new energy, it doesnt go unnoticed. I see you on a role with these posts.

Keep up the Good Work.

Tshepo

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Chris C. Ducker April 19, 2012 at 20:27

Hi Tshepo

Thanks for the kind words. Yes, enjoying my new found energy for writing at the moment. Recovering from spine surgery will do that to you! :-)

That set-up sounds BRUTAL to say the least. It must have been a touch environment.

Appreciate your support, buddy.

C

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Rita May 25, 2012 at 11:37

Ha! With a name like Tsepho, how could you not be South African! Good website; may just give you a call for some quotes.

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Jan April 19, 2012 at 01:30

#4 – NEVER Try to ‘Do It All’

I’m still learning not trying to “do it all”, But you are right – in the rare circumstance I delegate tasks, I find myself with extra time to focus on what I do best (planning and seeking out new ventures)

This post is a good push for me to outsource some aspects of my IM business now…like right now!

Thanks Chris!

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Chris C. Ducker April 19, 2012 at 20:25

Hi Jan

Excellent stuff. That’s why I love writing posts like this.

If they touch just one person – make just one business owner take ACTION on something, anything, to make their business more successful… then, I’ve accomplished what I set out to do in writing it.

Thanks for the comment.

C

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Wayne Edward Clarke April 19, 2012 at 04:37

Nice post Chris.

My tip is this; Follow your head, not your heart, whenever the two conflict. I tend to have faith in, and loyalty toward, people, organizations, and plans. But I’ve learned this the hard way; when you discover evidence that people or organizations are abusing your trust, or that your plans aren’t working, you need to investigate and act immediately, even if the evidence isn’t conclusive yet.

Every single time my intellect has told me that someone wasn’t trustworthy or that a plan wasn’t working, it was right. Every time I disregarded my intellect because I hate confrontations, or because I really liked someone, or because I couldn’t admit to myself that I’d made a fundamental mistake, (your #2), it led to disaster.

It took me over 40 years to realize that my intellect is brilliant, while my emotions are too proud, too stubborn, and far too nice for my own good.

Live by the facts and the evidence, and you’ll never go wrong.

Wayne Edward Clarke.

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Chris C. Ducker April 19, 2012 at 20:22

Hi Wayne

Follow your head – some might say this is your ‘gut’, too – like Steve.

Either way, I agree, going with what feels all warm and cuddly inside is usually a recipe for disaster!

Thanks for the insights on this great topic, bud.

C

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Steve Wyman April 19, 2012 at 08:32

Hi Chris

Well one consequence of your back surgery is your bloging on VBL again! So out of pain for you :( comes thoguhtfull input to us :)

#1 is something i struggle with. Ive always started and run business for money! not for Passion! building PC’s and delivering great system solutions to clients BECAME a passion but they were just things Im naturally great at so i did them…

The passion for me is delivering a quality service to a client and Beating the other guy out of the market :-) plus the toys and benefits.

I';d like to align a passion with a business but i seem to have to many passions some of which cant really be turned into a business (that id want to run!).

#2 is great as long as you dont pivot to often or for the wrong reasons (i.e. just cos its getting tought in a market – Niche sites for example).

As Will.I.Am said the other night on a TV show “Trust your Gut” its often better than any other sense :-)

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Chris C. Ducker April 19, 2012 at 20:21

Hi Steve

Hahaha. Yes, I have a little extra spare time on my hands at the moment, and I am actually averaging a post a day – just stocking them up!!!

Trust you gut.

Mine’s not let me down too badly in the past, I must say. And you will ALWAYS regret the things you DID, more than the things you didn’t do, if you think about it.

Appreciate the input, mate.

C

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Gary April 19, 2012 at 21:39

I love reading your blog Chris, you always make so much (obvious) sense, but as you point out – some of us entrepreneurs in training still make school boy errors like practicing “Superhero Syndrome”, me included.

My own business is working with offline clients but this year I’ve made the massive shift from not agreeing to, or to go looking for face to face meetings – that’s just not the way I want to work anymore as it’s too time intensive and unnecessary, + I’m certain my clients now get an ever better level of service.

I now work with my clients in exactly the same way that I work with outsourcers and VA’s, there’s no difference between the two, I rely on them both equally so why put clients on a non existant pedistal? I learned the hard way, the more 1-2-1 time I used to give clients the more they would expect, this stopped me growing my business.

