The Afro Coach Operations Agency

5 Business Mistakes Killing Your Creative Business

Do you remember the last time you felt frustrated? The type of frustration where you just drop all your doing, head over to LinkedIn and look to see if there are any jobs available in your area because this business thing that was supposed to be easy after the umpteenth course you took hasn’t been working out the way you thought. Even looking at jobs pisses you off because you know your creative brain isn’t meant to be chained to a cubicle, but money has been only getting tighter with all the up and down income. Can you relate?

Despite your best intentions (and the money you’ve spent), there can be fundamental business mistakes being made that are hindering (not helping) your business grow to be the chief breadmaker you want it to be.

It’s not your lack of effort or creativity that’s hurting you, it’s more than likely how you’ve been told to run your business, compared to how you WANT to run your business.

After 2 years and $30k investments later, I’ve found these 5 mistakes are the top mistakes holding you and your business back from making the income you want.

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MISTAKE 1: Trying to Knowledge Your Way to Success (Learning but not Implementing)

We’ve all done it where something isn’t working, so we naturally go seek out more information when we aren’t sure how to do something. This is a great way to bootstrap your business, but too much of it can lead to second-guessing. Too much intake of information, or info-hangovers, can cause so much overwhelm and confusion from conflicting sources, you short circuit any confidence you have in taking a step forward.

Consuming 10-15 free checklists, webinars, guides, and more on the daily can lead to the only action taken was to ‘study’ more of what I needed to do. What you think is making you more knowledgeable, is actually making you more paranoid. It’s using ‘knowledge’ as a shield to not doing anything.

We can’t do what we don’t know, right?

We can trick ourselves into thinking we don’t know enough and end up stunting our own growth in an attempt to be ‘ready’ to move forward the right way. Sis let me tell you now; there is never going to be enough knowledge for you to feel ready. Something will always come up, telling you that you don’t know enough. Do yourself a favor and learn to quiet your inner Regina. The only way knowledge is useful, is when it’s been used. 

It’s not more knowledge you need, it’s action <3 

MISTAKE 2: “Performing” for your audience

When we get on social media, we tend to subconsciously think we need to be on our best behavior. Show what people want to see. Say what people want to hear. And keep that up until people eventually buy from you. 

But how exhausting is that to try and be everything for everyone in order to make a buck? Assuming that behaving in a certain way will attract and close clients for you is such a disservice to you as a human being. No one out here is like you, and that’s why people will be drawn to you.

People can smell inauthenticity, and in a world where people are so hardwired to smell bullshit, it’s a waste of time trying to build your brand on something that’s not you. People can smell gross marketing from a mile away.

Don’t just act concerned, be concerned.
Don’t just feign kindness, be kind.
Don’t shake off something you hate, let them know if you don’t stand for it

Authentic connection, content, and communication will not only save YOU energy, but it will also draw the right community to you. Don’t be afraid to break from the scripts you see others following. Trust in your ideas, stand by your offerings, and be direct in how you present them. People will value you speaking your truth over hiding behind popular opinion trends. 

MISTAKE 3: Trying to Take on Everything Yourself

Trying to manage every little decision in your business seems like a good idea at first. Your business is your baby, right? So that means you need to nurture it, take care of every little thing, and be directly involved in its success. However, when we try to be the end-all, be-all of our business, we make it really hard for ourselves to scale. We, unknowingly, become a bottleneck to growth, because everything needs to go through you. Micromanaging the result only chokeholds the transformation.

The biggest hurdle we will overcome is learning to let go of the overall outcome of our success, and learn to accept it will be there for as long as we. The amount of times I would shoot myself in the foot because I was trying to “handle it” on my own is embarrassingly high. The great Olivia Pope even had a team to help her!

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We can’t force people to buy from us when we want them to.
We can’t make our clients have success.
We can’t determine when our big breaks will be.

We just need to believe they are coming our way inevitably because of the hard work you are doing. You need to trust that your work, and who you are is enough. And as a perfectionist that can be a tough pill to swallow. 

It can be as simple as asking your audience what they want to hear about (not assuming you know), taking action on an opportunity, or delegating tasks to a VA that you simply can’t get to. Trust your business model works, and allow your business to flourish without you needing to have your thumb on everything.

