The 5 WORST Pieces of Entrepreneurial Advice - Amber Hurdle | Globally Recognized Leadership & Personal Branding Expert

The 5 WORST Pieces of Entrepreneurial Advice

June 02, 2015


I’ve been in the game (the new online game) of being an entrepreneur for long enough now to climb up on my soap box and rant about a few things. Things that I see disable many-a-new entrepreneur. Now, prior to my coaching and training business I successfully had both a celebrity event planning/experiential marketing firm and briefly was a partner in an event venue, so my advice is many years in the making and solid for any entrepreneur. However, it is especially targeted towards online entrepreneurs. THIS space is where I see the most cray-zee-ness!

Ready? I’m not going to hold back…here we go:

1. Start before you’re ready.

This adage began in an attempt to encourage perfectionists who would otherwise NEVER think they were ready to start a business. You know, people who think they have to have their business all Fortune 500 quality before starting to sell their services or their wares.

This advice doesn’t mean just jump out into the market blindly and skip the research, foundation laying or education needed to properly launch a business. And I see that happen FAR too often. Excited wantrapreneurs, throwing caution to the wind, quit their jobs and wing it with no plan and no parachute. And then they fail. So sad.

So, since you probably will never feel ready, let’s at least say, “start before you are ready, but only after you are prepared with the basics” like:


  • A clear knowledge of who you are, what you offer and why people should buy from you and not the competition.
  • An understanding of who you are trying to sell to. Who is your perfect customer?
  • Systems to support your customers and your employees (if applicable), as well the internal systems that track your sales, marketing, legal “stuff” and other foundational business elements.

If you don’t know what is special about your business or who you should be selling to…and if you don’t have processes in place to handle the business you do get, then you will have very unconvincing marketing messages, could waste a ton of time and energy marketing in the wrong places to the wrong people; AND if you happen to get some business on accident, you won’t be able to deliver on your marketing promises at worst or will feel overwhelmed by your business at best.

So again, start after you’ve done your homework…even if you feel a little nervous about being “good enough.” THAT’S what you should be told.

Oh, and if you need a little clarity in your business, don’t forget to grab my FREE resource to help you feel confident in what you want to be known for and how you are going to make the big bucks. 😉

2. Relax, you just have “imposter syndrome.”

Listen, if you’re 4 foot 11 and have spent your entire youth on the chess team you WILL NOT be an NBA star no matter how much you try to manifest it. In the same, if you do not have any experience in social media you cannot be a well-paid social media manager. If you have no business experience and have never taught, led, nor coached another human being either professionally or because you were always that “go to” friend, you cannot be a business coach.

Please. Just stop.

You have talents. Really. You have God-given gifts and EXPERIENCE! Draw on what comes to you naturally, on what you can point to in your career history as proof someone should do business with you and on what you can deliver on. Make THAT your business.

But for heaven’s sake, don’t launch a business that requires you to operate in your weaknesses, teach something you know nothing about, or claim to be an expert when you have no experience in that area.

I know this seems like common sense, but again, I see this ALL OF THE TIME! Stop the insanity!

Yes, it might take you a long time to FEEL like an expert even when you do have gifts, talents, experience and a track record, thus the term “imposter syndrome,” but no one is giving you a license to BE an actual imposter, either.

3. Just Get Your Minimal Viable Product (MVP) Out There

Obviously, even ol’ Steve and Woz started in a garage with pieced together parts before they sold their first computer. They did NOT start all tricked out Apple sleek from the get-go. However they DID do the BEST they could with what they had and continuously improved from there. THAT is what this cute little saying really means.

However, this does not mean you should schlup out crap, not proofread your content, half-ass your quality to just “get it out there” and then charge a ton of money knowing you can improve your product after you get feedback from your consumers. That’s just wrong. And you will be known for overcharging and under delivering…and that’s exactly what you deserve.

Instead, do the best that you can with what you have. Price your products and services competitively according to the comps discovered in your market research. (See my rant in #1). Then improve your offerings as you go and increase your prices as your quality, experience and the demand improves.

4. NEVER work for free.

To the experienced people who just have money hang-ups, to those who feel bad for charging to help people or to those who have been “in business” for a while and still aren’t charging appropriately for your services, skip this one. You totally need to be charging for what you are offer.

However, everyone else needs to start somewhere. If I was advising a recent graduate looking for a job or chatting with a professional seeking to transition careers, I would tell them to find a volunteer opportunity with a non-profit. In doing so they have the ability to showcase their talents, hob nob with board members likely in powerful positions in hiring companies, as well as build up some experience. It is WISE to give their time and talent to set them up for successful earnings in the future.

In the same, sometimes those new in business need to practice on clients (fully disclosing they are “practicing”) and get testimonials to provide credibility to future paying clients. Also, helping successful players in your space for free could set you up to be included in their network, receive referral business or have doors opened for you that would not otherwise open for you. Tread carefully as not to be taken advantage of, but believing you should NEVER work for free is equally as dangerous to your future success.

5. You need a coach or need to take a program to be successful in business.

First, please refer to #2. Do you know how many poser coaches and programs are out there? It’s sickening.

But even if you find a reputable coach or program, paying for it does not equate your inherent success. Consistent action, strategic planning and the systems I talked about in #1 can all lead you to success. Plus, taking out a loan to pay for a high dollar coach is just plain bad business unless they guarantee financial results with a money back offer.

So if you can’t afford a coach yet, you can find mentors, peers who push you to perform and hold you accountable and ALL KINDS of free information all over the Internet to fill the need for support and education.

Now, can a great coach or super awesome program help accelerate your success? ABSOLUTELY. But if you can’t afford to invest in a program or coach, get some sales under your belt, build up some cash flow, BUDGET for your professional development, and THEN hire a coach or take a program.

And don’t forget, I’m in ICF certified coach giving this advice to you. It’s kinda legit.

So there you have it. I called B.S. on the stuff you are going to hear taken out of context over and over and over again. Do you agree with any of these 5? Did I leave any out? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments!

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