Seven deadly sins of creative entrepreneurs


// Entrepreneur and creative agency founder, 33 year old Tara Shelton has made mistakes. Like all of us. Here’s seven of them…

Tara Shelton is the brains and brawn of online succulent business, Little Succers. Whether it is a labour of love or sheer determination in converting an idea into a successful business, there are a suite of pitfalls and considerations to keep in mind.

Image: Supplied

In her own words, Tara lists her personal list of entrepreneurial pitfalls.

Seven Deadly Sins of Startups

1. Not factoring marketing cost into their cost of goods sold. You may never be able to turn a profit if your customer acquisition cost is too high.

2. Sending web traffic to a bad website. If your website isn’t optimised for good brand communication and conversion, then spending money on web traffic (social ads and Google Ads) is a waste of time, like pouring champagne into a leaky bucket.

3. Thinking once you have launched your product, you’re done and you can just market the wotzits out of it. Wrong. You need to re-design and re-launch your product over and over again so it gets better and better. A good product will sell your product over good marketing, every single time. Read ‘Purple Cow’ by Seth Godin. Be remarkable.

4. Living on Pinterest and Instagram for your inspiration. Ideas come from experiences, and if everyone is experiencing the same thing then you can bet that everyone’s ideas will be the same. Algorithms also kill originality. Once you show an interest in something you will keep getting served similar things. You have to make a conscious effort to get offline and feed your mind with different ideas to stay fresh and original. The cheapest way to get noticed is to be different.

5. Not paying yourself. It’s noble to put the business and building a team before your own wage, but if your business can’t afford to pay their leader, it’s unsustainable. You will burn out, become resentful and your dream of starting a business will turn to a dream of throwing it all in. (This happened to Tara.)

6. Thinking just because you work hard, took a risk and built something, you deserve success and all the trimmings. Wrong. Some entrepreneurs are far too impatient with success and live in fantasy land that they will be a super-brand overnight. Like fine wine, good things take time. Business heroes are basically just survivors, the ones that didn’t quit when things got hard.

7. Being naive when forming a business partnership. There’s no doubt that the good and bad of business is easier when shared, but entering into a business partnership without having an exit plan if things go sour is just plain stupid. Tara has seen too many businesses fail because the business partners couldn’t agree. The business won’t continue without a buyout, and if you can’t agree on who buys who and for what, then the business will just flat line into a slow death. Hope for the best but plan for the worst when it comes to business partnerships.

And an honourable mention goes to ….

8. Thinking staff are your friends. Entrepreneurship can be lonely, so when you start to hire people you may get attached and think they are your friends. Your goal as a leader is to be respected … not necessarily liked as a friend. The hard decisions and conversations are what defines a leader and staff are human so they will stuff up. If you have a friendship rather than a professional relationship, necessary hard words and decisions will be so much harder. Keep the people drama for Netflix and out of your business.

Image: Supplied