Business is hard enough without us business owners getting in the way and cocking it all up. In this podcast episode I’m going to share with you the 5 mistakes I’ve seen businesses make time and time again.
Business Mistake #1: Not having a good offer
The first mistake and this is critically important, and in fact, all of these mistakes are critically important, is not having a good product. When you have a bad product, you’re not going to be in business for very long. All the Facebook ads, Pinterest ads, YouTube ads in the world are not going to make you a millionaire if you have a shitty product. Word will get out. People won’t trust you. Your reputation will tank.
Good advertising and good marketing cannot fix a shitty offer, so get very, very, very clear on what it is exactly about your offer that is not working or could be improved and fix it. I can’t tell you how frustrating it has been to me over the years when I come into a client’s business and they’re like, “Well, I need to make more money. I need to run Facebook ads,” or whatever, and I get into their business and I’m looking at their products and I’m going, “This is fucking awful. I can’t believe anybody is paying money for this. You are delivering no value and it’s a bad product.”
And they’re like, “No, no, no, it’s a good product. I just need to sell more of it. I need ads.” You know what? Ads aren’t going to fix your fucking offer. You need to fix your offer first and then drive traffic to it. All the ads in the world are not going to work if your product is bad. It’s just the way it is. And it’s also going to cost you a fuck load of money when you are selling a bad product and you’re dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into advertising it. You are literally pouring money down the drain just because you don’t want to take a hard look at your product and fix it.
Sometimes this is because the entrepreneur doesn’t know exactly how to fix it. Other times it’s because the entrepreneur firmly believes it’s good enough and other times the entrepreneur just doesn’t care. None of these are good. Make sure you fix your offer by getting other eyes on it, and not just clients, but consultants and coaches, people who know what they’re doing. Ask them to look at your product strategically and tell you where it could be improved.
Now, if you just don’t care about fixing it, I can’t help you and in fact, I’m probably going to hate you and I don’t want you in my audience, so you should just tune out now if you have no interest in actually creating a valuable, useful product. But if you do, get insight from people who know what they’re doing, get insight from experts and also make sure you pay attention to your clients. Every time a customer cancels, you need to be asking them why, “What is it about this offer that you didn’t like?” “Why are you leaving?” “Why don’t you want to work with me anymore?”
I know it sounds awful and uncomfortable and your ego is definitely going to get bruised, but you will become a better business person for it. You will create better products and better products that lead to happier customers, which leads to way the fuck more money.
Business Mistake #2: Bad design
The next business-killing mistake, and this is not necessarily the entrepreneur’s fault, but it kinda is at the same time, is bad design. Humans are visual. Why on earth would you be okay with bad design?
A lot of entrepreneurs are getting shitty advice from people who have something to sell usually a funnel software that makes ugly fucking landing pages, and there’s going to be gurus out there who are telling you, “Oh, ugly pages convert better and don’t worry about design, just make sure that you’ve got your offer out there,” or “Make sure that you’ve got your copy dialed in,” or “Make sure you have a fucking funnel.” But design matters.
Design matters so much more than I can possibly tell you and it’s not just because I’m a designer. I’m not trying to sell you my web design services here. I’m trying to tell you that customers are more likely to take you seriously as an expert and as an authority in your business and as someone who can be trusted with their money when you’ve invested in good design. Design creates an experience for your customers. It tells people what they can expect from working with you. It tells people that you are serious about your business and that you haven’t invested in somebody who will create a beautiful website or beautiful social media images.
Your design is the first representation of your brand that most people are going to see. Now, design isn’t branding in and of itself, it is just the visual representation of it. And when the representation is that you don’t give a shit, you don’t invest in your business, then you look like a fly by night operation and do people really want to give you their money if you’re just trying to get their money and then disappear in a couple days, weeks or months?
Nobody wants to invest with somebody who’s just going to take their money and disappear. And when you have good design, you look a lot less likely to do that. You don’t look nearly as scammy. I mean, think about this for a second here. You know all of these spammers that are on Facebook and Instagram, they send messages, well, you go over and you check out their account and look at their Instagram feed. It’s full of shitty fucking design, bad pictures, bad colors, typos. They’re obviously not trustworthy and obviously cannot be taken seriously.
Bad design can kill your business.
