Do you ever see a specific type of content popping up all over social media that just rubs you the wrong way? As an entrepreneur with many tie-ins to the online space, NEAT’s founder Jen has seen her share of gag-worthy content trends, and she’s always considered it her mission to try to cut through the crap online and genuinely connect with people by sharing various aspects of her entrepreneurial journey.
One way she does this is by calling a dung heap of terrible advice out when she sees it—and we love that about her! In today’s blog, we’re calling out five major icks we’ve seen in the business world lately. We’ll replace the five icks with five nuggets of wisdom.
Excuse us while we hurl. Ok, let’s unpack this one. You’ve seen the Insta Reels and TikToks we’re talking about. A bikini-clad founder is on the beach somewhere sipping a margarita while her bank account is apparently exploding. Happy for you, boo, but please stop telling founders who are still in the trenches that “you too can make millions working just five hours a week” and “hustle culture is dead.”
“Hustle culture” has a negative connotation nowadays, but consider the fact that almost every founder in the history of founding had to hustle to get something awesome off the ground. This doesn’t mean you need to run yourself ragged, but it does mean that you should be prepared to put your nose to the grindstone, at least for a while.
Let’s expose some truths behind that margarita selfie:
In a recent episode of Served NEAT, Jen pokes holes in the narrative that it doesn’t require a lot of effort to work less and make more. She says that it does, in fact, require hustle—a “healthy hustle”—to build a successful business, and that’s ok.
In Jen’s opinion, any founder who is pushing this rhetoric is either doing so to boost his or her own ego or because she really wants you to buy that $99 course that promises you margaritas and three-day work weeks in no time. All of this is just ick.
Better advice: A “healthy hustle” is necessary for success in business, especially in the beginning, and anyone who tells you otherwise is probably trying to scam or sell you.
Ah, the good ‘ole “hire a virtual assistant” advice. We just don’t like it, and here’s why. We don’t have anything against VAs. It’s just that when seasoned entrepreneurs advise entrepreneurs who are just starting out to hire a VA as if this will solve all their problems, we think they’re falling short of addressing the real issue.
A virtual assistant is an assistant; a VA can take some stuff off your plate, but a VA probably isn’t a growth strategy. Hiring a VA is more like a Band-Aid to your real “problem” of being booked and busy. If you’ve reached the point in entrepreneurship where you can no longer do all the things by yourself, you do need to hire, but keep in mind that hiring a VA is only going to help for a short while.
Eventually, you will need to invest in staff members who can do more than take busy work off your plate. Staff members who can take some of the meat and potatoes off your plate are what you need—staff members who excel where you don’t and who can take over running the day-to-day so you can step back. THESE are the staff members who will not only help you move into a CEO role but also help your business get to the next level.
Better advice: Hire a team who can take your business to the next level, so you don’t have to wear all the hats all the time.
Just ew. If ever you see someone saying online that if you “build it, they will come”, hit that unfollow button right quick, because that is just bad advice. Perhaps for one in a thousand entrepreneurs, they build something when all the stars and planets and moons align and customers just start showing up and throwing cash at them. But for everyone else, they do not just come. Customers/clients must be wooed, convinced, and won over—sometimes it takes blood, sweat, and tears. (We’re joking, kind of.)
Seriously, though, if you don’t actively market and sell your product, you’ll NEVER grow your business. Those people online talking about how they make sales while they’re in the loo are just showing off. They didn’t start anywhere near there, and that’s not what you should expect either.
Better advice: Build it, market the heck out of it, and they will come. Sometimes in business momentum builds slowly, and that’s ok.
This might be a tough one to hear, founders, but we promise it is actually very freeing. We’ve talked about how you have to put in the time and the effort, but we’ve also talked about how growth requires letting go. This idea that it’s you, the founder, and only you who makes the business successful has got to go. You cannot be the secret sauce of your business, unless you’re going to live in the trenches for all time.
Our founder Jen says: “You 100% should not be the secret sauce of your biz, because that means your business lives and dies by you. What happens if you want to retire and sell your business one day? YOU CAN’T. You have to be replaceable!”
Better advice: Start thinking about your business as being bigger than you. What do you want your legacy to be?
If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of micromanagement, can we get an amen on this one? Micromanaging is the worst, people! A total business ick. Micromanaging employees, contractors, and agency partners is a sign that you’re having trouble letting go and/or you’ve hired the wrong people/team.
If you’re having trouble letting go, remember, this is literally what you’re paying other people for, so just let them do it. If you’ve hired the wrong people, micromanaging is not the solution. Letting go of what’s not serving you and filling in the blanks with hires you can trust to do the job is the solution—although none of this is easy. Micromanaging, though, makes it hard for anyone to accomplish their jobs, including you.
Better advice: Give your team space to do what you’ve hired them to do. Coaching and guidance look different from micromanaging and are a much better alternative.
Have you come across any of these business icks lately? What other ones would you add to our list?
And when you’re ready to take action in your next level of business, book a call with us!