6 Biggest Mistakes New Startups Make in Year 1

Starting a business from scratch is hard. It’s lethal. It’s rough. It’s exhausting. At times, it’s downright defeating.

As a new business owner, you experience fatigue, burnout, self-doubt, failure, and at times lose your motivation and wonder why you had this wild idea of becoming an entrepreneur.

Self-defeating thoughts can start to circulate in your mind and envy of others who started at the same time as you or after you, but are growing faster than you can lead to frustration and contemplation of quitting.

We have experienced ALL of these sentiments and emotions, and we had to learn business the hard way after making several startup mistakes. Extra emphasis on the Trial and Error.

Below are some of the Biggest Mistakes New Startups make in their first year, and how to avoid these setbacks.

1. Get Lost in The Weeds

Every biz coach, virtual assistant, content manager, strategic director, marketing expert, business guru says NICHE Down. Believe us, they say this for a reason. As a new startup, if you’re not clear on what you do and what specific problem you solve, you will be a failure to launch.

Without clear direction, the path will be rocky and confusing. You’ll be parsing things together that are irrelevant and trying to sell things that are not in alignment with your business’ vision and values.

In other words, Define your Niche. Know what you offer that’s unique and specific to your business.

Know what specific problem you solve.

Stay in Your Lane. Run Your Race.

2. Have No Systems and No Goals

As a new business owner, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed. You start thinking about funding, supplies, staffing, content, products, marketing, online presence, and the list goes on and on. But back up and pump the brakes, what exactly are you actually trying to accomplish and by when?

Many new business owners fail to put systems, calendars, and processes in place to assist them in accomplishing their goals and haven’t even established what their goals are.

You need Goals and Deadlines.

If you don’t establish systems and S.M.A.R.T. (Smart. Measurable. Achievable, Relevant. Time-Bound.) goals in year 1 for your business, you will go crazy from being pulled into so many directions.

Overwhelm will overtake you. As the infamous quote says, “If you don’t know what you’re aiming at, how will you know when you’ve hit or missed the target.”

Clearly define your goals and put methodical systems in place to ensure you achieve these goals.

3. Do Way Too Much

Think you need a website, a virtual assistant, a social media manager, a videographer, video editor, brand manager, strategic director, a YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest, and Blog all working perfectly in Year 1? Well we did. (Hides shameful face. Deep Sigh…).

Avoid this huge mistake we made by ONLY using foundational resources during your start and adding as you grow and build your business.

Master one social media platform before moving on to the next one. This platform should be based on where you’re drawing the most traffic from your clientele for your services.

Only pay for the services you can’t operate your business without. Only hire people for the following reasons:

  • You’ve attempted the role and have maximized your abilities in the role.
  • You’ve found that the role is completely outside of your scope and capabilities.
  • You’ve discovered that the role is no longer the best use of your time as the owner and CEO.

4. Don’t Offer FREE VALUE

The reason the Asian restaurants are so successful in food courts is because they offer free samples. They are so confident in their product that it’s their pleasure to provide you their cuisine at no cost to you.

They hook you with the free sample.

Too many new startups fail by not offering any free value to potential clients. People want to trust in the product or services they’re purchasing and buy with confidence. We know with certainty that once you establish your business by providing your potential clients with something that is free and valuable, they’ll be asking how they can pay you.

5. Waste Money

Often new business owners often don’t take an inventory from a financial perspective of what they NEED for their business versus what they WANT.

When you’re getting started, pay attention to free options, discount codes, and free trials. Be a great steward of your finances. Because as you scale, you’ll be forced to pay more for the systems to support your business.

Don’t just buy something because some other influencer or business owner who is years ahead of you uses it. You can spend so much money on apps, software, tech, and equipment that you don’t know how to use and that is not even applicable to your business.

Don’t waste all this money up front when you’re not even making a profit from your business.


6. Lose Consistency and Follow-Through

You must always remember WHY YOU STARTED and keep this in mind on the rough days. We lost sight of our why in year one and quite frankly, our business fell off. We were not consistent and lost focus.

For all the hard days, just remember, “This too shall pass.” Success is on the other side of the wall, the road blocks, and the obstacles.

Clients want to buy with assurance, certainty, and faith in not only the product but the owner behind the service and product. Give your best to your clients with quality and consistency.


The cliff notes version of how to avoid the 6 Biggest Mistakes New Startups Make in Year 1 is do what’s best for YOUR business, and don’t follow the crowd.

It’s perfectly ok to be encouraged and inspired by other business owners, but the reason you started a business is because you have something special and unique to offer.

This is your journey as a new business owner. Of course, apply advice from mentors and other successful business peers who have already walked similar paths, but remember to do what works for your business.

Well wishes to all C.E.O.s, Business Owners, Entrepreneurs and Founders!

And don’t forget to…ENJOY THE JOURNEY!