• I think we have the same ideas about running a business. My husband and I build websites and blogs for people. We get referrals all the time to people who are starting up a new business. The spend thousands of dollars on a lease,thousands more on furnishings and flyers, yet they have NO Budget for Marketing and Advertising.
    They want us to build them a website for $100 and for sure that will bring them business…lol…I just shake my head and move on down the road…

    • It’s a pleasure to meet you, Cindy – thanks for swinging by!

      The client you described is actually pretty commonplace (I’m sure your husband would agree). Some new biz owners (online or brick and mortar) make the mistake of pouring every dime they have into looking “pretty” when the majority of their effort should go into creating and implementing a rock solid marketing plan and strategy.

  • If you are determined to succeed, you will not get bored to the things that you want to do. Perhaps, it is okay to try new things but we should never forget to continue optimizing the old marketing campaign. Thanks for reminding me. 🙂

    • Too true!

      It’s perfectly okay to try something new — being creative is part of the fun of being an entrepreneur, right?

      But don’t lost sight of the tried-and-true — never try to fix something if it’s not broken. 🙂

  • Thanks for the list of 5! I didn’t see myself in any of them 😉 . I think #5, Switching tactics out of boredom is a big risk for entrepreneurs. Part of what makes us successful is that we embrace and love new ideas. It’s really tempting to be drawn to the next big idea prematurely. I gave a talk to a room of solopreneurs and when I mentioned “bright, shiny object syndrome” they all laughed because they knew exactly what I was talking about.

    • Thanks for knocking on my door, Michele!

      I just posted a little message for you over at LinkedIn.

      #5 is definitely a “biggie” and for the exact reasons you’ve mentioned. Being an entrepreneur can be a double-edged sword. It’s wonderful to think creatively and be perpetually enthusiastic, but …

      That kind of entrepreneurial demeanor has its downsides, too, doesn’t it? We seem to have our hands in all kinds of activities and projects at once and, at the same time, we’re constantly on the lookout for something new to try! 😉

      When you have a chance, I’m sure my loyal readership would love to know about the presentation you gave to a room full of solopreneurs. Sounds like you had a very receptive group. That’s wonderful!

      Please stop by again,

  • Love the monster post, Melanie. (and the monster picture).

    I would add the mistake of thinking that EVERYONE can use your product or service. When you try to market to everyone, you really market to no one in particular.

    And regarding the other mistakes, I think we’ve all made them at one point or another. That is the fun part about learning. Not only what to do, but also what not to do.

    • What a joy to find you here, Daphne!

      And thank you for commenting on this post over at LinkedIn.

      Your addition is definitely a MONSTROUS mistake. Trying to market to everyone with a pulse guarantees your business will be lifeless or in constant need of CPR. 🙂

      Thanks for your input,

  • No way can I say that tongue twister!

    And boy, unfortunately, I have have made a few of these mistakes. In the beginning, I just couldn’t understand why the money wasn’t rolling in because I was SO busy!! LOL And all that busyness didn’t add up to selling products people wanted. Lesson learned.

    These are super reminders to everyone that is starting out. (and probably for some old-timers too!)

    • Ooh, Martha! You’re talking about a Twitter Hashtag Party on your blog — be right there!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I’m just as guilty as the next guy in having made some of these monstrous marketing mistakes. 🙂

  • Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! All great points. I especially love #1. It’s amazing how many people will develop a product and then see if it will sell. It absolutely needs to be the other way around.

    There are plenty of ways to do very inexpensive research to find out the level of interest before even beginning actual development. Surveys are always a great way to find out market interest.

    Great job on this post.

    • I can’t believe you’re here, Kathleen!

      I feel so blessed to have you knock on my door and thank you for sharing your insights.

      I’m thrilled you chose to say a few (power-packed) words about #1. There was a reason I placed it at the top of my list. I believe it’s one of the most common mistakes.

      Great tip! Surveys can be done low-cost and no-cost and, as you know, they’re super simple to create. Best little “detective” tool out there.