Thanks for inspiring a fellow Brit.

BTW; how’s your back healing?

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Chris C. Ducker April 20, 2012 at 13:38

Hi Gary

Glad you’re enjoying VBL.

Face to Face ANYTHING is a killer… I’m super happy to hear that you’re doing so much better with a more virtual way of working with clients. That’s assume! Good for you.

Appreciate you taking the time to tell us your story.

C

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Thomas Leonard April 19, 2012 at 21:52

Chris you are always so spot on.

I read everything that you send my way and comment so seldom, you truly deserve a more attentive audience from me.

THANK YOU for all your musings.

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Chris C. Ducker April 20, 2012 at 13:39

Hi there, Thomas.

Indeed, its been a while, my friend.

Hope everything is good with you, and thanks for the comment. Now, I look forward to more from you!

:-)

C

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Phil Montero April 19, 2012 at 23:18

Hey Chris – great to see you back in the saddle my friend – and with another stellar post! You hit they nail on the head with all of these – lots of #2 Pivoting and Changing Plans for me these days, especially since having our second little one.

And as you know I’m all about some #5 – NEVER Shackle Yourself to One Location. Become ‘Virtual’. The Anywhere Office is the only way to fly – we know that my brutha from another mutha! It’s because of that flexibility that I can pivot and change like I do.

Hope the PT is coming along for your back and you are feeling stronger every day!

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Chris C. Ducker April 20, 2012 at 13:40

Hey, Phil.

Thanks for popping by and gracing us with your presence. :-)

Lovin’ TAO principle, as you know.

Appreciate your support – back is healing… SLOWLY, but surely.

Cheers,
C

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Elmer Shore April 20, 2012 at 14:59

Hi Chris, like your blogs, it’s stimulating to think about. Yeah, I couldn’t agree with you more on these points. In point #3, if also politicians apply this principle then government would be better off and more effectively productive as in entreprenuerial business, too, and hopefully they would reduce corporate tax, so businesses have more capital investments for growth and global expansion. I’ve had boss, who wants to “do it all” like a one man show. franchise owner/ manager, marketer, recruiter, tax preparer, etc…I believe in delegation of responsibilities to capable, trained and tenured employees in order to share workload efficiently. Looking forward in meeting with you, when I get to Cebu real soon… take good care.

E

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Chris C. Ducker April 21, 2012 at 19:16

For me, politics is a topic I don’t discuss (either online or offline), but I can see where your opinion is going…

Sharing workload is one thing, but GETTING the workload in the first place (or finding the customers) should be the most important things that any business things about. Period. Without customers, there is no business.

Thanks for the continued support.

C

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Justin April 20, 2012 at 18:09

Great post, Chris, with an interesting twist on what NOT to do. I particularly liked #2 and #3. Pivoting can be challenging and stressful and one of the best things entrepreneurs could/should improve. And always, “the buck stops here” is both taking responsibility AND control for what’s happening in your business.

I wonder about the psychology behind #1, though. I agree that most say they love what they do, but I wonder if it really started off that way or if they remember it differently (fondly?) once everything’s up, running, and going smoothly. Starting a business only to make money “might” be ok…as long as you find something along the way that you do love to do inside of that business maybe?

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Chris C. Ducker April 21, 2012 at 19:14

Hi Justin

You bring up a great discussion point on your last pint, on my first point!

I’d like to hear YOUR story on that one to kick things off – perhaps a few others would join in.

For me, I’ve always loved the service related market place, instead of ‘selling’ a tangible product (although I’ve got millions of dollars in sales of products under my belt!). I saw the BPO game here unravel over the course of my first 4-5 years in this country, and I simply couldn’t wait to get involved myself. It was simply a matter of timing and money to get started, and when I did – I chased it (business) down like a wilder-beast in heat!!!

Over to you…. :-)

C

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Sheyi @ ivblogger.com April 20, 2012 at 19:12

Lovely, direct to the point.

Sheyi

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Chris C. Ducker April 21, 2012 at 19:11

That’s the way I am, Sheyi…

But, I’m sure you know that by now! :-)

C

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Dave Wakeman April 23, 2012 at 00:00

These are all good points and the obvious thing is that at some point everyone makes these mistakes, even if you are aware that you shouldn’t.

