The Frugalpreneur Episode 3 – The 5 Buzzkills of Business
In this episode of the Frugalpreneur Podcast we’ll be talking about the 5 buzzkills of business & what challenges you can expect in your first year- with a few short tangents about Star Trek.
Everyone has a unique experience when they start their own business, blog or side hustle- but we can all anticipate some universal buzzkills that we all can experience if we’re not careful!
Listen In For:
- What to expect when you start to work from home.
- The biggest trip-ups we face when starting our own gig.
- Why if you’re not careful you can end up watching the entire series of Star Trek the Next Gen & Xena in a frighteningly short amount of time while freelancing.
- How to avoid getting links to kinky sex sites loaded into your blog’s footer (hint: don’t be cheap).
[highlight]Download The Transcript as a PDF[/highlight]
Howdy! Welcome to the third episode of The Frugalpreneur Podcast for people who want big venture for little capital. I’m your hostess, Shannyn.
Today we are going to talk about the five buzz kills of your business. Yee-haw!
All right. So welcome back to The Frugalpreneur Podcast. Today we are going to be talking about the five buzz kills of business. Now when I talk about business, I’m not just talking about having an actual physical storefront.
When we talk about business, it can be anything from starting your own freelance gig as a web designer, as an interior decorator, or even if you’re going to go pro-blogging, or if you want to be working at home. When you are going to work in your office and deciding how to run your business on your own, whatever that means for you.
Don’t get me wrong. These five buzz kills will apply to you even if you’re a stay-at-home mom that’s crocheting towels to fund your kid’s college education. These buzz kills are so horrible that they will find you unless you’re prepared so that being said, the first buzz kill of business is what I call “perfection procrastination.”
We know plenty about procrastination where you simply don’t get anything done. We know plenty about the need for perfection but what happens is in business sometimes we don’t allow ourselves to move forward on a project or to launch a business because we tell ourselves we just need more information.
So it’s a really gross line we tell ourselves that even if we are working in the industry for years, we feel that we need to go out and learn everything and completely disable ourselves and discount our own expertise in order to consider ourselves worthy of that expertise and “prepared” to start our own business.
Don’t get me wrong. No matter how well you prepare to start your own business, to start a blog, to produce your first eBook, or even as I’ve discovered to start a podcast. You are going to make every mistake in the book, most of them even if you’re well prepared.
So do not let the need for perfection completely disable you from moving forward. Analysis paralysis is very real. It could completely stop you dead cold in your tracks. If you’re trying to move forward with a new project to launch a website or to really kick off a site gig.
You will find that if you allow yourself to overanalyse to the point where it stops you from moving forward, you’ve completely defeated the purpose. Now learn from my fail. I started The Frugalpreneur Podcast. The domain was actually purchased back in November 2011. I had this brilliant idea that I was going to create this wonderful hub of expertise.
I felt that I had no right to be talking about business unless I sat down and read every stupid thing I could possibly find. So I actually went to the library and got a backpack full of books on everything from being an entrepreneur to case studies of entrepreneurs to starting your own store to freelancing and pro-blogging and completely intimated myself with work.
For a while it was convenient excuse. I was like; oh I can’t get started until I get to all of these books. But then I realized that I have no way not even after reading and researching everything. I have no way on getting better at telling you how to start a nifty store than just say somebody who actually started a netzy store.
You can only really learn by doing or you can really learn by interviewing an expert that knows what they’re doing. But that didn’t stop me from spending two months feeling like I was inadequately prepared to start a blog and then this podcast.
My domain sat there for two months before I really hit the publish button the first time on my first post and bought the microphone and really started cracking on this podcast because I allowed “analysis paralysis” to get my way.
You may find the same thing too. Another thing with this problem that you have of procrastination perfection is that you almost get procrastination down to an art. But you also other than information overload, you might you know put on yourself is the idea that you need everything to be perfect like your office before you can actually sit down and get to work.
I’ve seen this happen over and over and over again with people that started to work at home or they tell themselves that they will not be able to do their best work or heck any work until they really get this sweet office set up taken care of.
So they feel that they need to get the best chair, the best office. They need the lighting to be great and not only that, they need to have to get their “mojo” in the office so things have to be set up in a certain way.
Don’t get me wrong. I know tons of creative people that need to have that really sweet set up. You know where the pens are just set up ever so they have a cool lamp like a Lava lamp that they always have to really you know get warmed up before they sit on for it in the day to get to work.
But some of the most successful people I’ve seen really don’t use the fact that they have crummy office equipment. It doesn’t get in the way on the fact that they can pick up and work from anywhere whether it’s in their car, in Starbucks, or even in their snazzy little home office set up.
