5 BIG TIME Mistakes New Entrepreneurs Must Avoid

I have made each and every one of these mistakes and have paid the price. I write them here so someone who is starting off on the self-employed road can be ready! But even if you are a seasoned entrepreneur, see how many of these mistakes you don’t make!?

Click play button above to see the video. 

Mistake # 1: Being self-employed means having no boss! 

That’s the charm, isn’t it? Being self-employed and having your own business means that no one can boss your around, right? Yes, that is right.

No person is your boss but you need a boss.

Let your calendar be your boss. Because make no mistake, you will under ALL circumstances, need structure. When you are employed, your boss provides you that structure. When you are self-employed, the benefit is that you can decide your own structure, your own calendar, but define it you must.

Commit to treating your calendar as a sacred document. It is sacred actually. For example, the five prayer times that Muslims have all go into the Calendar, and when you tell someone you will meet him/her at a certain time, that’s a promise, so that’s sacred, and goes into the Sacred Calendar.

The myth of a the unstructured, non-systematic, creative genius who (1) succeeds and (2) maintains that success, is exactly that: a dangerous, damaging, career-destroying myth!!

Mistake # 2: Organising is for losers!

I always thought that cool, creative folks do not need organising. And I always thought I was cool and creative.

I mean, sure, have a calendar, treat it as a sacred document even but I still thought that organising one’s office, one’s work place, one’s life (!!) is really for the boring, mechanical, loser types.

Now those organised, boring, mechanical loser types are the only ones who actually do things that matter.

I have always advocated use of “systems” for any businesses. But oddly, I never thought that I would need a “system” for organising myself. I see now that this is beyond a rookie mistake, this was a dumb mistake on my part.

I realised this severe lack of organisation as one of the main reasons of stagnant businesses and haphazard life. I dove into the literature, tested it, applied it every-freakin-where, and now I can say that I am on my way to be “masterfully organised” and I even have a label printer as proof!

You need a system for yourself, it is that simple.

So bottom line: learn organisation, learn how to put everything in its place and have a place for everything!

Mistake # 3: A home office means a place to work in your home!

This is for those who have a home office.

A home office saves you money, yes, and you gotta love the commute, right!? Work in your pajamas is sold as the ultimate dream of the self-employed individual.

Just like “no boss” is sold as the ultimate dream, this “work from home means work like a slob” is a dream that you HAVE TO THROW OUT THE FREAKIN’ WINDOW.

Think about it for a moment: you need to be in a certain state of mind to do meaningful work, regardless how creative you think your work is, right? And dressing accordingly is one of the easiest methods to get to that state of mind.

Other than that, hire a tea boy, install a separate phone system, whatever it takes for you to logically divide your home from your office. What are you doing there wearing your night clothes?? Get out. Change. Dress for the occasion, the occasion of you sitting down and doing meaningful work!

Mistake # 4: A good idea means you can be a good entrepreneur

Screen Shot 2013-01-26 at 12.47.55 AMI feel we treat ideas with too much respect. Sure, you’re the ultimate idea machine churning out million-dollar, world-changing, spine-busting ideas in your spare time — but seriously, how many times have we seen others taking an idea and making a profit from it? While the “idea machine” just looks on and wonders, “why didn’t I do it!”

I have heard many people say, “did you see that XYZ business? I had that idea months ago man!” And the worst part? They say it with PRIDE, don’t they? As if having the idea was the really cool part and executing it, renting out the space, gathering the finances, hiring the resources, putting your neck on the line, taking the risk was all secondary!! Seriously?

Repeat after me: ideas that don’t get executed are called excuses. Pat yourself on the back for having the idea? Never! Test it, take action on it, then pat the skin off your back if you want to.

Mistake # 5: Compare yourself to your friends and peers!

This is the most painful of the mistakes that I have made.

Comparing yourself to your surroundings and your peers is a GUARANTEED mindset to be mediocre. Imagine if Superman compared himself to his peers! He would never have tried to save the world, choosing instead to be happy at just winning gold at all Olympic events (except perhaps synchronised swimming – I mean his cape would ruin it for him).