I think these mistakes are like a lot of life’s mistakes, you have to make them yourself before you gain the wisdom necessary not to make them again.

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Chris C. Ducker April 23, 2012 at 18:56

Hi Dave

Thats the thing, we ALL make mistakes – the big difference is how we handle the mistakes and to make sure we DON’T make the same mistakes again.

Appreciate the comment and support.

Cheers,
C

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Fiona April 23, 2012 at 19:48

Hi Chris

I had a bit of a giggle to myself as I thought, “I wish I had read this at the start of my entrepreneurial journey five years ago!’

Apart from the first point you make, I think I had to discover the other four for myself!

I think particularly for me, learning to let go and not feel I have to do everything myself, ‘because it’s easier than trying to explain to someone else how to do it to my standard’. Hahaha… So glad I have dropped that attitude!

Now that I have learned to effectively systemise my business, create training and now delegate so that I DON’T have to do everything else, I can now work ON my business instead of IN it! Phew!!

Looking forward to your next post!

Fe

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Chris C. Ducker April 28, 2012 at 20:07

Hi Fe

I sincerely HOPE that a lot of people had the same lightbulb moment when reading…! :-)

Letting go is extremely hard and something that a TRUE entrepreneur never really gets used to. Personally speaking, I still struggle with it myself – even though I am way, WAY better than I used to be, thats for sure…

Good stuff – keep rockin’.

C

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ralph@cantankerousoldcoots.com April 26, 2012 at 01:40

Chris,
Sort of a disagreement if only in staging. I think it is important- at least as you get started not to get too complicated. I.e. get yourself working from your home base before starting to be location independent. Set yourself up to manage by yourself and stage your growth with assistance. In other words don’t require too much complexity while you get your head straight about what you are doing (or want to do). I’d be interested in your comments because this may just be another of the reasons I am not progressing as fast as I want.

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Chris C. Ducker April 28, 2012 at 20:05

Hi Ralph

I’ll agree with you on your point in regards to getting settled working from home – it’s important to have that extra little bit of focus at the beginning of things.

Thanks for the additional insights, bud.

C

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Justice Wordlaw IV April 26, 2012 at 04:04

Going into a business just to make money now I feel is wrong. Before when I wanted to start a business I would do it only for the money. But, now since I have a job that I love the business that I’m looking to grow now for mens personal development is more about building a brand and a community then to profit. The pressure seems to be more off of making more and now on adding more value to someone else’s life. My recommendation for business owners that are looking to just make money is to get a part time job or a full time job to take that pressure off.

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Chris C. Ducker April 28, 2012 at 20:04

Hi Buddy!

The key word here is in your first sentence… ‘NOW’.

That proves that you’ve matured as an entrepreneur, or ‘wantrepreneur’. All that matters is that you’ve seen the light.

You simply MUST enjoy what you do for a living… life is much too short.

C

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Adam Stanecki April 26, 2012 at 08:29

Bang on point again, Chris.

You could have stopped at point #1.
It’s the most important point any new biz owner should understand!

Thx, Adam.

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Chris C. Ducker April 28, 2012 at 20:01

Hi Adam

Appreciate that you dig the post, bud.

Thanks for dropping by.

C

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Ian Robinson April 27, 2012 at 21:20

It’s good to hear you write about point 4. I’ve been trying to do everything alone for as long as I can remember.

-Note to self – Don’t go at it alone.

As for #3 – ‘Blame’ is generally a foolish endeavor in the first place. Instead of blaming others, put that time towards getting started on doing something valuable.

For point #2 – You can’t be scared to change. Allsopp wrote about this a little in his ‘future of blogging post’, “Google changes it’s algorithm more than 500 times a year.” Change is constant and you must enjoy rolling with it.

As for point #5 – My heart is there. After the US government made me choose between my wife and my business, I’ll never find myself in that place again. Location freedom is essential.

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Chris C. Ducker April 28, 2012 at 20:00

Thanks, Ian.

Heart = Passion.

Passion + Vision = Action. And thats what its all about… :-)

Cheers,
C

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David Nikolic September 17, 2012 at 08:13

Hi,
Thanks a lot for this post! You have shared some great point about the common mistakes which most entrepreneurs make at the beginning of their business. I am sure this article will be of great help to many start ups

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Chris C. Ducker September 17, 2012 at 14:26

Glad you enjoyed the post, David.

Thanks for dropping by.

C

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