      Thanks for the visit — what a treat! 🙂

  • Hi Melanie

    Guilty as charged with #4!!! Well, I was but now I am more laser focused and it helps having a friend who checks on my progress with my latest project regularly LOL

    I do love the research aspect and would rather be doing that and then writing on said topic than all the other things I need to do so that my business is moving in the right direction.

    Some great challenges here Melanie. Thanks for the reminder. Now to go take some more action. New site should be up soon….yay 🙂

    Patricia Perth Australia

    • Congrats on your new site, Patricia — I am really excited for you!

      Truth be told, I think the majority of us would like to get lost in the research. It’s enjoyable, it’s interesting, and it gives those of us who love to read an excuse to “look up” some more information. 🙂

      Don’t forget to swing by at the time of lift off — we don’t want to miss the launch!

  • Short and sweet, Melanie, and very much to the point. I think almost every business owner can see themselves here — probably in every mistake you list.

    But that’s what’s so great about being in business for awhile — after you make the mistakes, hopefully you learn, and you don’t keep making them.

    My faves: #1, the almighty hunch, #3, reinventing the wheel (if there aren’t people already offering it, it just may be because it won’t sell!), and #5, not staying the course.

    Love it, Melanie!

    • Thanks for joining the conversation, Marcia!

      You’re right — I think we can all see at least a bit of ourselves here. Maybe I should have entitled this one “The Mirror”. 🙂

      Mentioning being in business for a while …

      Rumor has it you’ve got twenty-five+ years of experience under your belt. So I know you really mean it when you say people can learn from their mistakes. I bet many of your clients have told you about the whopper mistakes they’ve made!

      Glad you enjoyed the post.

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  • Hi Melanie – This post really packs a punch. I especially love the fact that you’ve said activity does not always equal productivity. So true! Among your other great points is another gem. Boredom is not a reason to abandon a campaign. It’s not a reason to abandon anything… I think this is one of the number reasons businesses fail. In my humble opinion.

    Other monstrous mistakes you ask? It’s all about branding. Your brand is what it’s all about and if you don’t have one you’re making a monstrous mistake. You’ve got to have an idea of who you are. Your personality. Your vision. Your competition. Your landscape and environment. Your flavor, your color… are you worldly and fun? Are you academic or jovial?

    Super post! And fun to read too! Thank you.


    • Always a joy to find you here, Theresa!

      I’m glad you underscored “boredom” as not being an excuse to toss anything aside. Business-building activities can certainly feel somewhat mundane after a while. But that’s NO excuse to go looking for the next shiny object!

      When someone gets bored with a marketing campaign, the best thing to do is make something ‘old’, ‘new’ again. Turn a blog post into a podcast, submit an article to a new article directory you haven’t tried before, or maybe add a video to your landing page. The sky’s the limit to eradicating marketing boredom.

      I’ll back you up 110% on your remarks about “branding”. SO critical! And a gargantuan mistake if not incorporated into your marketing efforts.

      I love to write about branding, define branding, unravel the mystery of branding, and light a little fire under folks when they’re not working to brand themselves and their biz.

      Branding and marketing go together like peanut butter and jelly, a horse and carriage, … You and http://bigfishtopdogs.com! 🙂

      Thanks for the compliment and I’m glad you had some fun here,

      • Ooh, ooh, ooh… yes, yes, yes! What a great idea! Make something old new again. This is a million dollar tip Melanie.

        Your ideas are fantastic – and if you haven’t already written about this, I hope you do! I’d love to hear all of your brilliant ideas on how to repurpose your marketing (and products, and lists, and… the sky’s the limit!)

        Your “go together like…” comment is so utterly clever! Thank you 🙂


        • My treat, Theresa!

          And it sounds as if I’ve got the makings of a future post. Love it when that happens! 🙂


  • Hi Melanie,
    This is a short but super-powerful post. The funny thing is that these 5 Monster Mistakes most of us really learn the hard way. I bet my horse and a gold-embossed saddle that you’ve learned that from your own mistakes.
    Newbies usually go with their “amazing” idea and are swirled around and spat out by market forces like a rotten anchovy:)
    Lessons are learned. Check.

    • Hi Derek,

      What a treat to see you here.

      “Spat out by market forces like a rotten anchovy” — boy, you can say that again! And a gazillion other people would back you up on that statement, too.