Why would you want to lump your brand in with those motherfuckers? Why would you want to do that? Your business, your empire deserves to look its best and that means having good design.
That means hiring designers who actually know what they’re doing. That means, unfortunately, for people who are just getting started, you’re going to have to invest in good design.
You can’t just get away with hiring a VA off of Facebook and paying her $200 and expecting you’re going to get a stellar out of the world beautiful website.
If you do, you are one in a million and it’s not going to happen again.
Good designers command premium rates because of their experience, because they’re good at what they do because they know that their designs can make your business a lot more fucking money.
Don’t skip out here. Now, let’s go back to the basics though. Let’s assume that you’re just getting started. You don’t have the funds to pay 10, $20,000 for a website or for a logo. You’re just getting your feet to start.
Now, that doesn’t mean that you can suffer by with bad design and expect to be able to get the funds to then invest in 10, $20,000 websites and logos. You need to start with something that is clear, that is modern, that has good fonts and your colors and need to be on point, so do not use bright yellow with blue text. That’s bad. Those don’t go well together. In fact, that’s one of the examples of bad colors that is in my web design course.
When you are using these color combinations, people tend to think that your business can be a little bit cartoonish.
Now, I’m not saying it can’t be done. In fact, I have a client who uses blue and yellow together simultaneously, but it takes a designer who actually knows what they’re doing to do it well and to do it right and to not look awful. Since you are hypothetically just getting started, you don’t have this experience, this knowledge, skip over that and adjust, avoided altogether.
The next thing to pay attention to is your logo. Now, it’s not critically important that you have your forever logo in the beginning, but your logo needs to have good fonts, it needs to be easy to read and it needs to work on both mobile, desktop, black and white color. It needs to be a good logo. So if you have any questions about what a good logo is, just look at the iconic brands in the world. Their logos work for a reason.
Pay close attention to how their logos are used and the way that they’re represented because you can learn a lot just by observing. You can take these notes, take these concepts that I am sharing with you here and use them to improve your design.
Business Mistake #3: Inconsistent marketing
The third business-killing mistake that clients make over and over and over again… And to be fair, I am not immune to this. I’ve definitely struggled with this myself, is inconsistent content marketing.
Content marketing is everything. It’s 2019, people want to learn, people want to know that you’re an authority, that you’re an expert, and the way you do this is by talking about what it is that you’re an expert in. It’s by creating conversations and connections. It is by showing up as your best, most knowledgeable, authentic self and proving to people that you know what the fuck you are talking about, and you do this with your content.
There are people out there who will say, “Oh, if somebody is not posting every single day on Instagram, I don’t trust them,” that’s a little bit extreme. Not everybody has the energy to post on Instagram every day or to make a YouTube video every week, there are people who are very introverted, who struggle with being visible, who are amazing at what they do, but they would rather be behind the scenes where nobody notices them.
My agency partner actually is like that. She is brilliant at what she does and people love her, but she would rather be behind the scenes. She is introverted and she doesn’t want the attention. That’s why I’m the face of the brand.
There’s also people who are chronically ill. Now, again, if you’ve been paying attention to my show for any amount of time, really, you probably know that I have a chronic illness. I have a chronic invisible illness, which means I usually look a lot better than I feel and it’s very difficult for people to tell that I don’t feel well, but the way I feel, will very much influence my ability to show up and to be consistent.
This is a huge struggle for me. Every day I struggle with this, and I want you to understand that when there’s people who have chronic illnesses or they feel like they don’t want to be front and center of their brand, it doesn’t make them less of an expert, but you do need to be thinking about how you’re going to be consistent in your business.
Maybe your form of consistency is by writing awesome Facebook posts every single day. Maybe you write text posts on Facebook instead of doing video, maybe you write a really kick-ass blog post once a week or once a month.
Figure out what kind of consistency will work for you. Figure out what that looks like in your life and in your business and start to integrate that into how you’re showing up in the world. Once you have your content marketing more consistent, it’s going to be a lot easier for people to know and believe that you are an expert. And as I said, just because you don’t do these things, it doesn’t mean you’re not an expert, but people are going to have a harder time believing you. And we need to make sure that people believe you when you say that you know what you are doing.
