10 Unhealthy habits that can destroy your business

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"To keep the body in good health is a duty... otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. -- Buddha

Running a business can be difficult at times, so don’t make it any harder on yourself than it already is. Your personal health can have a huge impact on the health of your business, so make sure you keep it a priority.

Here are 10 unhealthy habits that could hurt your business. Keep these in mind and look for their warning signs.

1. Getting Angry

Sometimes clients, suppliers, and even colleagues will do things that upset you, but there’s simply no way that getting angry helps you in business. When you get angry, your emotion overwhelms and blinds you, and adds stress to an already stressful lifestyle.

2. Self-Doubt

Remember that every business owner was inexperienced and unsure of themselves when they started out. No one is born an expert, but self-confidence will come as you gain experience.

3. Thinking You Know What You Don’t

A prime example is making assumptions about your target market based on what you think they like. You need objective data about your market on which to base your decisions.

If you’re too set in your opinions, you may miss important new information that comes along. Keep your mind open and know what you don’t know.

4. Bad Stress Management

There will be more stress ahead in the journey of running your own business. If you don’t deal well with stress, it’s time to learn some new coping strategies.

5. Working Until You Burn out

Because there is so much to do and only so many hours in a day, many solopreneurs push themselves to work long hours. Neglecting sleep and leisure activities leads to burnout, which can seriously damage your business.

6. Failure to Delegate

Learn to ask for help when you need it and delegate tasks that aren’t the best use of your time, energy and expertise.

7. Multitasking

When you multitask, it’s hard to give any of your tasks the attention they require.

8. Not Listening

To make your business a success, you have to meet your clients’ expectations, and you can’t do this unless you listen to them.

9. Fear of Spending Money

It’s important to keep an eye on cash flow and reduce expenses where you can, but there are some things that you simply have to pay for.

10. Fear

True courage means taking action in spite of the fear you feel. Push the fear aside and get down to business.

Running your own business can be challenging, but deeply rewarding. Do your best to recognize and cut out unhealthy habits and replace them with habits that will help you succeed.

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A former professional organizer, I now eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

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  1. Avatar Sabrina Quairoli on February 11, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Great post! All of them apply to small business owners. I think self-doubt, fear of spending money, and failure to delegate are the three top unhealthy habits I see small business owners deal with. Thanks for sharing.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on February 11, 2016 at 2:19 pm

      Fear of spending money, and failure to delegate are probably the top two that I see. It makes me crazy when I see people post in online discussion groups, looking for tools that will do everything except make the coffee, and “oh, it has to be free.”

  2. Avatar Autumn Leopold on February 12, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    Great post and very true! One other thing that can hurt your business is saying yes to doing things out of obligation. I’ve done that a few times and regretted it. So now I say no unless its good for my business.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on February 13, 2016 at 7:24 am

      I’ve fallen into that trap too, Autumn. Another one I should have included is taking on clients or projects that aren’t a good fit either because you can’t say no, or because you need the money. It nearly always leads to stress and it can hurt your reputation if you don’t do your best work or handle the situation well.

  3. Avatar Sarah Soboleski on February 13, 2016 at 7:46 am

    Being a social worker, I am well-skilled in active listening and it has served me well! Great list, Janet!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on February 13, 2016 at 9:50 am

      I bet there are a lot of times that your social work background serves you (and your clients) well as a professional organizer. So much of it relies on empathy and communication!

  4. Avatar Tara Rudo on February 13, 2016 at 7:56 am

    For me, it is the fears that get in my way. For my clients, it is the delegation. I always tell them that the Law of Delegation is that if someone can do a task 70% as well as you can, delegate it! Great list Janet.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on February 13, 2016 at 9:51 am

      I’ve never heard that Law before, Tara, but I’ll be quoting it for sure.

  5. Avatar Seana Turner on February 13, 2016 at 8:36 am

    Love the active listening point. Especially when your business brings you into a client’s home, it is so important to listen and not just push in and set up a system that isn’t a good fit.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on February 13, 2016 at 9:52 am

      Sometimes one client’s situation seems so similar to another’s that it’s easy to fall into that trap!

  6. Avatar Sarah Buckwalter on February 13, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Great post and great advice for business owners. We all fall into these traps sometimes. Thank you!

  7. Avatar Janet Barclay on February 13, 2016 at 9:53 am

    Thank you for dropping by, Sarah!

  8. Avatar Erica Duran on February 13, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    Love that you put “#9 Fear of Spending Money”!

    I run into so many service-based entrepreneurs that are always looking for the “free” version of everything from calendar systems to business coaching.

    This causes such a lack mentality and completely wastes so much time.

    The free versions of things are usually frustrating to work with or won’t give you the results you are looking for.

    A lack mentality and being cheap with yourself and your business seeps into your sales conversations and it is a vicious circle, you won’t sign up the client or get the income.

    Thanks for getting this point out there Janet!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on February 14, 2016 at 6:02 am

      That reminds me of a conversation I had with a business coach when I was in the process of starting my business. She said, “If you aren’t willing to put money into your business, why should clients be willing to?” Thank you for reinforcing the message.

      • Avatar Erica Duran on February 14, 2016 at 1:39 pm

        Yes! That is so true. If you don’t invest in your business but you expect your clients to it throws all the energy off. I think that is why a lot of my clients “magically” start getting clients when we start working together or they start investing in more self-care for themselves. I can’t really explain it. But there is the other side too that I’ve experienced myself and that is investing like crazy into tools for my business that were really overkill. I invested in Infusionsoft for 2 years and it was a really robust system and I even consulted other companies on how to use it. But, one day I thought, “You know, this is a really robust system, but it is just overkill for what I need”. I then simplified things. Sometimes we see the tools that all the big online gurus are using and think that is what is got them to where they are. It is never the tools, is it? 🙂 We don’t see what they are doing to really get to where they are.

        • Avatar Janet Barclay on February 15, 2016 at 6:06 am

          Thanks for showing us the other side of the coin – spending is necessary, but you don’t necessarily need the most expensive options! (It always comes back to balance, doesn’t it?)

  9. Avatar Elana Kleinman on February 14, 2016 at 10:48 am

    I think fear of spending money is a legitimate one – but if you do the research to make sure your spending will directly result in growing your business, it helps to dampen the fear.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on February 15, 2016 at 6:03 am

      Great point, Elana – and it reinforces the importance for marketers to focus on benefits rather than features!

  10. Avatar Hilda Rodgers on February 16, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    Great post Janet! I need to remind myself of all of these from time to time. But I think #5 and #7 are my worst habits. I’m pinning this so I can look at it when needed. Thanks!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on February 17, 2016 at 6:50 am

      Good for you for recognizing them! Thanks for pinning – I hope you’ll find it a helpful reminder to take care of yourself.

  11. Hazel Thornton Hazel Thornton on May 21, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    I need to work on…well, a number of these, lately. Did you write this for me?

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on May 24, 2016 at 6:21 am

      Absolutely, Hazel! 😉

      Or perhaps the universe knew you needed to read it today and that’s why you ended up here.

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