      No question about it …
      The majority of us have learned all five of these lessons while attending the school of hard knocks.

      Thanks for swinging by and I hope my readers will get their hands on your incredibly phenomenal e-book. Hands down, bar none — it’s the very best piece of work I’ve ever read on goals!


      • Hello Melanie,
        Reading is great, reading to me is only pre-learning, true learning happens only by doing aka hard knocks. This last week, this one quote keeps ringing in my brain: “For every hour of learning, we should do 6 hours of doing, in the same day”.
        I think I’m having a paradigm shift…again;)
        Thank you again for your positive feedback on my e-book.

        • Hey Derek – love that quote and philosophy!

          I think I’m shiftin’ with ya. 🙂

  • Hi Melanie!

    I’m definitely in agreement with NOT re-inventing the wheel – who exactly has time for that, anyway? 🙂 It’s better to go with what works and just improve on that or tweak it to you own style.

    Thanks for sharing these insights!

    • I’ll second that motion, Kiesha!

      I find that entrepreneurs are extremely “creative” individuals. As you are more than well aware, this can be a good thing and a really detrimental thing at the same time.

      That old adage, “Don’t try to fix something if it’s not broken”, comes to mind. 🙂

      I think you’ll agree it’s better to stick with the “tried-and-true” marketing strategies and platforms and just incorporate some creativity with a little personal “twist”.

      So delighted to see you here today!

  • Melanie, You hit the nail dead on with this post again. It would be difficult for me to pick my favorite because they are all so real and can make or break us in our online or offline activities.

    One that I have to be careful of is not to confuse activity with productivity as that was a huge problem for me in the past. When I think of the wasted hours…but that’s in the past. One way I’ve helped myself and others to make each moment count (scheduled work time) is to constantly ask, “Is what I’m doing getting me closer to my goals?”

    • You’re not the only one, Yvonne!

      Confusing “activity” with “productivity” is something many of us have experienced and still do, to some extent. I find myself staying very “busy” some days and then at the end of the day, I haven’t knocked anything off my high-priority goals list.

      I think we need to factor a little “life” into the equation, as well.

      No excuses, just the facts. Some days the most productivity I experience is making certain my daughters’ needs are met (my pets needs, too), there’s food in the refrigerator, and I’ve managed to make it home safe and sound from working three part time jobs. I feel very accomplished on those days except in my online biz. But we do the very best we can on any given day, right?

      “Is what I’m doing getting me closer to my goals?” Great question to ask ourselves on a continuum, Yvonne — love it! 🙂

      Thanks so much for swinging by — always enjoy your feedback.

  • A great post is only great if people know that it exists. Promotion is so important in todays “one among gazillion users” phenomenon. couldn’t have been more aptly put!

    • Your signal is coming in loud and clear, Hajra!

      “Promotion” is a critical component of marketing. And the promotion of your blog posts doesn’t end with a click of the “publish” button.

      Creating a presence online, getting noticed, being recognized for what you stand for, having your messages be heard, and building community takes time. No one wants to hear that, but it’s true.

      I was blogging my heart out for about three years before things really started to happen for me. I wrote tons of posts with zero Re-Tweets and zero comments. My blog resembled a ghost town. I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was depressing and disheartening.

      To market a business or promote a blog, you have to reach down deep, be courageous, and PUSH yourself beyond preconceived boundaries.

      Entering a contest like the one on We Blog Better is just such a PUSH! 🙂

      Congratulations again for crafting an outstanding post and I wish you the best of luck!

      • Thanks so much, till now it is going great, 115 comments, I won’t be complaining, but it is going to get tough!

  • Rob

    Spot on Melanie,
    Anyone who reads your post will be saved from losing time and heartache.
    When setting out I was certain that just writing a post and signing my name would ensure instant and lasting success. Most believe setting a site up in an hour guarantees recognition and lasting income for years to come. Think, ‘If you build it, they will come’. Not so fast says the powers to be.
    Strategy+persistence+tweaking+persistence+persistence+persistence=eventual success.
    By the way if you start a club, can I be VP because I have made each one of those mistakes once. Some twice. And, I won’t go any further than that, as a man must hold fast to some pride.
    Thanks for practical truth.