Don’t let the fact that you’re broke or you don’t have the perfect office set up keep you form actually getting to work. Now one interesting video and I’ll put this in the show notes was Pat Flynn. He is a very successful online entrepreneur. He has the blog, Smart Passive Income and a podcast to go with it. His office is like the simplest, most basic, down to earth set up you’d ever think. It’s really cool because he completely blows the mask off of this idea that you to have a very professional “boss” set up to be your own boss.
It’s not the case so I’ll put the link to his very humble but very cool, genuine video that he posted about his snazzy home office. So that is point number one. Do not let your need for perfection turn into means of procrastination.
All right .so buzzkill number two is what I call “DIY Hell.” Now “DIY Hell” is basically what happens when you feel the need whether it is a control issue or the fact that you’re broke or maybe you have something to prove or you feel that you have to have to absolutely do everything yourself even when it’s detrimental to your business over all.
Case in point, if you are starting your own interior decorating business and you want to work from home. You might be very, very good at interior design but have absolutely no idea how to set up a WordPress blog. Do you know anything about getting a theme, a logo, how to market, how to reach out to potential customers?
There are some things that you definitely want to learn as you go. You’re going to want to learn how to market and reach out to potential customers to put a face on your business. But the fact that so many people who are starting out especially when they’re broke, feel the need to actually do everything from A to Z when it comes to their business is complete method for burn out.
You are going to kill yourself trying to get everything done. So case in point when you start running your own business, you’re going to have to think of everything from the creation of your business, the maintenance of your business, things like paying taxes, paying bills, also being able to produce the content that’s going to make you money.
You can’t do everything on your own. You have to delegate to other people. Yes. Sometimes you have to pay for that delegation. Sometimes it totally sucks but after spending personally four to five hours trying to understand CSS in a free WordPress template that made me want to hit my head on the desk.
I have learned that it is so much better to hire professional web designer than think you can seriously spend five hours wisely on your time trying to teach yourself CSS to do one or two small tweaks on a lay out because you’re cheap.
So do not succumb to “DIY Hell.” There are going to be things in your business that you are really good at. Perhaps as a blogger you are really great promoting meaningful, heart-wrenching content that really reaches people, but that doesn’t mean that you will be really good at professional web design, or even that you should even bother with stuff like that.
It will get to the point in your business when you realize what you’re good at. The things that you don’t enjoy trust yourself that your time and your money are better spent letting a professional take on certain things.
Whether that means you’ll hire an accountant to do your taxes or you hire a professional web designer, trust me you will thank yourself for it. You will not spend five hours needlessly fixing a stupid free template because they have links to a lesbian hot site on the bottom of the footer and you can’t remove it.
So seriously, spend the money where it matters. Do not attempt to do it all yourself.
Just so I could be completely honest, I know of exactly what I’m talking about when I mention a lesbian hot site linked in your footer. Simply because a year ago when I first started Frugalbeautiful.com, I thought I could be a Jedi master and find a free theme on the Internet that I could install myself and do all the tinkering that was necessary.
Sadly enough, I didn’t know anything about CSS but thought I could learn as I go. It turns out I was completely wrong. I found a free hot pink theme that I thought was totally awesome for free on the Internet and installed it. I was thinking that everything was hunky-dory until a few weeks later; a friend of mine emailed me to ask why I had linked to a very kinky lesbian-dating site in my footer.
Well I’m all cool with lesbian dating sites. I have no problem with that, but this was an exceptionally kinky one. I did not want that to be linked on a family friendly blog so I tried to remove it. I still did not learn from my fail and I spent additional hours trying to edit the CSS, not realizing that things like that are kind of “baked in” (to free templates) and comes in the territory of getting a free theme. So learn from my fail and pay somebody to do something professional for you.
All right. Buzz kill number three is what I call “robot brain.” You can also call this “Cyber man Brain” but if you don’t watch Doctor Who then you did not get that reference. I’m hoping if you don’t watch Doctor Who, you don’t listen to this podcast. So if that’s the case, you can just go ahead and leave now.
You should really be watching Doctor Who. Okay. That’s totally not the point of this so Robot Brain. You will see evidence of what I call robot brain all over the Internet. Maybe you’re guilty of this yourself where you first started out in the business or you see one of your friends starting their own business. They start a website to go along with this business.
They have this very aloof professional tone that does not at all sound like them or sell them as a human being. So we have all seen this in the About page where it literally is like a resume where they list all the reasons why they should be taken seriously.
They kind of have this very weird third person tone where it sounds like they hired a professional writer but you really know it’s them that wrote about themselves but didn’t have the courage to say, “I did this” and “I filled this.”
Secondly they don’t put anything personal that would let us get to know them as a person. Now business experts of all stripes will probably disagree with them but if I’m hiring an accountant I kind of want to know like what their favourite TV show is or something personal about them.