When I started my first little venture, I thought I had taken over the freakin’ world! Why? Because I was comparing myself to my surroundings.

Then I managed to get into a string of businesses by God’s Grace. But I stopped growing as an entrepreneur because my worldview was limited.

Jim Rohn says that you are the average of your five best friends. Makes sense now like never before. I discovered rats, lots and lots of rats. I am killing them now.

The reason I now am enrolled in a triathlon, the reason we are meeting on the 16th for the LifeETC meetup, the reason I blog, the reason I am still adamant on having a radio show — all of this and a lot more, has a lot to do with my attempts at realigning my benchmark: Stop comparing with your peers, start comparing with your own compelling, exciting goals. 

I do hope that you found the above useful. Sharing it across your network, emailing it to your friends etc helps. Thank you so much yo!

Question: So, how many of the above mistakes you catch yourself making? And what is the biggest business mistake that you feel you have learnt from? Share in the comments below so others can inshAllah benefit from it too.


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  1. Kamal Subhani

    Love the new look of the blog.

    Awesome advice bro, it surely can save lots of time, effort and money for someone starting the entrepreneurial journey

    Point 5 is such a gem.

    PS: If anyone wana read about the Col Sanders story ( here are a few good links)



  2. Mashallah. I am very pleased and inspired by the article. May Allah give you a Taufeeq to utilize your abilities and capabilities to benefit others and I always love innovate people and appreciate their efforts because also our Quran wants us to be innovative and creative. I already willing to do dairy farming and by chance I was searching on google regarding this, so I found you here. Jazakallah khair wassalam

  3. Dear .. amazing, i found this article as a life to my current situation . I was losted and quite scattered . All 5 Reasons i bet 100% applied on me currently!

    Thank you

  4. that was an interesting read thanks for sharing

  5. Jahanzaib Nawaz Janjua

    It is an awesome piece of writing.Very brief and full of information. Seems that it was written for me….. Have definitely started thinking about the points you have made.
    keep posting such nice thoughts.

  6. To the point, guiding and brilliant article! This is probably third time visit to your blog and found it as professional and cheerful as I found yourself on our only in real life meeting in Karachi! 🙂

    • Thank you Jabran! Visit often man, not only the blog, but Lahore… there is cup of tea with your name on it! 🙂

  7. Lesson is to remain on your toes. Entrepreneurship is an addiction, its a craze for creating things, and implementing ideas that no other person (s) can do on this earth. Listening to your inner voice is the key, not from your heart only, but from the point where your brain and heart become coherent and leaving the luck factor for those who think they can not create their own luck.
    Excellent post!

    • Thank you for the feedback Hammad bhai! Luck, like lack of funds, is a favorite excuse amongst us all, but at the end of the day, it is an excuse, not a reason. A lot of people fail and give up, and then there are those who don’t. Col Sanders (who started KFC!) could have given up after his 1008th rejection and people would have called him unlucky! But he went at it again, and someone bought his idea. His one thousand and ninth attempt!! And now he is considered a “lucky break”!! Ridiculous! 🙂

  8. What are you doing? Hanging out in the corner of my house and my office? Wow! This is a great post. You’ve hit a lot of them on the head. I’m going to guess you have stumbled in similar ways before?

    • Shoes-under-the-drapes gave me away I suppose? 🙂 And yes, I am like the professional stumbler. 🙂
      These are all personal pain points… and I realize now that some of them wouldn’t have happened had I even known. The thing is, I didn’t even know! Had no clue. And there I was… now I think what else “obvious in your face” type things I don’t know. This is getting exciting after a loong time 😉

      And thanks for dropping by Chris

  9. Awesome post!!! Please tell from where we can “learn” self organizing.

    • Isn’t that the burning question… 🙂 Aamir, start with David Allen’s Getting Things Done (Amazon link here. That book told me how hard it should be, how detailed. I realised I was not working on it at all!! Hope this helps m’man.

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