7 Of The Biggest Mistakes I See New Solopreneurs Make

7 Of The Biggest Mistakes I See New Solopreneurs Make, tips for building a successful business as a solopreneur entrepreneur that makes money on social media and beyond, career advice for people, #solopreneur, #entrepreneur, #businesssuccess, #careeradvice

This post is in partnership with Intuit Quickbooks. This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting brands who support TCM. As always, all thoughts, opinions, experience, and advice is my own.

I've been a solopreneur for over four years now and have worked with countless others as a business and blog consultant. Over the years I've made my fair share of mistakes, pivoted my business, and have helped others navigate their own struggles and mistakes. I get tons of emails from you all saying you want to start a blog or a small business but feel totally unsure about where to start. While I can't give you all my wisdom for free, I did want to share some of the biggest mistakes I see new solopreneurs make so you can avoid them in your future ventures!

7 Of The Biggest Mistakes I See New Solopreneurs Make

Focusing on perfection rather than done

I can't tell you how many clients I've worked with who at some point have a mini-melt down because they want everything to be “perfect.” Here's the truth: when you're starting out, done is better than perfect. Your business is going to change as you start to evolve and go through the motions. Your branding will change, your target customer or services may even change. Of course, you should still have a cohesive initial brand when launching for the sake of professionalism and continuity. However, focusing on a pristine aesthetic or the highest end business cards when you haven't made a $1.00 are a waste of your energy and efforts. In fact, it's that type of focus that causes most people to quit before they've even started. You learn as you go in business, and if you never go, you'll never learn what actually works for you and scaling your business.

Don't know where their money is going

When I ask most new solopreneurs I speak with about their finances, they excitedly respond, “Oh! I set up a spread sheet to track my spending!” And do you know what happens to that spread sheet in a few months? Nothing. It becomes something else they've done in “preparation” of their business, but never actually use. Instead, adopt a system like Quickbooks right out of the gate.

Quickbooks allows you to link your accounts and pulls in all of your transactions. This way it's a matter of snapping a picture of your receipt and spending a few minutes each week simply categorizing your expenses and verifying them versus trying to pull them from all over the place and saving the copies of your receipts just to figure out your income vs. expenses. LBH, if it's not an easy system, you're going to quickly abandon it and before you know it, you have no idea where money is going in your business.

Not knowing how they’ll accept payment or invoice

If you're a solopreneur you're either going to be selling goods or services and you'll need to have a system in place to accept payment and invoice your customers/clients. Quickbooks makes it easy to accept payments directly from the invoice via credit card, Apple Pay, or ACH transfers. One of my personal favorite features, is the real-time alerts when people view and pay your invoices. This way there's no denying “they never received the invoice” when it's tracking they've read it.

Hate being challenged

Yes, you're the solopreneur. It's your business. However, you need outside perspectives challenging you in order to truly be successful. Get to networking, hire a coach or consultant, get an outsider's opinion and ask them to poke holes in your business. It's the only way you'll grow. You need to know where people are falling off in your sales process or not renewing with you or simply never coming back to you for a second look. When people come to my husband (he's also an entrepreneur) and I for business advice, we usually challenge them on every level. Our mentality is, if we can talk you out of starting this business, then you shouldn't be starting it. Now if you face those challenging inquires with zeal and a more open mind for where you can focus your efforts, you're most likely cut out for this life.

With that said, you don't need to take every critique you receive. You take everything with a grain of salt because you don't know what biases someone is critiquing you through. With time, you'll learn how to critically review your own work as if it's someone else's. I always tell people to go back a month (or a year) and re-read their old emails, proposals, or content as if it's someone else's and reflect on how do they feel about it. What would their advice be to the person whose work they're reviewing? With time, you'll be able to go back and look at your work through this critical lens after a day instead of a year since you'll be more removed from it. Challenging yourself and asking for feedback is how you'll grow and reach new levels as a solopreneur.

Not understanding their revenue streams and what they entail to scale the business


If you have a goods based business, you're going to need inventory and with time, employees to help you scale your orders. Quickbooks makes it easy to track inventory in real-time and will even give you “low stock” alerts so you can easily avoid back orders.

Tax Forms

Quickbooks also makes managing contractors easy. If you're unsure if someone is a 1099 or W2 they have a helpful quiz to figure it out. Then you'll know how to enter the person into your system and either way they make keeping track of their end of year forms for taxes easy.

Time tracking

Quickbooks also offers a super powerful time tracking solution that's integrated with your Google Calendar. Honestly, this is so powerful from tracking your own billable time to employees or contractors time you need to pay them for that it could be an entire post on it's own! Keeping in mind that most of the solopreneurs reading this are probably service based I'll share solely from that perspective (it's what I do too!). Essentially you use the Invoice to Google Calendar app to easily track your billable hours in your Quickbooks account.

All you do is go into your Quickbooks account, find the event in your google calendar events, and then add the event to your invoice! Trust me, this is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves I have with the contractors I've hired over the years – really poor invoicing. If you're billing someone for your time, you must be prepared to show a breakdown of that time. Never send someone an invoice that says “3 hours” with no description of services or dates. I have fired many contractors for this because as someone who has had to track my time to get paid, it's really obvious when invoice hours are fudged.

If you have a service based business, you'll need to think about what your potential customers/clients are going to want from you. I think Quickbooks has you covered on everything that someone could potentially want from you though.

To protect my own business privacy, I'm using sample data from a faux company

Scrambling at tax time

Remember how I said most of the solopreneurs I talk with about finances proudly proclaim they “set up a spreadsheet!” – Yeah, those are the same ones who are scrambling at tax time! I'm really stressing this: but you need an actual accounting software like Quickbooks! Aside from tracking your income versus expenses throughout the year; it'll make your life a lot easier come tax time. If you're working with an accountant, you can add them to the system so they can go in and do what they need to do. If you're doing your taxes yourself, you'll have everything categorized and tracked from your end of week check-ins. They'll also make it easy to run an 1099's or other tax forms you're going to need for filing.

Tax deductions essentially put money back in your pocket – so you really don't want to be a chaotic mess for this. Quickbooks automatically sorts business expenses into the right deduction categories to maximize your deduction. They also have a “track mileage” feature which has help their users deduct an average of over $7,000 annually using their software and their phones GPS. Lastly, you can easily keep track of all your receipts by just snapping a photo and Quickbooks will automatically match and categorize it for you. Being a solopreneur can be expensive (hello health insurance!) but it doesn't have to be if you're actually taking advantage of the proper write-offs.

Never turning off

It's easy to get caught up in the “hustle” mindset. We rationalize and tell ourselves, “well if I'm not working I'm not making money,” and in turn make it nearly impossible to “shut off.” Here's the thing though: you are not a machine. You can only do so much before your work will begin to suffer. You need to tune into your unique work-flow and find balance. Otherwise, you'll reach burn out, want to throw in the towel, and may end up disappointing your customers or clients in the process with sloppy work product.

Make sure each day you are carving out time to take care of yourself physically, spiritually, and emotionally. You may still be working 16 hour days while carving out that “self-care” time and that's okay, if you're actually thriving. Take note when you start getting complaints, feel resentful, or people keep coming up to you saying you're not yourself any more. Turn inward and course correct accordingly.

Which of these mistakes are you making?

Or what would you add to the list?!

Here's a list of The 7 Biggest Mistakes I See New Solopreneurs Make:

  1. Focusing on perfection rather than done

  2. Don't know where their money is going

  3. Not knowing how they’ll accept payment or invoice

  4. Hate being challenged

  5. Not understanding their revenue streams and what they entail to scale the business

  6. Scrambling at tax time

  7. Never turning off


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