Business Mistake #4: Not having a clear message
Number four, business-killing mistake is no clear message. People need to know what it is you stand for. What do you do? What are you about? And you need to drive that home. Again, this is something I’ve struggled with. So you’re getting a lot of my personal experience here, not just what I’ve seen and done with clients. I am a renaissance soul. I have hundreds of interests. I cannot be satisfied only doing one thing, whether in my personal life or in my business life.
In my personal life, my husband and I, we garden, we watch British shows together, we play Pokemon, we cook. I love yoga and languages and skating and reading and art and dancing. There’s all of these things that I am passionate about, not to mention the things that I do in my business. And so it’s just the way I’m wired.
It’s just who I am. Knowledge is everything to me. For those of us who are renaissance souls, who are constantly learning, it is very difficult to hone in on our messaging.
If you’ve done any research into archetypes, you may be familiar with the explorer archetype, which is very similar to the renaissance soul where you just want to explore the world and you want to take everything that you’ve learned through your exploration and use that in your personal life, in your business, with clients, with friends, with family, whatever. But it’s very hard to hone in on a message when you’re doing all of the things all of the time.
And so something that I’ve been working on for a very long time is making sure that I build a brand that allows me to talk about what I am passionate about. That’s why this show is not The Designerless Show, which is my podcast only about web design or about fitness. This show is about anything that I want to talk about, which is why I named it after myself.
I really struggled with this actually because I thought it was very egotistical to name something after me. But in reality, this platform gives me the ability to talk about things that are important to me that I think could be helpful to you. And therefore trying to fit it all into one topic simply doesn’t work.
Now, with your content marketing, with your blog posts, with the website that you have, you really need to hone in on one particular message. So what is your mission and your vision and your purpose and how can you explain that in your message? Mine is that I’m on a mission to help a million entrepreneurs live better lives. And this means that you build an impactful empire that changes your life, that changes the lives of those around you, that makes money, that gives you freedom.
I don’t care what you do with that freedom that you have or with your money, but I care about giving you the resources to help you achieve that. This mission gives me a lot of latitude in what it is I do and things that I share about and the things that I talk about. Now, this can be something that can be very challenging when you’re trying to hone in on one thing that’s broad enough to give you latitude, but not so broad that you turn away people left and right because as you know when you speak to everybody, you speak to nobody.
So get clear on the message, the purpose, the mission, figure out what that is and then drive that home all the time.It needs to be something that you’re going to be talking about on Instagram, on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, anywhere that you’re showing up.
Your message needs to be at the forefront and it needs to also be something that people can intuit through the other messages that you put out there. In your Instagram captions for example, or in your Facebook Lives or whatever, people need to be able to intuit what it is you stand for, what your message is, even if you’re not telling them explicitly what your message is.
Business Mistake #5: Not being a fucking professional
The fifth and last business mistake on this list is not acting like a fucking professional. I know that that sounds counterintuitive if you’re a business owner and you don’t have a professional career, but you are your business, you are your brand.
Even if you are not the only person in your company, you are still the one who is going to be representing your business at all times. When you aren’t a professional, people don’t want to give you money.
I hate to say it and this has actually become quite a thing in my agency where we laugh when a client is blown away by something that we’ve done. Internally we say, “Wow, they could have just hired a fucking professional.”
It’s a sarcastic kind of joke that we use because we are fucking professionals, but not everybody is. Even if you’re really fucking good at what you do, if you are awesome, if you know everything there is to know about your niche and about your industry, but you’re not showing up like a professional, people aren’t going to want to give you money.
That means clear communication. That means being respectful on social media. This is a big one. This means creating quality products. This means having good design and a clear message and consistent content, whatever that looks like for you. So all of these previous four tips are summarized by be a fucking professional. Because when you’re not, people don’t trust you. You look flaky, you look flighty. People don’t want to spend their hard earned money with you in your business. So make sure you’re showing up like a professional.
Sometimes this means double checking that you muted your phone before you go into a client meeting. A little thing like being in the middle of a VIP session, your phone ringing can help kill your professionalism and your credibility. That was item number five.
There are many business mistakes that I see people make and I could go on about this for probably another six episodes, but I’m going to leave you with this. If you start working on these five things, your business will dramatically shift. You will be able to take your business to the next level faster than you ever thought possible.
Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of That Podcast Ysmay Hosts. I will see you soon.