Like if they have a family or if they have any cool vacation photos. I don’t know. It’s not always appropriate for every niche but take a serious look at your website or the people you love and make sure they are not making the mistake of robot brain.
Another form of robot brain is automatic tweaking. So many businesses feel the pressure to get involve with social media simple because they feel they have to be there. They feel that pressure that if they are not there, they’re going to be left behind but they almost shoot themselves in the foot by automating their social media in a robotic way. We all know this.
If you are on Twitter, you have probably seen the people that only tweet when they have new post up or if they have something to sell. Or they send out an automatic direct message when you follow them. You know that they did not write that themselves- It’s an automatic response or robotic response.
People that want to buy from you are not going to like that. They really want to get to know you as a person. Now don’t get me wrong. I know the value of having things automated. It’s passive. It’s easy. It keeps things consistent.
But when you get to the point where you know that you don’t even want to read this like every five minutes. “New post, read it now” on Twitter then you know that your audience is going to unfollow you.
They don’t want to be involved with that. It’s the same with their email inbox. They’re going to unsubscribe if all you send out is something that is overly promotional and written by a robot.
They sometimes to a point are buying from you, the person, whether you’re an accountant, whether you’re an interior designer, whether you are a stay-at-home mommy blogger.
They don’t want to be advertised to constantly, so be personal. Don’t be afraid of that.
If you have a love for zombie movies, (I don’t know why you would) but let’s just say you like zombie movies. If it’s appropriate for the kind of business that you run, you can talk about that on Twitter or you can put that in your “About” page. If you have a family, you don’t have to leave them off of your content. You don’t have to leave them out of the story.
Of course it doesn’t work for everybody. There’s a time and a place. But trust yourself that sometimes the person that you are is what people are coming for. They want to get to know you if they are going to be buying your services or interacting with you or promoting your material.
So if you cuss or you love to swear know that you will alienate some people but other people will really like it. If you have an affinity for dorky cartoons or things like 9Gag and you want to interject that sometimes in your like very serious financial post. That’s you. Develop your own personality and your own voice. Don’t be afraid of that.
Of course. Yes. It’s sometimes detrimental people are not going to like it but then again people don’t really like a lot of things so screw them! You don’t want them on your blog, you don’t want them buying your services anyway. So at least attract the people you want. Make that genuine connection.
Reach out and don’t be afraid that you’re going to alienate a few people because trust me. You will have more devout followers if you actually make a personal and than leave the “Cyber man” and “Doctor Who” references to the side.
Just sell yourself a person because people are going to make that connection. I know it’s scary but just do it.
So buzzkill number four is none other than the insidious comparison game. Now we all play this game. While it’s super easy to hop online and read blogs of entrepreneurs who are doing exactly what you want to do or making what seems like easy money every month. Do not let their success rain on your parade.
Now people that have made it big online whether they are selling hand knit tea cosies or they’re doing affiliate sales on their blog and are making thousands of dollars a month or maybe they scored a really awesome book deal. They’re not sharing their success to make you feel horrible. They’re trying to illuminate the potential of what lies within you.
But so often our own inner critic decides to take the front stage when we’re doing something new and uncomfortable and completely foreign to them that we often play the comparison game.
It’s either hide from the greatness we want to grow into or just simply use that as an excuse not to move forward. Not everyone is able to make $5,000 in affiliate sales or from Google Adsense in a single month.
Not everyone is going to be picked up by Oprah after they write their first novel. I wish it were so but it’s not. The fact of the matter is if you get to the point where you are reading inspiring stories that are making you feel horrible instead of the point, which is to inspire you.
If you are starting to feel like utter “poop” after reading it, you need to close that and walk away. In your first year of freelancing or in the first couple of months of starting your own business, you need to look to these big names to give you guidance, to see what they’ve done to maybe avoid their mistakes.
But don’t use it as an excuse to make yourself feel that you regret your decisions or to make yourself feel horrible about your life. They have put in a lot of time and effort. There are no overnight successes.
The great thing about experts inspiring us is that they make it look like so damn easy. Like Pat Flynn and I brought him up before, he makes a lot of money passively online. Corbett Barr who I interviewed in the last episode can work from anywhere in the world. Chris Guillebeau also has a goal of travelling every country in the world. He has a book published. He has quite a following. I’m even going to the “World Domination Summit” in Portland on July.
But it would be so silly to think that these people were able to accomplish what they were and to have these big followings and make the money online that they do overnight. But yet somehow we’ve internalized this idea that we also or we somehow we can beat it. Like we can be exactly where they’re at and where are right now. So I just want you to take a breather.
