Nine bad habits these entrepreneurs have ‘unlearned’ in order to succeed


Every entrepreneur becomes a business owner with certain “bad habits” that he has learned from others or formed over time in response to certain situations that he may have experienced. Whether they know where they came from or not, these habits can often be detrimental to their ability to succeed in the business world, and so they must be “unlearned” in order to move forward.

Below are nine business leaders Council for Young Entrepreneurs discuss some of the bad habits they had to break to become successful, how they did it, and the impact change has had on their careers.

1. Think everything through

For me it’s overthinking! I’m sure almost all entrepreneurs do it, and it’s more damaging than we think. For example, I was thinking about the future of my business 24/7 – looking at sales figures, checking every five minutes for a new upgrade on our website and more. This habit is harmful because it distracts you from the most important tasks at hand. Your goal as an entrepreneur should be to focus more on the process than the results. Don’t think too long; instead, plan your vision and start focusing on executing that plan. My situation required me to take some drastic steps. I had 10 different work emails configured on my phone, so I deleted them all and kept only one. I started to focus on processes and that worked out well. I now feel much more relaxed and confident about my business. – Vibhav Singh, XTEN AV LLC

2. Engaging in negative self-talk

I had to unlearn negative self-talk and criticism, put the inner dialogue to rest. Before I did this I had huge imposter syndrome and felt like a scammer, like I wasn’t enough. I didn’t deserve it in any form. After I did the inner work to heal these misunderstandings, my whole world changed. My confidence went through the roof (authentic), my voice grew louder (without violence), and my belief in myself went to a level I didn’t know was possible. My success multiplied almost effortlessly – I became a magnet for it. In short, if entrepreneurs do the inner work, their success, both internally and externally, will increase 100 times. – Cam Kashani, Cam Kashani, Inc.

3. Do everything yourself

As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you have to do everything yourself to make sure it gets done right. This often leads to burnout and a lack of time to focus on the important tasks that drive your business forward. To overcome this, learn to delegate tasks to others. This helps free up your time to focus on the most important and strategic tasks. In addition, it can help develop the skills of your team members, making them more valuable assets for the company. Breaking the habit of doing everything yourself can be challenging, but it’s an important step in becoming a more successful entrepreneur. By delegating tasks, you can increase efficiency, achieve your goals faster and build a stronger team. – Eric Knight, Knight Industries

4. Participate in a burnout culture

As an entrepreneur, and someone who’s been maintaining a desk for over seven years, I’ve had to unlearn the culture of working to exhaustion and setting insane deadlines. What has helped me mature and grow is working on creating shared goals and priorities at the beginning of every project and referencing those goals when something takes time to show results. Burnout is a huge risk, especially early in a career or business venture. Once you become a leader, show how to set and keep hours, how to learn and grow outside of work, and how to diversify your experience with whatever hobby or responsibilities you’re interested in. I still think about work a lot, but I get to be more focused and delegate what I can’t do instead of letting the candle burn on both sides. – Kaitlyn Whiteman, Rain factory

5. Stretching myself too thin

Early on I had to learn not to stretch myself too thin. When you start a new venture, it’s so easy to invest all your time into it and control every aspect, but that’s not what turns an idea from good to great. You must constantly relieve yourself of key roles and trust that your team can execute on the vision. That said, as an entrepreneur you are always working. If you’re not, think about the business and how you can move it forward. In this way, it is actually good for the company to spend less time on daily tasks. When your mind is free to create and focus on the big picture, your clarity of thought will improve and your best ideas will sprout. At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that the goal is to let your work do the work. – Greg Ashton, TO GROW

6. Multitasking instead of focusing

One of the hardest habits to break is multitasking. For a long time I treated multitasking as a badge of honor. I could listen to a podcast while working on a client account, while relaxing on another monitor with a teammate. Turning off multitasking and focusing 100% on a single task can help you work on projects more efficiently and get more done. True focus on a specific task will lead to fewer errors, increased efficiency and the ability to be more present throughout the day. – Pursue Williams, Market My Market

7. Fixate on perfectionism

Being a perfectionist can lead to procrastination and delay as leaders are too focused on getting everything just right. Many leaders think they should be involved in every decision and every detail of their company, but that goes completely against quality hiring. We hire smart people so that they can perfectly fulfill their role with their skills and effective communication. I was always skeptical about everything and whether things went perfectly or not. I micromanaged, and it created some really bad situations. I told myself to adapt, and luckily I’m a completely different leader now. I took professional help in the form of business coaching which helped me a lot to get out of that state of mind. – Candice Georgiadis, Digital day

8. Postponing important tasks and decisions

One bad habit I had to “unlearn” was procrastination. It manifested itself in many ways, such as frequently procrastinating on important tasks, not setting clear deadlines for myself, or avoiding making decisions. To overcome this habit, I used strategies such as breaking big tasks into smaller, more manageable steps, setting specific deadlines and holding myself accountable for them, or using time management techniques. In addition, as an entrepreneur, I tried to identify the underlying reasons for the procrastination, such as fear of failure or lack of motivation, and worked on addressing those underlying issues. Overcoming procrastination allows me to become more productive and efficient, which ultimately leads to greater success in business. – Kazi Mamun, CANSOFT

9. Getting things done for little money

It’s worth paying for quality. In my early years as an entrepreneur, working on a shoestring budget, I thought I could get things done cheaply and it would work out. But as I’ve found over the years, quality is something you have to pay for. It is better to do something well or not to do it at all. This is especially the case with everyone working on the product, be it engineering or design. – Andy Karuza, NachoNacho


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