    • Forget about VP, Rob — you can be the President of that club! 🙂

      So wonderful to see you here again.

      You NAILED IT with this …

      “Strategy+persistence+tweaking+persistence+persistence+persistence=eventual success.”

      The misconceptions of what it takes to have a successful online business are numerous and continue to haunt some of us. You’re not the only one who’s made these mistakes — me and a boatload of others have made plenty.

      Don’t you wish there was a nice helpful (and genuinely transparent) “greeter” at the door of online marketing when you first arrive?

      You know …

      Someone who would smile upon your arrival, welcome you aboard, shake your hand, and direct you to all the RIGHT help and tools you need? 🙂

      Instead …

      We have a myriad of greeters who can lie with a straight face who point you in the direction of a long, frustrating, and expensive learning curve. 🙁

      Since I’ve deemed you “President”, please let us know when the doors to the club open and all the wonderful things you have in store for us. LOL

      • Rob

        My first ‘act’ as President is to insist we initiate a wonderfully neophyte idea:
        2-Presidents heading the same orgainization. In other words, I need you.
        My second act (with your permission and vote of approval co-Pres) is to eliminate the words quick and easy from any vernacular hereby brought forth to any newbie. We (that’s us Melanie) deem it vital that all know that there isn’t an easy or quick way, but, with enough elbow grease, all doors may be opened.
        Our third act (if I may be so bold) is to insist to all members to refrain from buying ANYTHING for a period of one week minimum. Rather than buying ‘shortcuts’ each member will be obligated to read, read, and read. There will be no filter reading. That is, reading something for the sake of getting the answer you want, i.e, How To Get Rich In 30 Days Or Less. Your reading diet will focus on those who are struggling to make it or haven’t. By reading this you may more readily determine why they haven’t, and whether or not you will. Reading an ad by a person who has seen some success does not constitute or fall under required reading. Dreaming is good but allowed only during R.E.M. All other time frames will be used on practical and useful steps only.
        As co-Presidents we openly encourage you to attack life. We encourage practical steps taken on a daily basis. We are big proponents of motivation, if used in a proactive way. We also want to tell you that the effort and journey are well worth the destinations. Yes, there is more than one destination. Enjoy yours.

        • Love it, Rob!

          I’m all for eliminating the words, “quick” and easy”. However, I must insist we include the word, “simple”. 🙂

          I’d like to extend the NO BUYING period to one month. Thirty days goes by so quickly, wouldn’t you agree?

          “Dreaming during R.E.M. only” — check!

          “Reading diet” of struggles, mishaps, frustrations, and failures — check!

          Blindfolds on for shoddy, outrageous, and misleading ads — check!

          Encouragement of practical steps, motivation, productivity, and elbow grease — check!

          I think that covers it. 🙂


  • Brava, Melanie! Excellent reminder on where and how to focus our energies to be the most productive. Thank you!

    • Hi Catherine,


      “Productivity” is the key. And just staying active and “busy” all day long is not going to cut the mustard … or pay the bills.

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  • Hi Mel
    We bloggers are guilty of all 5 of the above plus a few more.

    Perhaps #2 is the one we get wrong most often….

    “Thinking you have a product or service that will practically sell itself.”

    Throw up a website and sit back and wait for the internet to bring in visitors in their thousands… that’s what the internet does, right?
    Oh dear, what a shame, never mind.

    Even with a great product you have to work hard at promotion and I mean, work hard.

    BTW – have to thank you for your comments over on easyP, you make such a difference.

    • Hi Keith,

      You took the words right out of my mouth.

      “Even with a great product you have to work hard at promotion and I mean, work hard.”