That’s a reminder. Do not play the comparison game. I know it’s tempting. You are where you are and who you are right now in your own journey so do not wear holes in your shoes walking in circles.
Just take a step forward even if it’s small and know exactly you are where you need to be. You’ll get to where you are going eventually.
So for tip number four, the buzz kill is do not play the comparison game and be patient with yourself.
All right. The final buzz kill is what I call “recreating the cubicle.” So many business owners, free thinkers, entrepreneurs, and smart people quit the grind simply because they want to get away from a boss they hate, hours that inflexible, and work that isn’t meaningful.
But be careful when you start your own business that you don’t subconsciously recreate the prison you just escaped from. Of course. When you first started a business, you are going to spend a boatload of time learning how to do things, making mistakes, researching, developing, and putting forth something awesome.
It’s going to take a significant amount of your energy and your time. Expect that your family and personal life is going to suffer a bit on the get go. The people that you love will have to make some accommodations to make sure they wont find you dead on your desk 48 hours later because you’ve had too much caffeine and you haven’t fed yourself.
But the fact of the matter is that there’s a reason why you left the grind and started this business. There’s a reason and so beyond just getting on the treadmill, working, doing, and creating. You eventually especially after the very tough start up phase, after the first couple of months, if you start to feel burned out, you need to take a breather before you completely burn out.
I’ll be enough. My first blog is FrugalBeautiful.com. It’s a lifestyle blog about frugality, being young, and liking shoes. Really that’s all there is. But the funny was that as I was developing it into a real business that was going to generate revenue.
I found that there wasn’t much of a lifestyle for me personally to talk about lifestyle blog. So I started to see all these other bloggers taking pictures of like dinners out with their boyfriends. They’re really cute like fashion ensembles. I realized that was spending so much time working that there was no life to talk about.
I was too busy talking about everybody else’s life that it was kind of a sad state of affairs. I realized that they were going to have to be other things that I would have to do to avoid burn out because I started to be a content farm.
That’s not ideal especially if you are blogger so you have to no matter what you’re doing take time for yourself. Whether that’s giving yourself a couple of days to be with family, to be really present with friends and people you care about.
Even if you can’t afford it, even if you can’t afford a vacation, or the rent’s due, you have to take some time off. God knows that I’ve had a couple of nights where I just had to sit down and watch nerdy, nerdy TV because I had no energy to do anything else.
In fact the first couple of months I started working at home I watched the entire season of Starr Trek: The Next Generation from start to finish in like three or four months of just watching Starr Trek: The Next Gen every single day.
Simply because I had no money to go out. I was too busy. I had to be close to the computer to answer emails but after I got through that phase of watching Starr Trek: The Next Gen, I realized that to leave my apartment and I had to socialize with other human beings because when you start to speak cling on and your friends don’t even know who you are anymore because you don’t look the same. You’ve lost weight. You don’t have a tan.
You know it’s time to make a significant life change so learn from my fail. Have a life. Light your fire. Even if you feel that you are in a very creative industry so let’s just say you do book keeping or lawyer law copywriting of some kind. You still have to stoke that creative fire.
You still have to keep yourself alive and your spirit alive to do your best work especially in the instance the freelancer or the small business owner. Many times people will come back again and again for you the person not necessarily the product that you create.
Case in point, I would frequently buy from graphic designers personally or I will go to a pet food store that costs more money or a small boutique by a small business owner of a woman who is super kind and treated me really well.
Those personal relationships are very important for me as a buyer so just assume that people who are going to read your content or support your store or buy from you really care about you as a person even if they don’t have the opportunity to show that. They show it enough by the fact that they return to spend their money or to tweet about what you’re doing.
So I know it’s tempting to recreate cubicle but don’t do it. In the beginning give yourself some time to adjust to break those chains and to break those habits but eventually you have to have a life.
It’s true otherwise it doesn’t matter where you work. If you’re flying off to Bali to work on your novel and you’re flipping miserable, you’ve completely missed the point.
So I know as a Frugalpreneur, you’re probably listening to this on an old laptop from a Starbucks, drinking like cold water but please invest in yourself. Spend some time and money whether that’s spa day or getting a course that will really help you build your business. Something that you could invest in yourself. Take time off like seriously whether that’s watching Zena on Netflix, which has been my horrible, shameful thing that I just love doing.
But do it for yourself because you work too hard not to give a crap about yourself and it’s time. You’re now running your own business now. You have to be the boss and tell yourself to go home when you’re sick or you’re tired.
So I guess that wraps up the third episode of The Frugalpreneur podcast. Thanks for joining us once again. I will see you back on The Frugalpreneur.com. Check out the show notes for nay links to content I might have mentioned in the episode. Rock on. I’ll see you back here for Episode Four. Thanks.
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