MISTAKE 4: Failing to Build a Community Before Selling 

You’ve spent all this time working hard on your product offering, having no one to sell to can be like a punch to the gut. But if you spent a fraction of that time building a community of people who trust you, your bank account would be singing a different tune! While selling is an integral part of your business, it can get real old real quick having to constantly find new clients and working hard to gain their trust each and every sale. 

Community building is integral to your business’s lifespan. There is so much noise out there, and having a group of people who know, like, and trust you is imperative. 

And It’s more than having someone follow you on social media. It’s having a group of people excited to see your name pop up in their inbox. Tuning in to every Live (or replay!). Going out of their way to seek your content over all the others.

THAT’S community, sis. And they will be the ones who fight for you, buy from you, and refer others to work with you. 

A mentor of mine once say to me, “A community of people are more valuable to you than any 1 sale because it is always easier to sell to a friend than it is to a stranger.”

A community doesn’t see you as a stranger, which means they trust you more than any ad they would ever see. Selling a solution to them will be much easier as they trust that you will deliver (as you should).

But like trust, building a community needs time and space. And it doesn’t come the moment you have a product to sell, however. You can create an email community, FB community, anywhere where you can make a space for your community to connect and engage will benefit you. It will also give you a place to build your authority with the value you provide in that group. 

My biggest regret was thinking too little of my FB group from the get-go. I’ve been rebuilding it, working on making every member feel welcome and safe to engage with me in that group before I would bring any paid items to the fray. Selling takes timing, and if you mess it up it’s the fastest way to lose credibility. 

Rebuilding my community has shown an increase in leads, more so than I ever received when I was just chasing random people online who mentioned they wanted a consultant. A sale is one-off, but trust is forever!

If you aren’t ready to start a FB group yet, be a voice/authority in another person’s group! Offer valuable advice, ask questions, be a meaningful member. That alone can bring people to you without even realizing it. 

Put in the effort to build relationships with the people you want to help, and watch how much easier selling your solution will be. It’s not about being famous and having a large following, it’s about being trusted by those who decide to follow your content. 

MISTAKE 5: Not Building Structure Into Your Business Sooner

I liked to think that because I didn’t like corporate life, it meant I didn’t like structure. Which is hilarious to think about, since I like to make lists as a pass time. I like having security. I like knowing what’s coming. I just don’t like when they come with an 8×8 cubicle.

So when I went into entrepreneurship, I approached it completely differently than I typically work. I was an action first, off the cuff type of entrepreneur, and would take opportunities as they came and hoped for the best. 

While I ended up falling on my face a lot, it did lead to a lot of quick success. Unfortunately, it meant I didn’t learn until later how that strategy doesn’t last for very long. I would attempt to launch with ‘structure’ but not having any fundamental systems to support that launch meant it would flop. A LOT.

I had no structure to my marketing platform, so I came off very inconsistent, and wouldn’t keep promises to my audience (which meant many left)

Building a few easy workflows in my business would have helped me close more deals early on, as opposed to getting so overwhelmed I wouldn’t even pay attention to (very) obvious leads who were wanting my services!

I was spinning in circles thinking random tasks would help my business grow, but it was the equivalent to building my house on sand; it just wasn’t stable. 

Structure saves business and learning to build a few simple ones in your business now before you catch your big break, will save your sanity as well. 

For me, I started by building a simple structure that looked like this content workflow:

  • Research market

  • Pick 3-5 topics

  • Write Live content for top 3

  • Take snippets from Live and make social media posts for the week

  • Check analytics to see which post did the best

And I focused all my energies on that structure until I could afford to expand it a bit with new opt-ins, offers, and processes to make my life easier while also serving my clients. 

For you, focus on getting structure around the following:

  • Lead Generation

  • Content Creation

  • Sales Process

  • Client Management

All these mistakes have cost me several thousand in profit and hours in panic, so I hope me writing them out here will save you the trouble of having to go through them yourself!

Did you find this post helpful? Share which mistake hit home for you in the comments below. Be sure to also pin the image above so you can share the wealth! 

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