      There’s no beating around the bush or pulling any punches about it …

      Marketing your business is something you have to do diligently, consistently, and persistently. And it’s damned hard work! (Pardon my French but I don’t believe in sugar-coating this fact)

      You’re quite welcome for the comments on your blog, Keith — it’s my pleasure. You get the greatest guests and your posts always come to life! They’re vibrant and compelling and filled with information I love sharing with others. 🙂

  • Wow, great post.
    Really made me stop in my tracks and take a good hard look at myself. Yes, I can relate to all of those marketing mistakes! LOL – Especially #4 & #5. Since the beginning of 2011 I’ve really been using my time productively rather than just ‘using up my time’. I’ve also kept my focus on one thing long enough to see results (this has been a real eye opener). I’m still itching to start creating ‘The Next Big Thing’ but I’m learning to reel myself in and develop more patience. Both of these things have lead to a change in my business and my bottom line.
    I’m still a work in progress lol
    Heather x

    • Thanks so much for sharing your story, Heather!

      I am lucky enough to be witnessing, firsthand, the amazing progress you’re making and I’m so proud of you. Your productivity level is on the ceiling! 🙂

      “I’m still itching to start creating ‘The Next Big Thing’ but I’m learning to reel myself in and develop more patience.” Good for you. This is one of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face. When something isn’t creating desired results pretty quickly, the first inclination is to move on to the next big thing — clutch on to the next great idea and start hoping all over again.

      Maybe you can share some ways you’ve managed to reel yourself in, Heather. How do you stop yourself in your tracks? What inspires or motivates you to stick with a marketing campaign long enough to know for sure if it’s working or not?

      Your bottom line is seeing some very positive and lucrative changes. I consider you a wonderful role model! 🙂

  • All great Melanie, but I wanted to talk about #5 for a second. I see this problem all the time with people who are trying to make money online. They’re constantly jumping from one ‘great idea’ to another, but never become great at anything. (of course, this might go back to too much activity, to enough productivity 😉 ) . Success, in any field, almost always takes time and we must be prepared for the long haul (in most cases) if we hope to make it big.

    Anyway, have a wonderful weekend, great little article and points to ponder.


    • Thanks for being here today, Marcus!

      Glad you put your finger on #5.

      I think the biggest issue with that monstrous mistake is “impatience”. Instantaneous gratification happens only rarely with marketing campaigns.

      There are no hard and fast rules engraved in stone, but …

      I always suggest marketers run a campaign (diligently and consistently) for at least 45 – 60 days. And even then, if nothing is happening, it still may not be time to throw in the towel. Sometimes a sales page needs a little tweaking or a price change is in order. Things of that nature can make all the difference in the world.

      Lots of ACTION on your blog today! Wonderful guest post from Danny. His story is nothing short of amazing and his message is the ultimate in inspiration!

  • Great post, Melanie.
    Add mistake 0: If you have no plan, then you plan to fail.
    Throwing money at a problem that has not been properly defined, hoping for a miracle, failing to do research, flailing about because nothing seems to work, and then redoing the same is digging a rut so deep, your chassis will become entrenched in the morass!

    • You have a way with words, Roy!

      And I’m pretty sure no one wants their “chassis to become entrenched in the morass”. That would certainly impede progress, wouldn’t it?! 🙂

      Great addition to the monstrous marketing mistakes list. Without a plan, you may as well fold up your tent and leave camp.

      Thanks for the visit!

  • Melanie,

    No I can not say that fast 10 times.

    Next, I have to confess that I am guilty for all those meaty mistakes. Then to continue this confession, I hate the marketing hat! I love the production end.

    I can come up with 100s of marketing ideas, fabulous ones at that. But when it comes down to taking action I have to force my self. This is one area I would love to outsource.

    The one thing I would add to your list is, keep stats. You have to keep track of what works and what doesn’t. There is no sense in throwing money at marketing campaigns that do not work. It is easy to get bored with a campaign and start a new one when you don’t know what is winning and what is not.

    • There’s a lot to be said for honesty, Sheila!

      Thank you for your openness.

      At least you KNOW what you love to do in building your business and what you’d rather have an assistant or partner manage. That’s awesome. We can’t all be good at every aspect of small business ownership. It’s just not realistic to be the Lone Ranger.

      I’m glad to hear you agree throwing money at ineffective marketing campaigns is senseless. But I’m also glad you mentioned keeping track of your “stats”. That’s the ONLY way you can determine if it’s time to let go of one campaign and begin another.

      Appreciate your input! 🙂

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